Lions are committed to promoting sustained peace and experimenting with initiatives that may promote international understanding.
More so, we are today at a stage where interdependence is inevitable and our destinies are more interlocked than ever. If we look around, the very truth of the matter is that if there is a problem in one part of the world, the other parts cannot afford to look away. Covid 19 has established this fact of life beyond any doubt. The previous global meltdown and the resultant impact on so many countries, the cascading effect of what social media can accomplish, the definite need to combat militancy across the world are clear pointers.
Generation Z is not just satisfied with feeling good, it wants to do good. They are not looking for ways and means for localized effects; they want to make a global impact. They are not even going to be driven by profits alone; they are bent upon sustained development with multiple bottom lines that go beyond financial measure.
A paradigm shift has prompted the generation of today, or rather the generation of tomorrow, to look out for what shall contribute to the development of the world at large.
Most vital issues are characterized by connectivity that may be as complex (or simple, depending on the way you look at it) as the spider’s web. Poverty, literacy, hunger, health: which one comes first? Or is the process of ranking simply ridiculous? They are just different views of the same screen (just as the computer screen may reflect different colours when viewed from different angles), aren’t they?
It’s in this overall backdrop of global connectivity that our Association, the world’s largest and most effective service club organisation, plays a significant role. It started in the early years when our founding father Melvin Jones was invited to contribute to the non-political charter of the UN. We are currently committed to supporting its sustainable development goals. Spread across more than 200 countries and geographical areas, Lions are making an impact. Each club may be active in a specific community, but when we look at the aggregate of what Lions accomplish globally, the results are fantastic. The menu of Lions Service is unending and ever-expanding. That’s the beauty of LCI. Providing local solutions to global challenges, reaching out hope and service in each nook and corner, wiping the tears of the children at risk and extending a hand to those who need it, Lions are spreading the message of peaceful coexistence and life with dignity.
When Lions provide loans in a microfinance activity, they are actually dealing with the challenge of poverty, education, hygiene and health care at the same time; when we provide education to children at risk, we are actually insuring the future of the local communities, nations and the world; when Lions provided meals to those who were hit by Covid 19 and then doubled up their efforts with oxygen parlours and safe homes, they were saving not just one life, rather they were supporting entire families; when Lions reach out to special children, they are applying the balm of love not only on one child but on an entire family. Together we are touching hundreds of millions each year. Am truly proud to wear the Lions lapel pin!
To live up to our motto, Lions serve.
Service and leadership merge seamlessly in our association. When this congruence of leadership and Service is achieved, leadership shifts to servant leadership: that’s where leadership and service become one and the same thing. Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help, you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness.
But we don't serve with our strength, we serve with humility and we offer all we can. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others, we are all bound by the same thread of existence on this planet. Service is a relationship between equals, it is the most respected relationship that sustains life. Helping incurs debt, serving encourages an emotion of mutual gratitude. The leaders of Lions clubs are not trying specifically to lead. They are trying specifically to serve this world, other people, God, and themselves. As a result of their service and hard work, they become great leaders.
This is our world of Lions Clubs International; we serve to lead and lead to serve.