‘Holy father we love you’…(if I heard it right on TV) is how Pope Francis was received by his followers as he greeted and blessed them on way to Our Lady Queen of Angels, in New York, on Friday. I am not a follower. But what followed thereafter prevented me from switching over to a different channel.
Pope was interacting with children and seriously it was a wonderful thing, so genuine, to watch. These children, a section of them underprivileged or representing immigrants, were so freely explaining him their small projects. Two things were evident. Nobody disturbed his interaction and, second, children explained and interacted without being overshadowed by their teachers. Beautiful! Very few world leaders have this extraordinary charm.
A lighter moment did occur. As a child demonstrated to him on touch-screen importance of resources – air, land and water, Pope Francis keenly watched. The child then dragged and dropped elements from a digital landscape into different rows named as resources and expected Pope to follow the same exercise. Pope tried the drag-and-drop technology but somehow the element was unmoving. As the student picked the element to drop, finally, Pope did try tracing the student’s finger as it moved over the screen. Technology may have failed him, but failed to deter his intent.
During his US visit, we heard, Pope Francis spoke on bigger issues – exclusion, inequality, culture of waste, rigid belief and how material prosperity and power are leading to deterioration of our planet. These, of course, are bigger themes that suit the global canvas. These issues concern not his followership of 1.2 billion people but the entire planet.
For a non-follower and a general viewer, there were other things to learn – the leadership qualities.
Be humble, actual – don’t pretend, honest, have patience, talk for everybody and don’t take sides, be attentive and interact with people who you are supposed to meet. May be everybody in the boardroom will clap and say ‘yes’ to your proposals, but you aren’t successful, seriously, unless your team craves and misses you when you are not around. How many of our team-members have shouted and told us, ‘we love you’.
Pope Francis, we love you too!