Leadership and Main

Bettering Others and the World You Live In

Under Construction

under construction

Leaders are always under construction.  Demolishing ways of the old, building on established foundations, and finding innovative ways to build the future of the world.  It is a constant, never-ending process for those that desire to grow.    

Lincoln Memorial

Last week, I wrote about my daughter Ashtyn and I’s trip to Washington, D.C.  We squeezed everything we could into three days and two nights.  Our goal was to see as many of the memorials as time would permit. 

Day one started at the National Mall with a long walk to the Lincoln Memorial.  It is one of my all-time personal favorites.  When we arrived, the memorial was under construction.  The grand steps leading up to the memorial were reduced down to a small section.

If you have never visited the memorial, inside of the structure is a nineteen-foot-tall statue of President Abraham Lincoln, “sitting in contemplation” according to the National Parks Service.

History judges Lincoln as one of its greatest leaders.  He demolished slavery with the passage of the thirteenth amendment to the constitution and started construction towards a country where all people would be created equal.   

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

The next day we went on an evening tour of a few other memorials.  That night, we got to visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  It was the first time I had been to the nation’s capital since its completion. 

Two things I learned on the tour.  One, the sculpture of Dr. King faces the Lincoln Memorial, which was intentional.  That was the place where he delivered his iconic, I Have A Dream Speech.  Two, the sculpture is of Dr. King standing.  The artist intentionally left from Dr. King’s knees down, “under construction.”   Symbolic that his work is still to be completed.         

History Judges Dr. King as one of its greatest leaders as well.  He demolished barriers by leading a movement towards the approval of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and constructed a dream for all of Americans.

Our trip to D.C. stirred reflection within me.  I came to grips with the fact that we are all…under construction.  As leaders, as people, and this world in general.  Here are three quick reflections of these two memorials:

Construction is Costly

Construction has always been costly.  To take something from concept to completion ALWAYS takes longer and costs more than we originally planned. 

Lincoln desired to build a country free of slavery.  Dr. King desired to build a country where all people were treated equally.  Both took them longer than they wanted, and it cost them literally everything.  They paid for what they desired to build with their lives.  Construction is costly. 

Construction is Not Always Popular

Working for a municipal government, I can tell you that construction is not always popular.  Construction requires a change of the landscape.  Humans are not always prepared for change.  Lincoln and King were responsible for placing some of the world’s biggest and most important initiatives under construction. 

The history books judge them as popular.  Many of their initiatives in their day and time were not always popular.  I’m quite certain that they could Count on Critics to be resistant to the change they were proposing. 

Lincoln and King met their fair share of resistance.  Some of that may have even come from those closest to them.  Construction is not always popular.

Never a Bad Time to Start Constructing

Dr. King once asked a question to a group of junior high students.  He asked them, “What is your life’s Blueprint?  A blueprint is a document that we build something from.  It contains the details, plans, and the vision of how to get to the end product.     

Imagine a world where Lincoln and King got Stuck looking at their plans for the future and never started constructing?  The world would look a lot different!  We should be grateful they were builders.  There is never, ever a bad time to start constructing.   


Neither of these men were construction workers by trade, but they spent their lives as builders of people.  The most important construction project that they participated in was self-construction.  When all hope was demolished, they kept building. When they started meeting resistance, they kept building. When things became costly, their legacy kept building. 

They were readers, listeners, and reflectors.  They more they invested in themselves, the greater the rate of return they received on others.  Our world is constructed better for their efforts. 

The people we are responsible for leading are the messages that will we will send into future generations we may never see.  In order to lead well, we must remain under construction.  Regardless of the cost.  Regardless of the resistance.  Get under construction.  There is never a better time than now.       

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