Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Philadephia Trip

Today we set out to Philadelphia, a city that was influenced by and had an influence on George Washington. By the 1770's, this was the most significant city in the colonies, with a population well over 30,000 (which seems tiny to us today), and was the seat of the continental congress.

Independence Hall, with its famous Liberty Bell is the most noted site in Philadelphia, what most folks don't know is that it was actually built for the colonial legislature and courts. However, when the colonists decided to throw off the shackles of English taxation, they utilized this building for both the debate over and signing of the Declaration of Independence and also later, the Constitutional convention, over which Washington presided as President.

What strikes me, in visiting these buildings is just how small they all are. We expect such grand structures and spaces, but the reality was these were built by hand labor, over time with rudimentary tools. The other thing that we were reminded of by our tour guide was that the colonists did not throw out all of what they had learned from the British.  But in fact kept much of the English court system and utilized English ways of organization, just with a colonial twist.

The leadership lesson for the day there, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. While that might seem easy enough to grasp, it is often not followed. As anyone who has been in leadership knows, there are times when it seems like it would just be simpler to throw everything out, start over fresh and with a clean slate. However, that might not serve the best interests of the people but in fact might be simply one more attempt to glorify yourself. The colonists, led by Washington, were smart enough to hold on to many of the best things of their predecessors, while making changes that suited the current situation. Not everything has to be changed all the time, although it might seem like it should be.

Finally, we were given an important choice this afternoon. Which cheesesteak place to order from. For me, no question, the original, Pats. Provolone wit please!

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