When was Hope introduced into your vocabulary?

If you’re like me, it was when you were a young kid.

I think my Mom taught it to me.

When I wanted something, but she knew it wasn’t going to happen, she might say “we can hope”

We could “hope” someone could get well.  We could “hope” someone would win.  We could hope someone might come for a visit or go out for dinner.  There was always something to hope for.

I was raised to associate hope with wishful thinking.

I was also raised to use hope when things I wanted weren’t likely to happen.

But, through the years, I’ve learned that “hope” is a big, strong action verb.  I’ve listened to several podcasts recently that emphasized it.

One was about training impoverished people in an impoverished country.  They studied training done by missionaries as well as training done by non-religious sorts.  The training from missionaries included ideas about better economics, better health and values. The non-religious training was the same but excluded values.

The religious training was more effective.  A key difference was that those who received the values training were judged to be more “hopeful”.   They believed they could improve their lives and worked harder, longer as a result.

Another had to do with kids who came from neighborhoods with poor academic achievement.  The students were taught the education fundamentals with rigorous discipline.  Along with the discipline, a mindset of achievement was provided by teachers and school leaders.  The students were taught that they had the ability to achieve.  An expectation of achievement was created.

The students developed confidence as they became more competent.  This confidence made them more hopeful as they expected to achieve.

A couple of years ago, I heard a speech on leadership.

Ambassador James Joseph

In his capacity as ambassador to South Africa while Nelson Mandela recognized the importance of his “spiritual intelligence” in instituting change.

He said it was his spiritual intelligence that made him a purveyor of hope.

I loved that statement.

“As a purveyor of hope I foster positivist.   I must be the model of the good attitude.  Encourage, exhort, lift others”.

“As a purveyor of hope, I don’t quit easily.  I am resilient when confronted with difficult times.  I get up and go again.  I implore others to get up as well”.

“As a purveyor of hope, I believe in the power of continuous improvement.  I strive to get better each day.  I implore my teammates to do so as well”.

“As a purveyor of hope, I believe in the potential of the human.  Our capacity to learn, to love and to grow makes use unique.  We invest in those capacities”.

Hope is not passive and wishful.  Hope is a certainty that there is a good future ahead and we set about achieving it.