A friend of mine was talking to me once about leaders and how, sometimes, they can be unsympathetic to those who are struggling in some way - financially, morally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. He said, relative to his own life, that after life has run over you a few times it seems prudent to be a little nicer than you would have been before being flattened.
I really liked that imagery, and I thought about it a lot over time relative to church leadership. For some people who become church leaders, getting run over in some way doesn't happen until they become Relief Society President, or Bishop, or Young Women President, or Stake President . . . and, unfortunately, sometimes not even then, solely because they don't allow their calling to do part of what I believe many callings are intended to do.
Seriously, that is one of the difficulties of calling Bishops and Stake Presidents. They have to be able to spend the time and emotional capital necessary for the calling, and some who can do that haven't been "run over by life a few times".
That often is the single most compelling difference I have seen in empathetic leadership and hardline leadership - the existence of beat-downs in their lives. Those who have never had it happen can have a VERY difficult time understanding those who struggle.
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