Governance and Leadership: We have an obligation and a responsibility to make change

January 20, 2021 – In her book, Leadership in Tumultuous Times, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin chronicles four America Presidents and their leadership legacies and asks the questions- “Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Do the times make the leader or does the leader shape the times?”

In this tumultuous moment in our country, now is the time for true leadership and governance to take hold. Legislative action that reaches across party aisles and allegiances to make a difference for children and families across the state and nation is important and necessary.

Now more than ever, our state and federal leadership have an important opportunity and obligation to govern. This includes making decisions based on facts, advice from practitioners and experts, and with the future of children and families in mind. In Michigan, the divided executive branches will need to work together in the best interest of these populations to tackle the big issues.

At the federal level, the compromise must be reached to rebuild public trust and to recommit ourselves to the democratic principles of fairness, equality, and justice. These are bedrock principles of our democracy that cannot be threatened and as we have seen, cannot be taken for granted.

Governance requires a robust debate, sometimes heated argument, an outcome that might not be perfect. But, what governance and legislation produce is a more responsive government, one that involves the people and their will. Leadership within that governance cannot simply come from one person or party. It will take collective partnership and collaboration to recognize some of the challenges that await our state and country in the next decade and beyond.

At Michigan’s Children, we will be encouraging and watching for true governance. Using our voice to help be a part of the legislative process, connecting constituents with their policymakers.

We too as citizens have an important role in that work. We must be the voices for concern and care for the issues we care about. We must hold elected officials accountable for their words and actions.

Such a time for leadership is now. And an expectant reminder of what lies ahead- innovation, wisdom, humanity, and hope.


Patrick Brown, Director, Michigan Association for Community and Adult Education Outreach Associate, Michigan’s Children