Throughout my career, I have learned personal conviction is both vital to one’s success and the one personal attribute which opens one up to ridicule, second-guessing, and criticism the most. It is easy to understand why; conviction is the path one takes when defining and defending their non-negotiables, those things that an individual will not waiver from when confronted with adversity.
It takes great personal conviction when taking a stand in a time of crisis, relying on one’s faith, or negotiating the politics of one’s profession to not waiver. There have been numerous moments when I find myself circled by critics willing to bloviate on regarding supposed errors in judgement or second-guess decisions that needed to be made.
After all, it is easy to do — anyone who engages in second-guessing has one tremendous advantage, the ability to look at the situation in hindsight. I have often wondered when I watch political or sports commentary, how nice it would be to perpetually look in reverse, to second-guess those doing a job in which they may or may not have been accustomed to do.
Consider our state’s present situation. Quite honestly, Gov. Mike DeWine is addressing a situation unlike any other in our state’s history. He will undoubtedly be second-guessed and criticized for any one of a multitude of decisions. And, when the time comes for that second guessing, the COVID-19 virus will probably be a memory and Ohio will be doing what it takes to return to whatever normal life we might have had.
However, one personal attribute I would defend mightily regarding our governor’s decision-making during this time of crisis is that of his personal conviction. In my opinion, he has stood steadfast and never waivered from his commitment to the safety of all Ohioans. Whether one agrees with the measures he has taken or not, one should not, for a minute, criticize his intentions or motives, often synonyms for personal conviction.
Leadership is difficult and the ones who criticize the most have, usually, never led anything — choosing, rather, to use the prism of hindsight and state what “they would have done if they had been in charge.”
I applaud Gov. DeWine for his efforts, for his political experience, for his ability to focus on the task at hand and not engage in national politics regarding his decision-making, and for his unwavering concern for the safety of his constituents. I try to lead the Cedar Cliff Local School District, a position of weight and responsibility, but it pales in comparison to the weight of an entire state.
I wish Gov. DeWine and each of you the best during the coming weeks and months. They are not going to be easy, but with personal conviction and steadfast adherence to what is right and true, we will be better when this crisis is finished.
Chad Mason is superintendent of the Cedar Cliff Local School District in Cedarville.