Dear BYU Management Society Friends,
As you are all aware, our mission is to grow moral and ethical leadership in the world. I have always thought of the word “grow,” not in the sense of creating something new, but in the sense of increasing something that is vitally important. Our members are all over the world and all of us have occasion to be reminded on an almost daily basis how important moral and ethical behavior is in our personal lives and as citizens of the nations in which we live.
For those of us who live in the United States, the past few weeks have reminded us that we still have a lot of work to do. Seeing all of the people of the earth as children of God, who are equal in His sight, surely is a basic principle of being a moral and ethical leader. The horrific death in Minnesota of George Floyd has brought long-time racial injustice to the forefront in this country. It has me pondering how I can do better—how I can listen with an open heart and see my brothers and sisters as God sees them. I invite each of you to do the same. Humility, patience, kindness, and charity should guide our thoughts and actions. I invite you to discuss the difficult issues of racial bias with your families and decide what actions you will take to make the world better. Looking the other way while our brothers and sisters suffer is neither a moral nor an ethical response.
A few months ago, I read the book, “Just Mercy.” I won’t pretend it was an easy read. I found that I had to take it slowly, just as I had when I read “Schindler’s List.” Both weighed heavily on my heart, but both also offered real examples of individuals who stepped up to do the right thing. When we know better, there is also an obligation to do better.
One final thought: Many years ago, my father gave me a copy of a poem that meant a lot to him. I kept it on the wall of my office, when I was on the city council in my community. It reminded me daily of what kind of person I was striving to be.
I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam, and the side wall fell.
I asked the foreman: "Are these skilled--
And the men you'd hire if you had to build?"
He gave me a laugh and said: "No, indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do."
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care
Measuring life by a rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made Plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker, who walks the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
—Charles Franklin Benvegar
May we all be builders,
President, BYU Management Society
Global Board of Directors