The Need to Be Important

I can’t be the only person who used to really admire Rudy Giuliani. In the days immediately following 9/11, I really liked him. I was impressed by his response to the events and how he stepped up to take a leading role to get the country through that. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time (he was the Mayor of New York City, but a mayor is still . . . just a mayor), but he definitely jumped from being a locally important person to becoming a nationally important person. I’d known who he was before because I’d worked in NYC and my parents still did, but now everyone I knew in Utah knew who he was too.

It must have been a very heady experience for the guy. One where suddenly people were asking him his opinion. Where he was being consulted for lots of important decisions. I’ve had a feeling for that on a micro-level. On a Latter-day Saint mission, missionaries are often tapped for leadership roles. We’re arranged into companionships, with each companionship having a senior and a junior companion. Three or four companionships are arranged into a district, with a district leader. Four to six districts are arranged into a zone, with an appointed zone leader. And then eight or so zones make up the mission, with two missionaries called as Assistants to the President.

True, those appointments are supposed to be done through inspiration, but there are plenty of missionaries who would love to serve in those positions. To feel important. And speaking from experience, you never typically feel important when you’re in those positions. You always feel like the person higher up is where the actual really important decisions are made. (That includes being an Assistant. I can’t speak for how the Mission President feels, and I hope I never can.)

The same is true in local congregations. There are many leadership roles in the church for men and women. Elders Quorum President. Relief Society President. Primary President. Stake President. I think I would be happiest being the Gospel Doctrine teacher, personally. Leave the leadership to the others, but you do what you’re asked to do.

In any case, I’m just saying I can relate a bit to what Giuliani must have felt. To vault several orders of importance all at once. He tried to use that newfound importance to get him into the White House. Ultimately, that failed. (And in hind sight, seeing him now, I for one am very grateful that it did . . . )

But the desire for importance never left him, it seems. He still wants to be listened to, and he became addicted to the feeling. So much so that the Giuliani I see now on television is nothing but a shadow of the person I used to admire. (He reminds me of a Ringwraith, actually. Obsessed and consumed by the thing he used to crave so dearly.) In order to stay important and relevant, he latched onto Trump and has continually shown himself ready to do or say anything he needs to do or say to continue to be Important.

This morning, as I was reading the zany theories and things he’s been spouting off on national news shows, that’s the thought that came to me. Never let your innate desire to be Important overwhelm who you are. Don’t be a Giuliani. There are so many different ways to be important in this world. To make a difference. I would rather make a difference in my family than anywhere else. Rather be the father who helped his kids achieve their dreams than be the person who clawed his way into a room where people would tell me how Important I was. (It’s why I’ve turned down different opportunities over the years. Family comes first for me.)

Anyway. It’s time for me to head down to my conference, but I wanted to get this out before I did. Have a lovely Monday, everyone. Say hi to me if I see you at Sunday River!


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