22 December 2015


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Clean up your own mess. Robert Fulghum

Mr. Steve Harvey made a mess.

Host of the recent Miss Universe 2015 pageant, he built excitement as a good emcee is supposed to do - but he flubbed the climax by calling the wrong name for the title; with crown donned and a bouquet presented the "winner."

How and why do not matter. Nor do the names of the women and countries.  

The words his.

And moments later he righted the wrong. And apologized.

Mr. Harvey made a mess and then he cleaned it up.

It's a fundamental lesson responsible parents teach their children early in life.

The messes of children petty - spilled milk or toy-strewn room.

Get a sponge or cloth or paper towel. Put the toys away.

But even at that tender age the lesson of responsibility, of cleaning up your own mess, is hardly petty.  

As no human is perfect, with age messes get bigger. And more complicated.

Pay to repair the wrecked family car. Apologize to someone hurt emotionally.

And messes get bigger still.

But the great big messes are cleaned up only for the lessons learned cleaning up the small messes.

Mr. Harvey's mess was, at least to some, big. To others, great big. Though to some, petty.  

Social media has been brutal - mostly good-natured ribbing applying his face and gaff to things other than the pageant. Sports and politics first come to mind. But brutal nonetheless.
What I've not seen is words praising Mr. Harvey's leadership.

People of the universe - peon to president - can learn from him. 

He, without intent but making the best of his error, gave the world a Christmas gift: A true teachable moment - as to accepting responsibility; acting courageously with class and grace under pressure; apologizing; and cleaning up your own mess. 

Undoubtedly, Mr. Harvey was taught early in life to clean up his own messes. And that he's done.

You might say he hesitated not to grab a sponge or cloth or paper towel.


The pageant would be wise to hang on to this guy. With Mr. Harvey they have a real winner.

Merry Christmas!, Mr. Harvey.

Post Script

My parents taught not only to clean up your own mess but if finding a mess wherever you happen to be then clean it up leaving things better than you found them. That has proved, time and again, an invaluable lesson - in leadership.   


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