It was late evening after taking my babies to bed. I was researching speakers for 2010 Qi GLOBAL summit. Suddenly an amateurish clip appeared with a bald, English chap taking to some university class popped up. Something about the chap stirred my soul. He was speaking with a demeanour and presence that was highly unusual for white western men. He spoke the deep truth, and it was incredibly powerful. I had to get this chap to Singapore, but how?
Recently, over drinks on my sunny deck in New Zealand, Mac admitted that when he first got my email, he was shocked. He confessed: “This lady wants me to fly all the way from England to Singapore to deliver a 15 minute talk, she must be nuts!”.
Somehow, I must have convinced him to come and then I got excited. Mac would open the summit with the message “The Children’s Fire’. It was a gamble. I knew his message would stir up the audience and some might feel uneasy about his directness and honesty. After all, this was going to happen in polished, business-friendly Singapore, where uncomfortable truths often just disappears, like TV ad for laundry detergent.
Looking back, “The Children’s Fire” created the ignition of Mac’ journey as a globally recognized speaker. Since then, the original Qi video has been watched by thousands of people around the world. And many more ideas, talks and truths by Mac Macartney have changed the way that we think of leadership and indegenous knowledge.
A spark of intuition on some late night is sometimes all that it takes to ignite real change.
About the talk: Mac Macartney introduces the "Children's Fire" to the attendees of the Qi Global summit in Singapore in 2010. He speaks of how over a period of 20 years he was trained by a group of mixed-blood Native Americans to appreciate that many ancient cultures used to govern themselves by a fundamental guiding principle, "no law, no action, shall be made that harms the children"... the Children's Fire (a small flame or fire) was placed at the centre of their meetings as a reminder of this principle. Mac was encouraged and inspired to bring this idea to the places he worked, in business and as far as his sphere of influence can reach. He invites us to consider, "what kind of culture is it that would not place the Children's Fire at the centre of its decision making bodies and halls of power?"