In her book, Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation by Rosa Parks, she shared several examples of people who served as role models. One was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
She recalled his influence in these words…
“Martin Luther King Jr. set a profound example for me in day-to-day living. He was such a young man—just twenty-six years old—when I first met him at the beginning of the bus boycott. I was forty-two.
I’ll always remember the way Dr. King would respond to violence. He would use the same words that Jesus said on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Brutality was to be received with love, he would say. Though I knew we needed to strive for nonviolence, when I saw the brutal treatment some of us got, I had trouble believing it was always the best thing to do.
Dr. King was a true leader. I never sensed fear in him. I just felt as though he knew what had to be done and took the leading role without regard to consequences. I knew he was destined to do great things. He had an elegance about him and a speaking style that let you know where you stood and inspired you to do the best you could. He truly is a role model for us all. The sacrifice of his life should never be forgotten, and his dream live on.”
As we commemorate Dr. King’s message, influence and legacy, especially at this time in our history, it calls us all to a moment of self-examination as leaders. I find myself asking this question and now I ask you:
What example are you setting for those who look to you for leadership?
I leave pondering the answer.
Warm regards to all,
founder, Global Dialogue Center
author, Putting Our Differences to Work:
The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance