“I don’t want my daughters to ever become so complacent in life that the thought of confronting certain things that are wrong scares them into silence.”
On Friday, July 17th, America lost one of the most influential political figures in recent history, U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis. John Robert Lewis dedicated his life to racial justice and civil rights.
He stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and he was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. At the age of 23, he was the youngest of the speakers at the March on Washington in 1963.
After years of working as an organizer and activist, he went on to serve in the House of Representatives for the state of Georgia for over 30 years. John Lewis died at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer.
I have spent many hours revisiting the life of Rep. Lewis through news coverage and online articles. I am fascinated with his legacy and many quotes. One quote that I now have written on a post-it next to my computer is:
“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit oF the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.” – U.S. Rep. John Lewis
I have always been a “good girl”. Never really causing much trouble along the way – at least that is the way I recall things.
I did get into a scuffle or two as an elementary student and my teacher may have sent me out into the hallway for reasons I can’t recollect. But overall, I was a good girl. I intentionally stayed away from trouble.
I am raising “good girls”. I don’t ever remember speaking the words “stay out of trouble” to them. It was always just understood. I intentionally try to instill in them compassion for others. I teach them to love in spite of adversity.
I coach them to reach out, with kindness, to the one that is standing alone, because it is right. I also instruct them to stand alone if “right” doesn’t exist. …but maybe I need to encourage them to get into a little “good trouble” along the way.
I have concluded that good trouble is needed now more than ever. I don’t want my daughters to ever become so complacent in life that the thought of confronting certain things that are wrong scares them into silence.
Fear can cause us to run away from or avoid certain ideas. Sometimes it is vital that we confront things, and people, head on! We cannot allow complacency and fear to keep us silent or keep us in a place we don’t want to be. No change ever worthy of a revolution was easy. It takes tiny bits of “good trouble” to change the world.
In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan the prophet confronts David about his infidelities and immoral behaviors. Nathan tells David a story of a rich man who had it all but decided to take from the poor man all that the poor man had. When David heard the story, it made him angry. David wanted the rich man to pay with his life and four times what he took from the poor man. Then Nathan reveals to David, “YOU are the man”.
What Nathan did took guts. David was the KING! He was loved! He was the one who slew giants. He could sing and play the harp! He was “all that”. How dare Nathan tell the king he was wrong?! How dare Nathan to stir up trouble with such great authority?
Do not make the mistake in thinking that by evading confrontation we evade getting hurt. If changes are needed to live in our purpose, then confrontation is required. It is possible that this may mean confronting ourselves and facing the fears that hold us back from moving forward.
Speaking truth to power is not always comfortable, but it leads to “good trouble…necessary trouble”. And the more good trouble you get in, the easier it is to stand, fearlessly, on the promise that God has got your back.
I think I will encourage my daughters to get into some “good and necessary trouble” from time to time. Make changes where change is needed. Be a booming voice for what is right and what is fair in a room of silence!
Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom
· Why do we find confrontation so hard?
· Is it possible to be confrontational and loving at the same time?
· When was the last time you got into trouble? Was the trouble “good trouble”?
· How can you get into a little “good trouble” and make a difference in your community?
Tune My Heart…
The Roots are an American hip hop band, formed in 1987 by Tariq Trotter and Ahmir Thompson. They are known for a jazzy and eclectic approach to hip-hop featuring live musical instruments. I was first introduced to the band through The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. They are the host band of the show.
“The Fire” was one of the feature songs from the movie “Creed” in 2015. When I hear the lyrics of this song, I think of the life of Representative John Lewis.
He dedicated his life to the fire that was in his heart. Let his life inspire you to find some “good trouble” and let the fire inside of you burn! Enjoy!
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2020