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Only Silent Leaders Hear

Posted on March 12th, 2013

Rosa Parks was an African-American woman living in the segregated South in the 1950s. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks did something she was not supposed to do: she sat down at the front of a bus in one of the seats reserved for whites — ​a dangerous, daring, and provocative act in a racist society. [When asked,] “Why did you sit down at the front of the bus that day?” Rosa Parks did not say that she sat down to launch a movement . . . She said, “I sat down because I was tired.” She meant that her soul was tired, her heart was tired, her whole being was tired (quoted in The Emotionally Healthy Woman, by Geri Scazzero). Rosa Parks made a decision that day to live divided no more. Rosa Parks said to herself: “I cannot not do this.” She changed history. Leadership requires we ask the difficult question: “Is the life I am living the life that wants to live in me?” These profound insights come in moments of leisure and silence, not under pressure. Sir Thomas More is famous for being beheaded because he stood up to Henry VIII in the 16th century. People forget that he spent one day a week on retreat in his hermitage for prayer and silence. Remember: Only the silent hear.

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