I read an article today called “The Wrath of a Great Leader,” and it focused on how Martin Luther King Jr. channeled his wrath and anger over human injustice into a transforming force that compelled millions to act, and ultimately changed a nation. We don’t like to talk about wrath and rage much because, too often, we see the harm and suffering caused when individuals take their rage out on coworkers, on children, on spouses, on innocent lives in the community so we work very hard to manage our rage.
In leadership development classes, I used to have people apologize for feeling angry…as though highly effective people don’t feel anger. No, it is not appropriate to express road rage by tailgating, cursing and using your vehicle in any way to bully another. But we should be enraged by drivers who drive intoxicated, drivers who text, drivers who drive exhausted. The potential for harm to other drives is so great that we should raise our voices loudly in support of any laws that would eliminate the behavior. No, it’s not appropriate to send a company-wide email detailing all the ways in which you were wronged by your boss or sabotage your colleagues because you’re mad about favoritism. But we should be irate when we find out that a company allows their employees to be harassed or discriminated against.
No matter how much we like the product or the cause, we should be angry enough to stop supporting that company. No, we shouldn’t physically or verbally abuse the children and adults that bully our children at school. But we should weep loudly at hearing that another young individual took her life because she didn’t feel strong enough to endure one more day of being battered by the mean girls through social media or texting. Even if our kids weren’t involved, we should be broken-hearted enough for the parents left behind to stand with them and fight for our children’s safety. I read another story today of a high school honor student here in America that had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Slavery! And I was enraged so I signed a petition with others across America to make eradicating human slavery a burning topic on the president’s agenda. And the fact that there are people on this earth dying every second from hunger makes me see red!
We all don’t feel angry about the same things, but the point is that there has to be something that we feel such anger about that compels us toward the type of transforming force we admire so much in Martin Luther King, Jr. What is it for you? And if you’re a mother reading this and think, “There’s not much that angers me,” I want you to image someone telling your son or daughter IN YOUR PRESENCE that he or she isn’t special.
A wrath of a mother is something to behold…