One of the many tributes to civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis came from activist Packnett Cunningham. In Time she wrote:

“Any observation of John Lewis’ life, from his early years to his many terms in Congress, communicates a simple truth: courage is a discipline. In order for courage to change the course of history, as Mr. Lewis’ did, it cannot be episodic – it must be unwavering. We should count ourselves blessed to have witnessed a case study in the continual practice of the discipline of courage from a master teacher in our lifetimes.”

Those words really spoke to me: “Courage is a discipline.” I tend to think of courage as an act, a one-time thing, a momentary decision whether or not to be brave right now – not as a lifelong way of being. But maybe that has been the problem with all of us – we stand up or speak up for something that arouses our passions, and then our ire and voices fade away. We don’t practice the discipline of being courageous continually; of persisting until the wrong is right, and instead retreat or divert to the next crisis at hand.

John Lewis offered many lessons throughout his life. Maybe this is one you can adopt to make it part of who you are going forward.

Source: Marching Orders by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Time, August 3/August 10, 2020, p. 43


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