Building Community Through Better Relationships

Rest In Peace Dr. Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

I have used Dr. Angelou’s quote countless times in college lectures and professional training. Whether the topic was Principles of Management, Leadership Development, or Business Development, her words rang true. More importantly, her life’s example rang true. From an obscure poet, to an author speaking to multiple generations of literature majors and summer readers, to an international authority of the human condition, Dr. Angelou’s voice never changed. Fortunately for the world, our ability to hear her did change.

In her passing, I am securing the following three lessons in my soul.

1. Live Boldly – In her poetry and literature, she taught the human race “why the caged bird sings”. She shouted about personal, ethnic, and gender injustice with vivid and shocking images. She accepted criticism and accolades with equal dignity. As multiple cultures embrace relativist beliefs and situational ethics, Dr. Angelou boldly proclaimed the truth that she saw. She then allowed time to be the final judge. Regardless of the ruling, her beliefs remained steadfast.

2. Live Unashamedly – Dr. Angelou’s seamlessly moved between academic, political, and social commentary. All three arenas are notoriously fickle. Yet, she stood with dignity and communicated with honor. Her position remained consistent regardless of her audience. Over the decades, times and opinions changed. Her vivid images and timeless verses stand for each subsequent generation to read, hear and interpret. She was unashamed because she was never uncloaked. Her truth always covered her. And, she wore it regally.

3. Live Honestly – As time continued to move forward her wisdom stayed in lockstep. Her voice remained relevant because her honesty never wavered. Whether speaking to kings or commoners, professors or students, the privileged or impoverished, Dr. Angelou told a consistent story. She demonstrated that regardless of conditions, “still I rise”. Whether discussing dignity in the human condition, pain in oppression, or illogic in differences, her images clearly revealed that we all have common characteristics. By example, she had to live honestly because she forced each of us to look at ourselves honestly and see others.

In her passing, people globally have the privilege of revisiting lessons, words, images and feelings that she has simultaneously evoked across generations, cultures, nationalities, and experiences. Dr. Angelou, I am that person that “will never forget how you made them feel”. I can live boldly, unashamedly, and honestly because of the example that you set. From the dirt roads of Arkansas to the chambers of Presidents, you lived “phenomenally”! I proudly accept your lessons to share in word and deed.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond


May 29, 2014 - Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , ,

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