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Boldness is Mandatory!

This is a sign I saw once while vacationing in San Francisco. When I travel, I like to snap photos of signs that grab me. It said “Bev” all over it, although it has not always been that way. I was a shy child who didn’t make a peep for many years, but that did not mean I had no thoughts. I found my “voice” writing poetry and essays in journals, long before “journaling” was popular.

I won a national poetry contest in the 6th grade wishing for world peace. In high school, my writing skills landed me the job as editor of the school newspaper, but my “literary voice” got me into trouble more than once. I will never forget the day that I was called out of class and yelled at for publishing a staff member’s controversial editorial about coaches being physically abusive to athletes. I was told that articles of this nature were not acceptable in a high school newspaper. Questioning this, I proceeded to write an editorial on the injustice of censorship in high school newspapers for the next issue. You can bet “the fit hit the shan” for that one also. While I willingly took the heat in my quest for human rights, my actions set a precedent for the high school newspaper staff: from now on, our teacher advisor would actually have to read our articles before they were published! My status as his “teacher’s pet” quickly turned into being a thorn in his side. I was not allowed to attend the state high school newspaper convention even though it was my dream to attend in my senior year. My advisor chose the more “mild” members of our staff to go. However, to his surprise, as well as the school administration, our team returned from the state convention with a trophy. My rant against censorship in high school newspapers had won the Best Editorial of the Year Award.

13Boldness does not mean being rude, being arrogant or obtrusive. It does not even mean being verbal. As a shy 6th grader, I wrote a plea for world peace and at 17, I furiously pounded a typewriter in anger over censorship. Years later, I lost a job I treasured because I stood up to a bullying boss after he demanded I cross the line by mis-using grant funds.  When I reported him to his superiors, they backed him as “good ole boys” tend to do.  I stood by my ethics and lost the job I loved.  I learned boldness has a price. I have learned there are no external rewards, only the intrinsic satisfaction of fighting for what is right.

Dictionary definitions of “boldness” include “being fearless before danger; intrepid; showing or requiring a fearless, daring spirit; assured, confident; standing out prominently.”  Where are YOU in the spectrum of the word “boldness”?  What have you stood up for lately?  Where have you stepped outside of yourself to be something bigger?  It can be something global, something in your backyard, or it can be for yourself. Today I challenge you to boldness. Tell yourself “it’s mandatory.”


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