It started in 2011 when founder Maegan Hawley noticed a problem in her closet. After accumulating all sorts of accessories while traveling, they sat on the shelf unused when she returned home. Most of the items came from social-impact organizations with the mission of empowering women. While each piece was special and represented a powerful story, the style didn’t quite fit her day-to-day life in Washington, DC. An unworn piece meant an untold story.
On Valentines Day, 2011 Maegan visited the jewelry shop of an anti-trafficking organization in Thailand and shopped until she dropped, filling her suitcase full. Later that evening Maegan went to a red light district in the hopes of connecting with some of the girls working at the bars. Maegan literally had to purchase time to talk with a woman working there. Sitting across the table from her, she shared where she was from, how old her kids were. Normal stuff, but it really impacted Maegan. Maegan realized small shops like the one she had visited hours before provided the best and healthiest economic opportunity for women at risk. All they needed was opportunity. And that is how Ethic Goods was birthed.
Ethic Goods provides economic empowerment for women rescued from human trafficking, and those at risk of exploitation. Ethic goods work primarily in South East Asia, and partners with non-profits that provide holistic care (counseling, education, and health care), focusing on strengthening the family unit, and have demonstrated a community centered approach. Ethic Goods also believes business has a role to play in empowering the women they work with. By coming alongside these magnificent ladies to develop their business skills, they have the opportunity to provide for their families and set their children on a new, hope-filled path.
INFLUNSR defines courage as choosing love over fear. The story of David and Goliath. is the stuff of legends, but is it a story to be left in the history books, or are we to learn anything from David’s example? When you read the passage in 1 Samuel 17, one subtle thing jumps out at you: It doesn’t seem David was planning to get in a fight that day. He was just an errand boy sent to deliver food to his brothers. He was just a bystander to a fight. As David neared the front lines, he quickly realized what was happening. He heard the taunts of Goliath, and got drawn into the situation. Something within David’s heart started to stir. David tried to get someone to answer his questions about this bully. He wanted to know what was going to be done.
David finally asked in exasperation: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David’s anger wasn’t for the threat given to himself, nor his brothers. His anger burned because someone dared to threaten and defy those chosen by his God.
When the trained professionals wouldn’t step forward, David – confident of his God’s power and protection – put five stones in his shepherd’s bag and approached the bully. Calmly, David said to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).
Jesus calls us to a life of forgiveness and compassion. But even He didn’t tolerate those who dishonored God’s holy temple. With righteous indignation, Jesus turned over tables and drove out money changers within the walls of the temple, accusing them of turning His father’s house into “a den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). The Bible records many stories of men and women with moral courage. These individuals knew what was right, and were willing to take a stand in spite of their own fear. They weren’t perfect, but the heroes of our faith saw injustice as more than a personal offense, they saw it as an offense against God.
As it becomes easier to settle into a life of ambiguity, you will find it harder to summon moral outrage. The hands of God are found at the end of our own arms. We can’t be bystanders and make a difference.
You can instill moral courage into your own veins by stepping out in faith to help someone else, in spite of inherent risks. We can’t learn moral courage from a book. We can only learn it by being brave once. Then doing it again
So here are a few questions to wrestle with:
Can you think of a situation where you wanted to do the right thing, but found yourself unable to do it? What prevented you from acting according to your values? Can you think of a situation where it was difficult to do the right thing, but you managed to do it? What factors were present that enabled you to live up to your values?
In this Episode’s Version, we asked you to read the tale of Leo and the lion’s tail and to consider the difference between lions and goats.
As a next generation leader worth following, you would be well-served to think of yourself as a powerful lion, never a skittish goat. The lion’s tail is reflected in how you carry yourself and how you act at school, on a field or court of competition, during practices and performances, with adults and with your peers. It influences how others perceive you. It helps you to overcome challenges and adversity and to keep your head held high. No matter what goes wrong, you will always remain strong, poised, and in control.
The lion’s tail is one of the keys to gaining influence with anyone and everyone you encounter.
You’ll meet all kinds of negative people in your lifetime; from backstabbers to complete jerks. You’ll experience obstructionists who want nothing more than to build walls in front of you and block your path. But if you live with the lion’s tail, they will eventually realize who is the lion and who is the goat. People will treat you accordingly. The world steps around you as it experiences you.
A lion is powerful, but only flexes its ample muscles when absolutely necessary. Overusing your strength when not required can be damaging to your reputation, and to others. And Jesus never flexed unless it was absolutely necessary, never for self-preservation and always for the good of others.
For example, a next generation leader worth following who is a lion would never berate a peer in front of other friends, or even raise their voice unless there were no other options. Even then, a true lion would find another way to stay regal and dignified, while still getting the point across.
Lions are not condescending to waitstaff in restaurants. They don’t treat their parents with disrespect. They’re polite and respectful to teachers and coaches. They never raise their voice or get aggressive, no matter how poorly someone is treating them. Lions almost always use a light touch, while making it clear they won’t tolerate nonsense from anyone.
Goats, on the other hand, can be noisy, they bleat (which sounds like the cry of a human baby), they scamper in haste, and they always back down. Lions do not.
Many people have compared student culture — and our culture in general — to a jungle. It can be scary at times. But the rewards are worth it.
If you’re not up for it, remember: not everyone has to be a lion.
The world needs goats, too.
Let’s consider this:
The strongest evidence of faith is the refusal to live an intimidated life.
Read Acts 4:13 NIV…
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus
What was it about Peter and John that made others recognize their courage? Who are some people in your life who display a similar type of courage and what stands out about their faith?
We asked you to grab some friends and go to your local theater to watch Frozen 2 starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzell, Josh Gad and more. Queen Elsa, now rules the peaceful kingdom of Arendelle, enjoying a happy life with her sister, Princess Anna. However, a melodious voice that only Elsa can hear keeps her awake, inviting her to the mystical enchanted forest that the sisters’ father told them a long time ago. Now, unable to block the thrilling call of the secret siren, Elsa–along with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven–summons up the courage to follow the voice into the unknown, intent on finding answers in the perpetually misty realm in the woods. More and more, an inexplicable imbalance is hurting not only her kingdom but also the neighboring tribe of Northuldra. Can Queen Elsa put her legendary magical skills to good use to restore peace and stability?
Let’s wrestle with these questions:
A theme throughout the movie is “Do the next right thing”. Basically, even if you don’t know the final big solution, just do the next right thing in front of you. Anna was overcome with grief about Elsa but she did the next right thing by putting one foot in front of the other.
What does the phrase “Do the next right thing” mean to you? How does it help the characters throughout the movie? How does this idea connect with the INFLUNSR definition of courage (choosing love over fear)? How do you know what the next right thing is?
We asked you to read the Foundation for Economic Standing article entitled The Courage of a Nurse: the Story of Edith Cavell. Nazi Germany forced France to surrender on June 22, 1940. A day later, Adolf Hitler himself toured the conquered capital of Paris, where he personally ordered the destruction of two memorials to heroes from the First World War. On December 4, 2019, the world carelessly passed by the 154th anniversary of the birth of one of them, a remarkable woman named Edith Cavell.
Her story is an example of the age-old tragedy that repeats itself every single minute somewhere in the world: a genuinely good individual whose life is snuffed out by some lousy government for a pointless purpose.
Consider this comment at the end of the article: “Putting one’s own life on the line in defiance of earthly power—especially in the defense of the lives and freedoms of others—is a powerful inspiration.” How does the idea of courage in your respective personal world mesh with Edith Cavell’s example of courage? Discuss your ideas about this.
We asked you to read and watch the ABC News story 15 Medical Students Pose in Front of Slave Quarters at Plantation in Powerful Photo. A photo showing a group of medical students standing in front of the slave quarters at a Louisiana plantation is getting love from thousands on Twitter this week. Sydney Labat, 24, shared the image on Dec. 14 after she and 14 of her Tulane University classmates posed at the Whitney Plantation in Wallace. The picture was liked nearly 50,000 times.
Let’s think and dialogue about this:
”I think I speak for myself and my classmates that it was an extremely humbling experience to say the least,” Sydney Labat said. “We would not be here without the strength and determination of those enslaved and their strength to live and to press on.” When you consider what it means for 15 medical students — all descendants of slaves — to take a picture in front of former slave quarters, illustrating and honoring the courage of their ancestors, whose courage has stretched to you? Who in your past chose love over fear and you have benefitted from it? Share and discuss your thoughts…
We asked you to watch the YouTube video IT TAKES COURAGE – Best Motivational Video with T.D. Jakes. Pastor and motivational speaker T D Jakes says choosing love over fear is what it takes to be successful. “It takes courage to be successful. It is far easier not to be successful. Misery will always have company. Success breathes contempt. If you don’t want to make waves, be mediocre, be normal and fit in. But, it takes courage to be unique. It takes courage to be different.”
Ask yourself: why does courage fuel most of the outcomes you want in life? How do you balance being a leader worth following with doing what leaders worth following do? Share and discuss your thoughts.
We asked you to read to the Harvard Business Review article by James R. Detert entitled Cultivating Everyday Courage. In many stories we hear about workplace courage, the people who fight for positive change end up being ostracized—and sometimes even lose their jobs. Research, however, tells a more nuanced story. Most acts of courage don’t come from whistleblowers or organizational martyrs. Instead, they come from respected insiders at all levels who take action—be it campaigning for a risky strategic move, pushing to change an unfair policy, or speaking out against unethical behavior—because they believe it’s the right thing to do. Their reputations and track records enable them to make more headway than those on the margins or outside the organization could. And when they manage the process well, they don’t necessarily pay a high price for their actions; indeed, they may see their status rise as they create positive change.
Let’s make this personal: Let’s replace the idea of workplace with your school, church, team or group. How does this change the arc of this article for you? How can you apply these principles to your life right now? Detert says “Not every opportunity to display courage is worth taking.” How do you discern what issue(s) is worthy of your courage? What is one specific example of an issue where you need to choose love over fear?
INFLUNSR’s mission is to fuel the next generation of leaders worth following and to help students learn how to think, not what to think. Any articles posted and questions asked are intended for that sole purpose.