Be Truthful, Gentle and Fearless

In my office at school, I have one of those retro light boxes (like old movie theater signs) on which you display a quote or a greeting and it lights up. When I first got the light box, I changed it frequently and picked messages that felt just right for the day or week.  

When my wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with breast cancer and adopted a cape as her symbol of power and fight, I displayed: “There is a wonder woman in each of us.” 

At the beginning of a new semester, I changed it to: “Sometimes we all need a fresh start.”

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day, I shared one of my favorite quotes: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

For the last year or so, I haven’t changed the message on my light box; it has displayed Gandhi’s quote: “Be truthful, gentle, fearless.” Over time, this quote has become my inner mantra, reminding me of whom I strive to be and how I channel my truest power.

This quote inspires me to simultaneously cultivate my strength while maintaining my humility. It encourages me to stand up for what I believe in while always listening to and seeking to understand the opinions of others.   It implores me to be persuasive without bending the truth. It reminds me to be courageous in my efforts to grow, build bridges, and support others. 

Shortly after I displayed this quote on my light box, one of my beloved colleagues, Meg, left Gateway to get married and spend time determining her path forward.  As she was saying goodbye, Meg told me I should never change the quote on my light box.  She didn’t really explain why it resonated with her or why it felt important to be displayed in my office.  But, now I think I understand.  And, I am so thankful.


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