Few people have inspired more intensely than Nelson Mandela.
His words have often lifted and empowered me when life has asked me to do hard things, things that scare me.
I am always inspired by what inspires those who have inspired me. While in prison, Mandela was inspired by William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to talk to your children about Nelson Mandela’s legacy and how he changed the world forever.
I shared parts of this little biography with my boys:
Minute 10:22 had me in tears.
I remember South Africa’s first free election in 1994. I was in high school. I read a ton about it at the time. Flipping through an oversized magazine with stirring images from that day, my whole body stopped when I saw the lines of people in Soweto waiting to vote. I tore out those images from the magazine and pasted them into my journal. Although I do not like politics, I have always exercised my right to vote in part because of the impact that image left on me.
So here’s to Mandela! May his legacy continue to inspire for generations to come.
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.