The Character Movement

What Bob Marley can teach us about character.

“Don’t worry about a thing … cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” — Bob Marley

I remember the day, nine years ago, we took my father, who had struggled for three years with Alzheimers, for a short-term stay at the hospital. His care had grown beyond the scope of my 78-year-old mother. This change put my family in high-stress mode and there was much to worry about.

During admittance, the nurse asked my father the standard question, “Is there anything dangerous in your house?” Without missing a beat, my father answered, “Yes. My wife’s cooking.” My dad, sensing the gravity of the situation, never lost his sense of humor. He looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, Joe. Everything will be alright.”

Bob Marley, world-famous pioneer of reggae music, sang something similar back in the ‘70s. Today, 50 years later, his lyrics have a reassuring message for many of us during this stressful time.

Below is a Worry Flowchart. It’s simple and to the point.

*Image pulled from the internet

This chart by no means minimizes the seriousness of our current situation. It also does not assure us that bad things won’t happen. They may. But worry is a poor place to put our energy. I recently heard a leader in our community comment on this idea. He pointed out, “Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.” It is out of today’s peace — not worry — that we are called to lead.

Like many other organizations and businesses during this pandemic, Youth Frontiers has its share of challenges. The temptation is great to worry about the future, worry about how societal changes will negatively impact our mission. In my 33 years of working at Youth Frontiers, our leadership team and I have met and overcome many obstacles. It takes a conscious effort to avoid spending too much time in worry mode. But if we can break out of worry mode, incredible things can happen.

Just last Thursday, we put on our first-ever Virtual Annual Event. It required a huge amount of energy and creativity from our staff to pull it off — there was no time or room for worry. And the result? We experienced an unprecedented outpouring of support for our mission. At a time when we could be filled with worry, instead we are filled with gratitude.

This Week’s Challenge: What is a problem you are worried about? Look at the Worry Flowchart above. How can you worry less and lead — your family, your coworkers or your students — from a place of peace?

How we respond during this time will define us as individuals, a community, and a nation.

Let us choose to be people of character.

Joe Cavanaugh
Founder & CEO
Youth Frontiers

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