Soul Power – A King-ian theme. Vol. V. (Free-agency)

“We have all been drafted into the league of humanity. And in this league, every player is a free agent, under free agency.  We have the power to choose how we play the game, for what purpose we play, and for whom we play.”  – Tim Terrentine

Halftime fans of the world; fire up!  As we close this King week blog series, I’d like to usher us into an analogy that I hope helps move us to action. I remember being in the Kalamazoo Central Maroon G ant Marching Band.  Contrary to popular opinion and memory, I did not play the piccolo (shout out to comedian Robin Harris), I played the baritone.  The baritone was a mini-tuba.  I think back with fondness on the days in band class where we sounded like ‘wounded moose’s in mating season”(shout out to Mr. Mandel), and couldn’t get things right.  On those days, it was the drum majors job to pull this mess together and try to make 60+ instruments sound as one.  I was not the drum major, but I understood their role.  

Dr. King gave a great speech entitled the ‘drum major instinct’.  The basic idea of the drum major instinct is that human beings are all born with the desire to be significant. Human beings are wonderfully created by the Almighty with a desire to be recognized, to be important, to have value.  This desire in us is natural and quite frankly,  a good thing. However with most things in our lives that we are innately gifted to us, there are dialectical tensions that exist. For instance, we were born with a desire to be independent while simultaneously interdependent. Some communication scholars say that life happens in the tug-of-war between those two opposing thoughts. Both are needed, and both are exercised in life.

One of the greatest gifts in this life that we have is free choice.  Free agency to deal with and to choose how we apply our uniquely given gifts. Dr. King submits in the drum major speech, that if you’re going to be great,  be great with service. If you want significance that’s fine, but be significant in your fight for others’ well-being. If you want to be impactful; be impactful due to the things you do to make the world a better place. Dr. King urges us not to take for granted the gift of the drum major instinct and to be careful to make certain that if you’re going to be in front of the band; make sure it’s for the right. n the world sounds and feels horrible, if you’re going to be a drum major, be a  drum major for justice. Be a drum major for peace. Be a drum major for growth. Be a drum major in 2012.

Lead, learn, and love. 


Be Blessed, 


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