Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Sound Of Freedom

A Reel Leadership Article

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Sound Of Freedom, an Angel Studios film, has been taking the box office by storm. The low-budget and faith-based film has been astonishing film critics as it has reached over $100 million at the box office. This little, unknown film is crushing it and making a horrendous situation known.

Child and sex trafficking are real. There are boys, girls, men, and women who are taken, tricked, or sold into this modern-day slavery. It’s so sad.

My wife has been a massive advocate for ending the global sex trade through multiple means. She supports ethical clothing, talks about it with friends and family, and more. When I heard about Sound Of Freedom, I knew she’d want to see it.

We were able to see Sound Of Freedom recently. The movie was tough to watch as it depicted children in the sex trade (nothing obscene is shown) and their rescue. The movie focuses on Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) and his quest to rescue a young girl named Rocío (Cristal Aparicio). Tim had already rescued Rocío’s brother, Miguel (Lucás Ávila). When Miguel asked about his sister, Tim knew he had to go find her.

Jim Caviezel and Lucás Ávila in the movie Sound Of Freedom

This led him on a manhunt to find the people responsible, bring them to justice, and bring Rocío home. 

All of this is based on a true story. Tim Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad after seeing the horrendous things done to these children. 

Watch Sound Of Freedom to have your eyes opened to the heinous things that are being done. Then go out and change the world.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Sound Of Freedom

1. Beware of those who promise you the world:

Rocío meets a woman who uses the assumed name Giselle (Yessica Borroto Perryman). Her real name was Katy (I’ll use this name for the rest of the article when talking about her). She worked in the sex trade industry, but Rocío did not know. 

When Katy stops by Rocío’s house, she tells her she is beautiful and has a fantastic voice. She needs to go to the talent competition, but first they need to talk to Rocío’s father about it. Her father, Roberto (José Zúñiga), agrees to take Rocío and her brother to the talent competition. 

Katy, once again, begins to tell them how great they are, what they could do in the world, and how they could be successful. Roberto leaves his kids with her. When Roberto returns, his kids are missing and have been put into the sex trade.

People will promise you the world. They’ll tell you they’re the best in class, deliver quality, or are completely on time. 

Most people are true to their word. However, like Katy, some people are looking to take advantage of you or your organization.

Be cautious when you begin to hear someone promise you the world. 

2. Track the right metrics:

Tim and his partner in the FBI were investigating pedophile cases. Tim asked his partner how many pedophiles had been taken down. His partner answered there were over 200 arrested.

Now, Tim asked the better question. He wanted to know how many children had been rescued. His partner skirted the question and said rescuing kids wasn’t their job.

This put Tim on a new path. He couldn’t stand by as innocent children were sold and traded.

What metrics are you tracking? Are you looking at one statistic that matters but not as much as the other?

The metrics we track will tell us whether we’re succeeding or failing. Make sure you’re tracking the right metrics.

3. The things leaders will see will be hard:

The images and videos Tim had to review were heartbreaking. They were of children being manipulated into sexual situations. These young boys and girls having their innocence stolen from them.

The images broke Tim. He struggled with what he had seen. He knew he couldn’t continue on the same course.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to see what Tim saw. Yet, you will see difficult things. And those things can be hard to wrap your mind around.

Some situations may include

  • An employee’s loss of a family member
  • Having an employee betray your trust
  • A failing business

The things you’ll see will be hard. You’ll struggle with the situations and ideas behind them.

Keep going. Use these situations to propel you to new ideas and places.

4. You don’t have to live with the name others have given you:

His kidnappers gave Miguel the name Teddy Bear. They used this sweet-sounding name when showing his photo or videos to prospective buyers. 

When Tim rescued Miguel, Miguel used the name Teddy Bear. Tim asked him what his real name was. He said Miguel.

People will label you. They may even give you names. Maybe they did when you were growing up.

Some of the names may have been idiot, loser, stupid, and others. These names were hurtful.

You don’t have to live with those names. You never did.

Take back your name. Claim who you are. Don’t let others tear you down with negative names.

5. Bad leaders manipulate others through their desires:

We see a man buying Miguel. He pays his money, and we see him taking Miguel away. Cut to a scene where Miguel and the man are eating. The pedophile asks Miguel if he is still hungry. He said yes.

This was when the pedophile began to manipulate Miguel. The pedophile slides food toward Miguel only to pull it back. He then tells Miguel he has to do whatever he tells him to do, and he will get the food.

It was all manipulation. And it was harmful.

Be wary of those who use manipulation to get what they want. They know what they’re doing and they know you’ll respond. Maybe you’re the one doing the manipulation. If that’s you, stop it.

6. Make things personal:

Tim returns Miguel to his father. The father is ecstatic but still sad.

Roberto asks Tim if he is a father. When he said yes, Roberto asked what Tim would do if one of his kids were missing.

Roberto knew what he was doing. He was making his missing daughter personal to Tim. This worked. Tim began to track down Rocío.

This wasn’t a manipulation tactic. This was something else. What Roberto did was to make his plight personal to Tim.

You need to do this for your team. You have to make the mission and vision of your organization personal to those working on it.

Find ways to connect your organization to the passions of your people. You’ll discover they’ll want to work when they have a personal or vested interest.

7. Vampiro (Bill Camp):

How’d that make you feel?

Tim met with Vampiro. Vampiro had been in and out of trouble with law enforcement for a long time.

Vampiro’s been trying to make up for a grievous sin. He’d been with a prostitute he thought was 20 or 25 years old. He was wrong. The girl was 14.

But, in this scene, Vampiro and Tim are talking about rescuing children. After Vampiro realized what he had done, he began to buy the freedom of children. He became a rescuer instead of an abuser.

I think this is a great question for leaders to ask themselves. They have to be aware of the feelings they have constantly. 

Are they good? Are they bad? Somewhere in-between?

Our feelings shouldn’t rule us, but they should be able to guide us in the right direction.

8. Vampiro:

When God tells you what to do, you cannot hesitate

Vampiro was ready to end his life after he slept with a child. He felt shame, anger, and bitterness. He was desiring to die.

Putting a gun to his head, he wanted to pull the trigger. This was when he heard God’s voice. God’s voice told him to act. He did, by buying the freedom of young girls.

Do you listen to the voice of God when you hear Him? You cannot hesitate. 

When you hear God’s voice, act. Let Him be your guide. You may be surprised at the success you begin to see when you listen.

9. Our true mission can make us do things others won’t understand:

Tim was 10 months away from a vested retirement. This didn’t stop Tim from putting in his resignation with the Bureau. He had a more important mission in his life now.

After resigning, Tim pursued Rocío. He tracked down traffickers until he was able to rescue her. His mission was more important than his retirement funds.

People didn’t understand this. They questioned why he would give up all that money to pursue something that wasn’t a sure bet.

He knew. He had a mission.

When you discover your mission, you pursue it with your all. You’ll give up your desires, wealth, and fame. You’ll understand that you are called to something greater.

Be willing to pursue that calling, that mission. It’s more important than wealth or fame.

10. Tim Ballard:

We wait.

Tim had devised an idea to rescue multiple children from the sex traffickers. He and his friends would pretend to build a resort that catered to pedophiles. They would then approach the traffickers with an offer to buy the children.

This worked. To a point.

They met with the child traffickers. The child traffickers brought children but not all of them. 

Tim and his partners wondered what they should do. Tim said they would wait until they had them all.

Waiting is one of the hardest things to do. You, as a leader, want to take action. You want to see results. Sometimes, the results you have achieved are enough. Other times, they’re not.

Be willing to wait to get what you want or need. 

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