Friday, June 10, 2011

How do you Be?

I have spent the last several months working with a group of very smart, very talented and every engaged students. We have been brainstorming about their future, their school and their world. We came together with the purpose of making videos about issues that are important to them but what we have discovered along the way is that life is not about 'the issues' its about the people who are affected by and who live the issues every day.

The anti-bullying campaign is not about the message of being kinder, its about the kid who is afraid to show up at school because of the daily ridicule and judgement he faces. The diversity movement is not about being politically correct, its about the kid who doesn't speak the language, doesn't know the culture and is therefore on the outside looking in. Food drives and fundraising is not about the politics of homelessness and poverty, its about the kid who is sitting in school, unable to concentrate on anything but her empty stomach and how she is going to fill it.

'Be the change' has become a popular catch phrase for this generation. It is inspiring, empowering, just to say the words. But how do you be? How do you affect change? Heck, how do you inspire change in a world that likes the reality of change far less than they like the idea of it?How do you motivate a generation to be more than you have been yourself?

You stick them all in a room together and you tell them they can be, and keep telling them until they believe it. Then you provide opportunities, support and guidance as they move forward with passion and enthusiasm. I have seen kids and teens do incredible things because they had an idea, excitement and adults who believed in them. I have also seen kids become cynical and jaded way too young because of disappointment and discouragement in their lives. Kids full of life and potential have settled for being less than they could be because no one ever cared enough to tell them that they could be more.

Every day I look each one of my kids in the eye and tell them that they are smart, creative, compassionate and pretty darn cute, too. I tell them that they are superstars in their own life. I tell them that they were created for greatness but that its their responsibility to figure out what that means for them. I tell them that they can do, change and be anything ... all they have to do is want it bad enough to do the work. Usually they roll their eyes and say, "I know, Mom, Yuo've told me that a million times!" but I know that if I keep saying those words and giving them the opportunities they need to try being, they will, in fact Be the Change for their generation.

This is a promo video for something called We Day. Its a crazy, passionate, inspiring rally for kids started by the folks at Free the Children. This year this rally is coming to our neck of the woods. I am so excited for the kids in our province, that they get to be stuck in a room together with a bunch of excited, hopeful and enthusiastic adults who will tell these kids that they can Be, over and over again until each one of the 50,000 kids in the arena believe ... and then these kids will go back to their schools and communities and they'll tell their friends that they can Be, too. And soon they will all Be, and we all will be better for it.

That's how you Be.

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