Life is phenomenal to say the least. The environments that we are in shape who we are and quite often how we think. We become like those that we surround ourselves with the most. As human beings, we have the unique ability to reason, evaluate and execute ideas based on a predetermined risk assessment. Sometimes we choose not to execute on those ideas because of the opinions or assessments of others that are involved in our lives and closest to us. Some of us regress, taking a step back, not executing on the ideas and dreams we have because of the environment we surround ourselves in. We let what others say shape and determine our thoughts, ultimately inhibiting the growth of our mind.
Others have the ability and desire to remove themselves from an environment that they deem negative and not supportive. They choose not to listen to anyone’s negative assessment as they decide to reason and evaluate on their own. They search for the right environment, making sacrifices along the way, so they may grow personally, professionally and with the undying support, all of us yearn for. They choose their friends wisely and they understand the importance of surrounding themselves with people who are more intelligent than they are and have achieved more than they have. They know this is the key to their own advancement and their ability to constantly learn and grow their own mind.
What I just described to you is the difference between two adults. Both have the ability to change anything they want about the environment they are in and the individuals they associate with in said environment. One lets the opinion of others shape and determine his thoughts, ultimately his actions, by keeping him from reaching his full potential. The other, removes herself from the negative environment as she decides to surround herself with those that support and understand her.
As adults, we have the ability to make a difference in our own lives. It is part of the learning process through adolescence and prepares you to have the ability to make a difference in your own life. We are in charge of ourselves personally, professionally and socially. Creating the life we want and contributing to society is no easy task and requires an enormous amount of effort and strong will. It takes an insane amount of determination and requires one to have the ability to make sacrifices most may not want to make.
Then there are those who are in hostile environments in their life: Similar to the individuals I just described. This demographic, though, is unsure how they got there and they really do not understand why things are happening the way they are. They want to change their situation but do not have the ability to do so just yet. They deal with negative forces either in their home, outside in society or even at school and they feel stuck and helpless with nowhere to go. Some of them have their minds affected because of the people that surround them. Many of them feel lonely and angry because they can’t do much of anything to better their situation.
These individuals are our children
Children are born into an environment that they essentially have very little control over. If they live in a hostile and negative home, they can’t move out. If they live in a community that does not support or care about them, they can’t leave and find a new community. If their situation at home gets bad enough where certain events deem it necessary, they could be placed in foster care, again, having very little to no control over their environment. If the negative forces in their lives start to affect their minds, they enter the behavioral health system, again, with little to no control over their lives.
Here is the thing: Most of your ability to create the life you want and contribute to society is largely determined by the type of environment you were in when you were a child. If you had a wonderful upbringing with loving and nurturing parents, a great school system and community, then you are probably doing well right now and able to contribute to society in a positive manner. You could say that your parents made a difference in your life. You could also say a certain teacher or your community made a difference in your life. What you could not say though [for the most part] is that when you were a child, you made a difference in your own life. This is because most children simply do not have the ability to change their situation by removing themselves from a difficult, non-supportive environment. Often one that is not conducive to growth and preparation for life as an adult. It’s just not possible for them in most instances.
If a child is too young to be able to make a difference in their own life then the adult becomes charged with the task of making that difference.
Here is my question.
What can society do to make a difference in the life of a child?
Whatever that struggle may be, whether it’s in school, at home or out in the community, this child is looking up at an adult to be that difference they need. When they need us most, at a young and impressionable age, we can’t let them down. No child deserves to be let down and every child deserves someone that can make a difference in his or her life.
Where are we as a society when it comes to making a difference in the lives of our children?
Can we do better than we are now?
I often feel like all we do as a society, or country if you will, is chase after things we think will make us richer, or smarter, or better looking. For some of us, we chase after fame and fortune, or a significant other we believe our friends and family will admire. We chase after material items we think will make us feel better but eventually they become yesterday’s news and off we go to find the next emotional fix that we think will fulfill our desire to be happy. We chase after wealth, love and happiness believing that if we have all three we have made it. Nothing can get in our way, as we hit the ultimate trifecta in life.
What if how we define wealth, love and happiness is wrong?
What if our definition of life is making us unhappy, and some, even miserable?
What if we are chasing after the wrong things in life?
How about if we placed our children first instead of putting ourselves first as we chase after wants and desires?
To clarify, I don’t mean our own children from an individual family standpoint. I mean all of our children, who breathe the same air we breathe in this great country of ours.
What would happen if we started chasing after a difference in their lives rather than chasing after material items in our own lives?
How different would our future be if this was our focus?
We live during an era of authority, in one of the greatest, most powerful countries on this planet, yet for some reason, as a country, we seem to fix everyone’s problems except our own. We are often so busy living our twenty-first century lifestyle, that we vaguely listen to the issues at hand, never once opening our eyes and really seeing the problems. Is it because we are afraid of what we are really going to see? Maybe it’s because we are secretly hoping the problems will disappear if we ignore them long enough. Maybe then, they really don’t exist.
I will leave you with this. I believe we are all here in life for a reason. Every person is here to serve a purpose in life. I believe most people do not realize it yet, but the purpose they have in life is far greater and larger than they are. Having a purpose to serve others in life and having the fortitude to step forward and implement action is one of the most fulfilling things a person can experience. When our time comes and we depart from this amazing world we live in, one thing is for sure. We cannot take any material items with us. There is something, however, we can take. It is the very thoughts and feelings we have in our heart and in our soul, that we get to keep when we help another human being. It is my belief that those feelings stay in your soul forever. Many children in life need a hand up at an extremely critical time in their lives. Helping a child cope with depression and anxiety in the midst of adolescence is crucial in getting that child over this hurdle. Making an impact, however you can, in the life of a child will without a doubt stay with that child forever. These are just a couple examples as there are many more.
Everything I just told you gave me the fortitude to step forward and begin the process of implementing action. It is why I wrote the book Chasing A Difference. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of all children in our country. When you take your time to be part of this mission, without question, you will understand what it is like to have those thoughts and feelings in your heart and in your soul because you gave a child a fighting chance at life. That my friend, is something you will be able to take with you and it will remain in your heart and soul forever.
Together we can do this.