“Man’s nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.” –Mahatma Gandhi
I spoke at a youth detention center earlier this week. Usually at my speaking engagements I share a certain message with slight variations to accommodate for length and audience. As I watched these children walk in the room, labeled criminals by our society, it dawned on me they may have no hope for the future. Upon release most criminals go right back to crime. As a member of the CYLFriday crew and a believer of positive change I knew what message needed to be conveyed. I am not sure if they got what I was saying, but they listened. To get a group of 11-17 year olds to listen to you for an hour is quite a task.
When I was younger my parents told me many things, including I could be anything I wanted to be. The problem was I did not know what I wanted to be. I did not listen to my parents and did not allow myself to believe them. I was a troubled youth, which followed me into early adulthood. I looked up to the people who influenced me positively. I listened to these people even though they usually said the same things my parents did. I am not sure of these youths’ background, but I do understand the power of positive influence. I get so wrapped up in my own life that I forget to pass on what I have learned. I have to ask myself; “How often does my busy life keep me from helping my community? How often do I forget about the youth?”
Affirmation: I am a positive influence on all people I encounter. My life is a positive example to those that are looking to me for Light.
Call to action: How many of you have younger family members, neighbors, friends children or children of your own? Am I doing all that I can to be a positive influence? Do I take the time to acknowledge the youth in my community? Please share your experience with the CYLFriday community.
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A few months ago I was struck with the recognition of how strong my influence can be on the younger people in my community when one of my friends sons was mimicing some words and ideas that I was sharing in his presence just two days before. What this experience reminded me of was how when I was a young man one of my friends older brothers gave me a t-shirt, I felt so honored and grateful to recieve a gift from such an “amazing” older person that I wore that shirt several times a week to school for an entire year and I would often tell people where I got it from.
What I know today is that I am going to influence those around me and I need to be sure that I check myself before I venture into the world so that what I am transfering to my fellows is the reflection I want to see in the world.
Thank you for adding the perspective of being someone that has an influence on the younger generation and how you were influenced by someone’s older brother as you were growing up.
Great call to action,
Thanks CYLF Crew!
Great comment MPB, Thank you again!
As a teacher for 20 years I had the opportunity to see students and their families overcome some incredible stressful situations. It was only recently that I realized what service work it is to be a good teacher who connects and works with kids and families – it takes a whole village to raise a child. I am now teaching at a university and plan to share CYLF’s message with (all secondary majors) my grad students this evening. Thank you for all you do to be the change you want to see in the world……..
Thank you for your service as a teacher. We are very grateful for the CYLFriday plug to your grad students.