Thursday, September 30, 2010

dream big.

i make no bones or secret about it:
i heart barack obama.

he is not unflawed. he is not infallible.
he does not have the magic wand we all wish someone had
to wave over the broken parts of our country
& fix it.

but he is smart. he is thoughtful.
he is compassionate. he is kind.
& he is trying. he is working hard
to make the broken parts better.

& man, he gives a hell of a speech.
inspirational. visionary. & seriously well-crafted.

a couple of weeks ago, he gave his annual
back-to-school speech to the students at
philadelphia's julia r. masterman middle-high school.

i read through it last night, & discovered words
of inspiration for not only my children,
but also for myself.

my favorite excerpts:

nobody gets to write your destiny but you.
your future is in your hands.
your life is what you make of it.
& nothing - absolutely nothing - is beyond your reach.
so long as your willing to dream big.
so long as you're willing to work hard.
so long as you're willing to stay focused.

you may wonder if some people
are just better at certain things.
& it's true that we each have our own gifts & talents
we need to discover & nurture.
but just because you're not the best at something today
doesn't mean you can't be tomorrow.
even if you don't think of yourself
as a math person or as a science person -
you can still excel in those subjects
if you're willing to make the effort.
& you may find out you have talents
you'd never dreamed of.

excelling in school or in life isn't mainly
about being smarter than everybody else.
it's about working harder than everybody else.
don't avoid new challenges -
seek them out, step out of your comfort zone, &
don't be afraid to ask for help;
your teachers & family are there to guide you.
don't feel discouraged or give up
if you don't succeed at something - try it again
& learn from your mistakes.
don't feel threatened if your friends are doing well;
be proud of them, & see what lessons
you can draw from what they're doing right.

life is precious, & part of its
beauty lies in its diversity.
we shouldn't be embarrassed by
the things that make us different.
we should be proud of them.
because it's the things that make us different
that make us who we are.
& the strength & character of this country
have always come from our ability
to recognize ourselves in one another,
no matter who we are,
or where we come from,
what we look like,
or what abilities or disabilities we have.

yes, we need to work hard.
yes, we need to take responsibility for our own education.
yes, we need to take responsibility for our own lives.
but what makes us who we are is that
here, in this country, we not only
reach for our own dreams,
we help others do the same.
this is a country that gives
all its daughters & all its sons
a fair chance.
a chance to make the most of their lives.
a chance to fulfill their god-given potential.

thanks, mr. president, for the pep talk.
middle-school or middle-age,
we all need one now & then.

p.s. i heart you.

click here for the full text of president obama's 2010 back-to-school speech.

image source: kelly rae roberts.

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