Archive for Changing the Future
Two days before another Holiday Season warms its way across the hearts and minds of our MpoweredParent community, I pose to you a question.
“What aren’t you thankful for?”
It’s a question that we don’t ask often enough. It’s not likely to be raised at the dinner table, spoken at the church service or discussed in the local paper during this time of year. But it is perhaps a much more meaningful question than that which asks us to consider our blessings.
When we consider the gifts of our lives, “What are we thankful for?”, we are challenging ourselves to embrace the greater meaning of our existence. We set aside our frivolous daily distractions, and tune-in to the real substance of our life. Family, friends, health and opportunity, typically come to mind, as we pause to recognize the things in our world that we could not do without.
“For those who will make a difference in this world, there is no more powerful, positive and inspiring inquiry…” – Author’s Note
But what about the things that we have become accustomed to doing without, even though we shouldn’t? I’m not talking materialistically. I’m referencing the manner and extent to which our lives have embodied our values. Are we accomplishing our goals, fulfilling our responsibilities, reaching our potential? Do we have healthy relationships? Have we taken charge of our future?
“What aren’t you thankful for?” At first glance, this question seems negative or even accusatory. That’s probably why we don’t ask it. But I encourage you to view it differently, because to those who will make a difference in this world, there is no more powerful, positive and inspiring inquiry than that which I propose.
In acknowledging the issues that deserve more of our attention, we tune-in to the aspects of our lives that have gone unreconciled. These are the places we haven’t gone, the heights we haven’t reached, the accomplishments we haven’t made and the impression our presence has failed to leave. You can apply these concepts to many areas of your life. My concern is with you as person, and the extent to which you have achieved happiness; both for yourself and for those fortunate enough to be around you.
Are you a powerful person? The purest form of power is found in enrichment; the manner in which we contribute to our families, our organizations, our activities (big and small), and all areas over which our involvement stands to have impact. Powerful people recognize their role, and inhabit it in all ways. The future is tomorrow, and the quality of tomorrow is contingent upon today’s investment. There’s no room for distraction or dilution of this responsibility, but that’s exactly what our daily routine does to us -if we let it.
Consumed by the daily marathon, oppressed by the common malaise, many of our goals are forfeit to apathy and indecisiveness. We feel unmotivated, uncommitted, maybe even uncontrolled. But it’s an illusion. In actuality, ambivalence is just the last vestige of the unchallenged. We can get tired. We can be busy. At times we can become disillusioned, but we can never allow ourselves to become detached from the challenges that push us to be better people.
So here’s my challenge. At this poignant time, ask yourself, and those around you, “What aren’t you thankful for?” Confront what disappoints you (or them), and secure a commitment to changing it. Honor that for which you are blessed, by pursuing that which has eluded you. Above all, we should be thankful for the opportunity to achieve, amend, construct or capture whatever aspect of our lives has left us wanting. So as you pay tribute to the wonderful blessings of the life that surrounds you, devote the same respect towards the unaccomplished. Don’t mourn it, my friends, challenge it.
“A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives.”
One of my favorite quotes owes its creation not to a world leader, professional entertainer or renowned orator, but to a humble baseball player from the 1940′s. Jackie Robinson didn’t set out to change the world, but by living his life in this simple, humble mindset, he left a legacy that continues to have a profound impact upon humanity today.
We all have the potential to become people of tremendous consequence. What often impedes us is not a lack of wealth, prestige, access or opportunity, but understanding. We misunderstand our own role. We underestimate the impact of our daily lives. We overlook the amazing breadth of our own influence. We downplay our importance to others, and ignore our own ability to make this home, town, country or world a better place. This isn’t just a sacrifice of self-respect, it is a forfeit of responsibility. There are some, however, who choose to walk a different path, and it is to them, whom the future belongs.
I am one who never sought to be a person of influence (and some would be quick to remind me that I am not). Nonetheless, my young life has rewarded me with a long list of very poignant and heartwarming memories. Tales of human triumph, stories of unlikely success, adversities overcome, friendships fostered, futures reclaimed; all memories earned through the simple and humble principle of engagement. I acknowledge that my role in life stands to effect others, and I embrace the importance of my daily interactions -regardless of how small. While the world may never come to view me as a “person of consequence”, I try to live my life in a consequential way.
“Far too many people willingly forfeit their legacy to the inconsequential utility of routine. The future is owned by those who recognize their own importance.” – Author’s Note
Many of us mistakenly look to other people, or other positions, as having more importance than we have ourselves. That simple falsehood is responsible for 90% of the world’s problems. Instead of diffusing or delegating consequence to others, we must make a commitment to embrace our own. More than an occasional good deed, this mindset is embodied within our daily routine. It is the manner in which we inhabit our role, and the seriousness with which we view our own legacy. It is a humble and simplistic acceptance of our responsibility to one another.
We become people of influence not simply by what we do, but by how we do it. Like fingerprints, our values are imprinted upon everything that we do. The secret lies in how we share ourselves; how our interactions convey those values. Jackie Robinson’s fame allowed him to influence millions of people at once. We see his icon and are instantly reminded of his legacy. You too have a legacy to share. You leave a piece of yourself with each and every person that you engage with. The challenge is to make a daily investment in the life of those with whom your path will cross.
Each morning, our alarm clock wakes us up to a seemingly endless list of requirements, responsibilities and obligations. We bounce from one thing to the next, dutifully checking tasks off of our list. At days end, we look back at what we’ve done, and plan ahead to the tasks waiting for us when the starter pistol goes off again. Rarely do we pause long enough to distinguish between “what” we did, and “how” we did it. Make tonight different. Make tonight the night that something as routine and arbitrary as your daily grind, becomes the means by which you share your legacy with the world. “A life is not important, except for the impact it has on other lives.” From now on, begin each day with the determination that your impact will be a big one.
The journey that ultimately discovered the Americas was at many times believed to be foolhardy, overreaching, even fatalistic. To be sure, Columbus and his men were beaten, famished and unspirited, well before they got a glimpse of the promise land. Yet centuries later, their efforts continue to be heralded as encompassing one of the bravest and most consequential endeavors of all time. Many of us can draw parallels between the story of Columbus, and that of our own efforts. We carry noble passions, that drive us to go beyond what others seem to think worthy. Yet we also carry the prudent concern that our valuable investments may be lost to a goal that will never come to fruition.
Timothy Shoemaker is a writer, speaker and educator from New Jersey.
The moment we begin to question the valor of our commitment, is the moment when we must be at our strongest. Over the years, we’ve all had our ups and downs. Running, or even contributing to an organization of people can be guaranteed to give you some heartache and regret. Daring to pursue that which is difficult, is guaranteed to reward you with difficulties. No matter how passionate you are about the pursuit, and no matter how much you love working with your people, the road less traveled is going to be bumpy. Success is rarely achieved without adversity. The test of time for those who will ultimately change the world, boils down to how they handle the ups and downs of collaborative achievement. Even the best of us get frustrated and question the merit, value or plausibility of our efforts at times. The trick is being able to detach from the emotion, persevere in the face of frustration, and inspire others to do the same.
If the answers were easy and the journey undaunting, everyone would be doing what you are trying to do. In the end, we must remember that no goal has ever been achieved by giving up. No problem was ever solved by surrender. Have the fortitude to keep driving. Have the strength to persevere. Indulge yourself in the acknowledgment of difficulty, but carry forward with the knowledge that your destination lies just over the horizon. It’s true that if you turned back now, no one would blame you…Except maybe yourself.
Make the D.F.F. Campaign Yours
D.F.F. stands for Drug Free Forever. We’ve started this campaign with about two dozen photo cards. Right now, they are stored on the Text This page under “Drug Free“. You can download these cards for free and then email them at will. They are also formatted so that you can send them via picture message to anyone’s phone. We’ve included very simple instructions that will show you how to send them as picture messages, right from your email account. It couldn’t be easier.
If you send it to the right people, your campaign will go viral. Recipients will forward it on to their friends. Someday, you’ll have the satisfaction of having one of your DFF messages come back to you. But wait, it gets better. If you look at the DFF photo cards, you’ll notice that we’ve left a space on front. Your organization information can go right in that spot. Your name or website can be easily dropped in there. That way, your group can go viral right along with your message. In a few months, we’ll add on to this campaign with some more features. For now, have fun with the photos.
Text This! is a simple list of facts, phrases, sounds and images that can be sent via cell phone text messaging systems to your children, friends or organization members. Sound silly? That’s because it is. But just like those annoyingly silly chain messages that somehow find their way into your inbox, so too will these healthy little tidbits weasel their way into the consciousness of your target audience.
Sometimes the best parenting technique, is to let your child be the teacher. The average screenager sends and receives over 50 texts per day. Rather than role your eyes, take advantage of this medium. Break up the gossip, sleeze and nonsense that’s flashing across their phones. Insert a little wisdom, guidance and love. Trust us, they’ll get the message.
Our Text This! pages are full of inspirational quotes, factoids, jokes and tidbits that you can quickly send off to your technosavy teens. You can do it right from your computer desktop. We’ve put some inspirational picture messages up there for you to blast through the community too. Forward them through your address book, and let others in on your MpoweredParent connection. If your friends are like ours, the message will soon be flashing across dozens of cell phones in a matter of minutes. In days, it could be hundreds of phones, in weeks…who knows.
If you’ve got a local organization, try a few of our messages out on your target audience. See if they work their way back to you. If you want to customize a message for yourself. Just create a 900 X 1200 pixel JPG file at 72 DPI. Once saved, it should be under 200kb. Then just follow the instructions on this page to send it out. Power to the Parents!