Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Feel Lucky

I feel lucky.  Lucky to be able to awake every day knowing that I get to do the things that make me happiest: thank my Savior, speak with parents and family members, breathe fresh air, eat nutritious food, wear adequate clothing and share my good fortunes of mind and goodwill with some very deserving young people.

I feel lucky.  For the past several months, I have been designing and implementing extended learning programs for young people.  These programs provide intensive academic enrichment to students who are struggling in core subject areas of reading and math and who reside within communities in which they don't always receive an opportunity to share in experiences outside of their communities.  These programs make tremendous difference in the lives of the impacted young people and tremendous difference in my life. 

I feel lucky.  Lucky to have met the phenomenal children in the programs.  Children who are full of intellect, creativity, imagination and curiosity.  Children who have a desire to learn, a desire to ask questions, a desire to achieve.  Children who may not always have the designer shoe or shirt, but always have the smile, the determination and an innate desire to do well.  Children who have the compassion to help each other during difficult and/or unhappy times.  I saw many hugs, expressions of "its gonna be ok", "don't cry" and "let me help you".  These children taught me much more than I believe I taught them.  I miss them in my life and those daily life lessons of honesty, perseverance, kindness, trust and faith.

My question to young people is this:  Do you feel lucky?  Do you feel lucky to be able to awake daily and have a mind that will allow you to be as creative as you can imagine?  Do you feel lucky to be able to form your own opinions free of negative influences?  Do you feel lucky to be able to go to school and obtain an education, which is permanent?  Do you feel lucky to be able to have the experience of learning from a mistake, whether your own or someone else's?  Do you feel lucky to be able to give to someone who may be less fortunate than you?  Do you feel lucky to know the perils and dangers of risky behaviors such as substance abuse, reckless driving, violence, sexual promiscuity, or truancy?  Do you feel lucky to have adults in your life, family or otherwise, who care about you and your well-being?

My message to young people is this:  Take those feelings of luck and transform them into goodwill experiences for others, such as tutoring or mentoring young people, helping a young person in your community make good, positive choices, modeling positive behaviors when not in the presence of an adult, becoming an active participant in the educational culture of your school, or communicating with political leaders about issues of importance to you and your peers.  The list is endless and it starts with you.

Good luck!