Aimed at high school students

Each of us has the ability to influence what happens in our world. We are neither helpless nor powerless to make a difference. Each of our actions improves or reduces the amount of good in society. Today is a day for empowering people to do their best. Our actions count. If we take responsibility for what goes on and push things in positive directions, we will see better results. Youth are facing some critical situations: poverty, drug use, bullying, teen driving crashes. The power of one voice, one action, could change these problems and save lives. We need leaders.

Growing up is often a search for confidence and capability. None of us is perfect. It is our imperfections that disappoint us. But those are the things that push us to improve. We need to embrace the moment and work to improve. No one gets better without dedication and genuine commitment. Sometimes we don’t give our best effort. You don’t get somethin’ for nothin’.

People tend to place “freedom to be yourself” as the ultimate personal value. Sometimes, we have the feeling that the best world would be one with no restrictions, rules or demands. We often equate “fun” with “less responsibility.” Showing restraint, respecting certain limits, protects us from making foolish mistakes. We can all make assumptions that prove to be wrong.

Permitting your friends to slide on accountability is not friendship. Allowing people to hurt themselves is not a sign of support. Many people feel invincible. Love means providing positive leadership, giving people a clearer sense of direction, even if they have trouble accepting it. With crisis building in alcohol and other drugs, suicide and teen driving deaths, your intervention may save a life. A good friend will know when to back off and when to stay absolutely firm.

Youth today are facing critical problems due to the neglect of past generations. Past leaders have too often let situations reach a “critical stage”. It takes so much energy and pain to come back from painful disasters. For our ultimate good, we must postpone some impulses or sacrifice on some choices, knowing that personal suffering can be self-created. Making good decisions is a lifetime pattern worth building.

We are drifting towards becoming inactive citizens. In a Facebook/YouTube world, we can get locked into “watching” reality vs. “changing” it. We need to be proactive and get involved. We need to be bold and come up with new ways of solving old problems... be creative! It is time for a new generation of leaders who care more about being servants than being celebrities.

We can shape our world instead of watch it self-destruct. It is time that we realize our importance and start pushing for greater excellence. First, build your own strengths. Take responsibility for YOU. Then, look to improve your community. If we fail to heed “warning signs,” we eventually have to deal with “disasters.” The voices in our world that speak up for shared prosperity, safety and respect are valuable. Instead of letting things go, speak up and make it tough for people to make tragic choices. Don't stand on the sidelines waiting for a rescuer. Be that rescuer, TAKE THE LEAD!