True or False, The sunset on Mars appears orange… False, it looks blue. True or False, Some coins in New Zealand picture characters from Star Trek. False, they picture characters from Star Wars. True or False, Kurt loves Vegetables… False, he won’t touch vegetables unless he has too. True or False, Life is Hard… True. Each of our lives are filled with challenges, hardships, and our own weaknesses. Each of us face those days where nothing seems to go right, the day you miss your alarm in the morning, you get a flat tire on your way to school, you find out you failed your math test, and then there is a pop quiz in history class, you end up breaking your thumb at basketball practice and to end the day off, you younger brother ate all of your Halloween candy. We each have our own individual trials in life, whether we may have a disability or have been taken back by the loss of a loved one. Through it all, though, whether it is a rough day, a challenging year, or a life long burden, we must be true. We cannot let our challenges in life bring us down and in order to endure through these difficulties we must be true to our self, stay true to others, and truly appreciate all that we have.
Born on February 4th, 1913, this woman, is an example for all of us to follow. As a seamstress, she boarded the Montgomery City bus to go home from work on December 1, 1955 where she took a seat near the middle of the bus. The seats in front of her were reserved for other people and when they were filled, she was asked by the bus driver to move so someone else could take her seat. She quietly refused to give up her seat. Most of you have heard and learned about this women who was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Rosa Parks valued freedom and equality. She did not let someone else change her values. While it may have been difficult and took internal strength, she stayed true to herself. “Do not let the world change your smile, let your smile change the world.”
Take a moment to identify your values. What is it that means the most to you in your life? Is it about being a respectful person, is it your education, your family, or making healthy decisions? Once you have identified those values think of them as your diamond. As most of you may know, it is the hardest natural substance, it is practically unbreakable. Now that you have your diamond, your values, think of a person who respects you the most. Have them help you protect your diamond; ask them to be your accountability partner, so that you will stay true to yourself.
During her sophomore year of high school, a young girl was heading off to Indianapolis for her very first National Convention. This trip was different for her then most of the other students on the trip; for her it was an adventure of a lifetime. During this trip, she traveled out of the state of Kansas for the very first time, it was her first time she stayed overnight in a hotel, the first time she had rode an escalator, and the first time she had been to a concert. This trip was not only a trip full of firsts, but also a trip where she helped out a man in need. One day, she had ordered her lunch to go at one of the city restaurants and was on her way to Lucas Oil Stadium for a session with the rest of her chapter. On their way, they passed a man on the street. This man, who seemed tired, hungry, homeless, and sad. It was then that she took her box of food she had just ordered and gave it to the man, then hurried along to catch up with the rest of the group. It was here, that she chose not to concentrate on herself, but to help someone else. She knew that he needed the food more then she did, and that she would be able to survive without lunch that day.
People are a part of our life in all that we do; they influence how we act and what we say, the choices we make and the things we do, what we have and the person we are. Sometimes we do not realize we are that influence on others too. That influence from each of us should be us being true. This girl chose to forget about her own wants, and showed generosity to someone else. She was being true to others.
Of the seven billion people in the world, a few of them you will know all your life, a handful you will meet, and several you will see. How will you be true to others? What can you do to show your generosity? Will it be a simple smile or a delightful ‘Good Morning.’ Will you perform a small act of kindness to someone you do not know? Maybe, its showing appreciation to someone you have just met; learning more about them and their contribution in the world. Or it could be the people who have always been in your life that your generosity will be most influential to. Giving them all that you got; your time, respect, support, and love. If you had homework to do, but they needed help, did you help them? If you were both bogged down with stress, did you listen while they talked? If they were struggling in life, did you give them encouragement? Do you sacrifice your needs for the people in your life? Just as Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Be true to others.
On May 4th, 2007, around 9:30 the community of Greensburg heard sirens. Just 20 minutes later, their town was gone. Almost everyone had lost practically everything.
In 2009, after an ice storm had hit in the U.S., over 1.3 million homes and businesses were without power for almost two weeks, causing many people to have no food and no heat. After hailstorms, flash floods, and landslides in Kenya in 2010, 69,000 people had to leave their homes. Because of no rain, over 7 million people faced food shortages in Niger, causing many children to be malnourished. 643,067 people experienced homelessness in the U.S. at some point in 2011. One billion people go to bed hungry every night. 39 million deaths occur from vehicle accidents.
The number of people without food, without water, without homes is shocking and number of times someone loses everything with in minutes is terrifying. Every time we drink a glass of water, eat our supper, enter our home, see a loved one, take advantage of a new opportunity, watch a movie or go to school, we do not always realize how lucky we are. We cannot take anything for granted. We have so much more than what most other people have and just like the people of Greensburg, Kenya, and Niger, we never know when it will be all gone. Just the click of the computer mouse, press of the remote button to turn on the news, or the turn of a page in a newspaper can be a reminder to us, of how we should truly appreciate everything we have and for every day.
Think about this amazing day that you have had so far. Think of one thing you are grateful for today. Maybe it is being surrounded by hundreds of leaders in corduroy, a new friendship that you made, your advisor being your chauffer, or inspiring words from the morning session. Now, think of one thing you have learned today. It could be something simple like how to get to McCain Auditorium, or the name of a member from another chapter. Before you end each day, it is my task for you, to record three moments that you are thankful for and one thing that you learned.