Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why I Have FAITH In The Next Generation

Millennials

There is so much in the media today about bullying that it at times may cast some doubts about America’s next generation’s potential. Recently some of my doubts are being transposed to actual admiration for this next generation. While I do acknowledge and agree that bullying is a big issue and it does deserve attention for efforts to reduce or even end it; we can also focus on this next generations potential greatness!

TraceI have a nephew and a niece that are a part of “Generation Y”, or as they are also called the “Millennials”, that have stepped out of their comfort zones to help others. Both have traveled out of the United States to work with Christian missions. My nephew Trace experienced a humanitarian Christian mission to help feed some impoverished families in Coasta Rica and my niece Shelby helped build a church in Brazil. At their ages, I did not even Shelbyhave a passport. Having recently talked with both about their experiences, they both shared how the feel connected to a bigger world because of their experience. One thing they both shared was how much, even in extreme poverty these people lived, they were proud of what little they did have and were happy in situations most Americans could not even imagine. Trace commented about how they would even sweep the dirt floors of their houses, taking pride in how”clean” they kept what to most in the U.S.A. would be considered a hut for a house. 

3 MENEven beyond the small world of my family, I have been encouraged by this next generation. In Tennessee, 3 young men: Drew Gibbs, Taylor Grissom and Jesse Cooper surrendered their possible title of ScottyHomecoming King to Scott “Scotty” Maloney who was born with Williams’ Syndrome (an uncommon neurological disorder that inhibits speech and learning). These 3 gentlemen understood how “Homecoming King” would be more an honor for Scotty and unselfishly allowed him to experience what may be Scott’s high school highlight. Not only were these 3 young men proud for Scotty to win, Scotty received a standing ovation from his fellow students, teachers and community.

In New Jersey, Jacob Rudolph in a speech accepting a class award for class “actor” revealed he had been acting most of his Jacoblife, the role of “straight Jacob”. He said, “Sure, I’ve been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I’ve been acting every single day of my life,” Rudolph told the crowd. “You see, I’ve been acting as someone I’m not…you see me acting the part of straight Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT.” First, I admire his bravery to “come out” in such a public way at a young age and second, I was so pleased to see the response of the crowd (mostly students) cheer and applaud his announcement. This is a huge improvement about young people’s attitudes about fellow gay students.

Finally I highlight Tavi Gevinson who out of basic teenage boredom started a blog (stylerookie) that has now led to an online magazine “Rookie”. Now at 16 Tavishe is invited to fashion week shows and found the audience that wanted to read about her opinions of fashion and culture. I write this blog still seeking my audience (lol). She now also has one other accolade – she is the youngest guest ever on “The Colbert Report”. I would not even be able to get “The Colbert Report” to even read an e-mail, much less read (or know about) my blog! At 15, she was a speaker and made a presentation for TED Talks.

Trace just graduated from university having studied to be a teacher and Shelby is in university now studying to be a speech pathologist. Both are pursuing careers that that will share their talents and HELP others!  I really am proud of them and have a great admiration for what they are doing with their lives. I also know it is not just my nephew and niece – it is their generation. I look forward to this generation “running” the country! 

Blogging is not free!  Help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/scott-maloney-tennessee-t_n_2535785.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=1652408,b=facebook

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/jacob-rudolph-gay-teen-class-actor-comes-out-ceremony_n_2535565.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=1652408,b=facebook

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/423208/january-24-2013/tavi-gevinson?xrs=share_copy

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding THAT Connection

Sometimes most all of us would benefit from a good whack in the head to be reminded that we need more perspective in our lives! Lazaro 8The whack that just caught me upside my head was Lazaro Arbos and his American Idol audition. Lazaro, a 21 year-old ice cream scooper from Florida, has had a stutter since age 6 that has deeply impacted his life. I cannot imagine the courage it took for this brave young man, with a pretty severe stutter, to sit in front of television cameras and share his story. By the end of the audition he had tears of joy dripping from his chin – and so did I.

What an indomitable spirit he must have! His family immigrated to Florida from Cuba when he was 10 years-old Lazaro 16and his parents still speak Spanish. This would make me guess that he learned English well after the stuttering began and is now bilingual. Reared all of my live in the United States, at 40 I immigrated to Colombia, South America, and have had GREAT difficulty learning the local language of Spanish and I do not have a stutter to overcome. This young man has whacked me in the head reminding me I have to stop making excuses and learn Spanish or this inspirational moment will have been wasted.

At one point he says – things that “normal” people would think are so easy becomes so hard for him. I do not doubt that a lot of things are more Lazaro 7difficult for him, but I hope he misspoke using the term “normal” people in a way that could exclude him from being “normal”. My brief moment of sympathy was quickly followed by shock. This guy that just inspired not only me but thousands, does he feel he is not “normal”? Watching it the first time, I just wanted to give him a big hug. Watching it again, I wanted to shake him and say, “NEVER feel you are not ‘normal’!” But the confidence, courage, strength and intelligence he must posses to be bilingual while having a stutter and giving such a heartfelt performance convinces me, and I hope, he just misspoke.

I am such an easy target for a story like his because I have a real empathy for his situation. I had hearing difficulties as a lazaro 14child and out of a necessity created my own language. It was actually the official language of the little world I lived in – within my own little head. Lazaro’s mother Gisela says she often had to speak for him. My little world also had a translator, my older sister Darlene. People would listen to me jabber on and on (one thing that has not changed about me), not understanding a word, then ask Darlene, “What did he say?” Then she would relay my message perfectly in English. She was really the only one that truly understood me, having to also translate for Mom and Dad at times! At age five, I began to learn to speak English, the language of the people in my new world. I no longer had to live in my isolated world and began to FEEL more and more connected to this much bigger world outside my little head.

My translator Darlene & Me

My translator Darlene & Me

Acting as my translator, Darlene and I built a unique bond. Now we are adults, we often argue and fight. In thinking about this I have come to a realization why – I struggle wanting her to understand me to help translate who I am to a part of the world that does not understand me – my family! Our rifts are about religion, politics, as well as lifestyle. While she and my family remain very religious, conservative, and content; I, on the other hand lost my religion, tend to be liberal (I really think I am what they now call a Progressive), I am openly gay and live what I have convinced myself is an adventurous life given the constraints of a life dealing with limitations because of Multiple Sclerosis. So I try and hope for her to understand me so that she can translate so I can feel a connection with my family again. We do make real effort, but for now… I am still jabbering on and on in my own language and feel I NEED that ONE person that understands me to help the world (outside of my little head) understand me!

Seeing this video surprised me because I felt I was witnessing Lazaro’s moment, the moment he found “MUSIC” was his translator and people beyond his Lazarofamily could understand and connect with the world he has been isolated in for so long.  He found his Darlene!  I think he FEELS he has connected; others see, feel, and understand his world a little more. Not only is music his translator – he sees that it is an APPRECIATED talent. He has found some of the respect he has craved and deserves.  Feeling this connection has to be incredible! He has been actualized as a member of the bigger world. The talent that until now has been comfort in his isolated world can now be shared – WORLD, MEET LAZARO!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/american-idol-lazaro-arbo-stutter-video_n_2501225.html?ncid=webmail19

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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