When looking for why, for inspiration, for an education in life, many times you need look no further than your own backyard. Simply listen to those experiencing new life every day…your children.
Last evening, my daughter Sophie, along with about 40 of her classmates, (8th grade), hosted an induction ceremony for the newest members of the National Junior Honor Society. Sophie and company are the current members of this group and a few of them got up to present speeches on Scholarship (Cali Platt), Citizenship (Jordyn Davidson), Character (Emily Krueger), Service (Morgan Hoffman) and finally, Leadership. Sophie is the leader, she is currently the President of the National Junior Honor Society. Below is the text of her speech, because as I said, many times we need only listen to our children to learn much about life:
Good evening. My name is Sophie Brodinsky and I am President of the National Junior Honor Society this year. The red candle I just lit represents leadership. A quote that I found reads, “Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” I picked this quote because I think it embodies what a leader should strive for. A leader should always be setting goals not only for themselves, but also for others, a leader should strive for the benefit of the group, and a leader can’t be a leader without somebody to lead.
Entering into the Society in the beginning of the year I decided to run for President. I wanted to see the potential in all of my peers and wanted to be the one to encourage them. I already knew that everybody in that room was capable, but not everybody is always willing. That is where leadership plays a role. The leader is the person who helps guide the group, but not what makes the group. To be a leader you must know the fine line between confidence and cockiness, you must be able to influence your peers without forcing them. Leadership is a characteristic that should be honored, but not held above others. An organization called BBYO has taught me a very important fact about leadership. A team is only successful when they are a line, not a ladder. This couldn’t be more true.
People must work together to be more effective. Now this is an important thing for the new members joining tonight, in this society we are one force. There will be leaders, but a good leader will be driving that force from behind. And new members, this quote by Nelson Mandela is for you: “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory.” This means that when you accomplish something next year know that you did it together and that it was a group effort. A true leader will take pride in seeing people proud of themselves, because as I said before, a leader pushes for potential and when they see potential the are the ones who are fulfilled.
To say I am fulfilled listening to Sophie’s speech and the speeches of the other students, all written without parental input or supervision, is an understatement. In just about a week these Society members and the rest of the 8th grade students will graduate, enjoy their summer and then head into the next grand adventure in their lives… high school.
Best of luck to every single one. Find your why, your way and live life to the fullest. Be the leaders who help change the world.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services
#1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
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