“Be The Best Of Whatever You Are”

I’ve been a volunteer advisor  a program called YMCA Youth and Government : Mock Legislature and Court for 3 years now. It’s basically a program designed to allow high schoolers (3,000 of them) to train in numerous legislative/court positions and then take over Sacramento for a week. I was a delegate when I was in high school, and got to experience what it would be like to be a Committee Chair, Lobbyist, and got chosen to be a Governor’s Lobbyist my senior year of high school.

Y&G is an AMAZING program that allows teens to learn about our state government, as well as create lasting friendships with students from all over the state of California. I’ve seen these youth first-hand grow into fantastic, smart, enthusiastic, and passionate individuals.  This program really does something to you. Teens get the chance to voice their opinions without judgement, come out of their shells, debate bills, run for political positions, lobby for bills, and hold elected positions.Once you’ve experienced Y&G, you will never forget it. Hence, why I willingly give my time to this program as a volunteer advisor for numerous years.

We just had our second Training and Elections conference past weekend in Paso Robles on the army base Camp Roberts. While in Joint Session where all the delegations sit together under one roof, one of the elected student chaplains read a speech by the influential MLK Jr.

So in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan 21), I would like to share his speech with you:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great essayist, said in a lecture in 1871, “If a man can write a better book or preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

This hasn’t always been true — but it will become increasingly true, and so I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don’t drop out of school. I understand all the sociological reasons, but I urge you that in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you’re forced to live in — stay in school.

And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.

Be the best you can be – No matter what circumstance. If you can hold your head high and give it all you have, that’s what truly matters. SWEEP THOSE STREETS LIKE NO ONE ELSE!


2012 South Pasadena San Marino YMCA Delegation
2012 South Pasadena San Marino YMCA Delegation

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