The March to Maturity

BCS - College March 2017.jpg

Recently, I had the opportunity to give words of encouragement and inspiration to 70+ high school students from Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies as part of their Outward Bound College March

Whether you are a student preparing for your future, an employee hoping for a promotion or a parent plodding forward, I trust these words will help you keep marching on.

First, I want you to know how proud I am of all of you.  You are on your way, we trust, to grabbing something that many can never reach. Maybe this is a first in your family, maybe you never thought you'd be here or even imagined that college could be a reality, but here you are.

There is so much I want to say but, just here are just a few thoughts to encourage you as you step up and out on this march to maturity. You are going to get lots of advice as you move out and move on, but I hope these words will help you decide what voices to give your ears to.

You see..

Some will say, Be Flashy, but I tell you, Be Faithful

Everyone wants their name in lights but the faithful are there to clean up when the show is over and life goes on. Everyone wants to be the rock star, but few want to practice for the concert.
The faithful keep going even when no one is watching, hyping, hearting or liking.
Marching to maturity is about being known not for what you have, or what you look like, what you wear, but for who you are becoming.  Maturity is learning to think substance over style.
In life. you're unforgettable not when you are flashy, but when you keep showing up.

Some will say, Be Comfortable but I tell you, Be Bold

Put yourself out there. Stand up for yourself.  Advocate for yourself, because others might not.
Stand up for others because you would want the same done for you. Stand up for what’s right.  If you see something wrong take it on yourself to make it right, to make it better.  The problems in our country and our world won’t change by us being safe.  Change is uncomfortable because it's often about taking risks and chances, learning about yourself, even as you fail and learn what you don't know, but you'll be better for it.  Moving to maturity is not about being safe and passive but about stepping out and stepping up.

Some will tell you, Be Boss, Man Up, Woman Up but I tell you, Be Humble

Hear me, you don’t need to be strong all the time. You don't have to be OK all the time.  It's OK to not be OK. You don’t need to be right all the time. You won’t have to have all the answers.  If you pretend to be OK, all that and all together all the time, you make it hard for people to help you.  Let people help you, let people love you.  You see, the smartest people ask the most questions and ask for help.  It's not stupid to ask for help, it's not weak to be vulnerable, it's called growing up.

Some will tell you, Be About Me but I tell you, Be About We

People are going to tell you get yours, but a better community, a better campus, a better family starts when we say, "How can we get OURS?"
This means learning and growing to be the friend you want to have, the leader you wished you'd had, the neighbor you want others to be.  Be the better you for the sake of others and everyone gets better. Don't just think about the future you want to have, think about the one you want everyone to have and how you can help us all get there.  Don't think about your dreams at the expense of others, think about your dreams for the sake of others and we're all winning.

Today, we celebrate with you and know that so we wouldn't be here without the support of your classmates, teachers, parents, relatives and friends. This day, is the celebration of a community working so we can all get better together.

My invitation to you today, on this march to maturity is to be faithful, bold, humble and about we. And when we step out and lift each other up, hold each other accountable, encourage and go all in together with these things, we all win.