Not just for kids

I finally had a moment to look at the “controversial” speech President Obama made to returning students. Scary stuff? Not exactly. Timeless would be more like it. What struck me is how much of what he said could be really useful for adults too. In fact, I wish I could tatoo some of these excerpts (with my comments in bold) on the hearts and minds of all the former offenders I work with, because well, take a look for yourself:

I want to start with the responsibility you have for yourself . Every one of you has something you’re good at. Every one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourselves to discover what it is. (YES!)

Where you are right now doesn’t determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America you write your own destiny. You make your own future. (Now believe it!)
Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowlings first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before it was published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed.” (See?)
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave…. (Hear, hear!)

And while we’re on the subject of school, word just in that authorities in Virginia have reversed their ban on books for prisoners.  Another big YEAH! Check it out in tomorrow’s Post.


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Filed under education ex-offenders, President Barack Obama

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