09/17/11 — What it takes: Deciding to make a life for yourself takes maturity and responsibility

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What it takes: Deciding to make a life for yourself takes maturity and responsibility

This message is for every single student in the Wayne County Public Schools.

It applies to blacks, whites, Hispanics and students who are from any other race or ethnic group.

It does not matter if you are rich, poor or middle class -- its principles are universal.

It does not change with circumstance or poverty line. It is not affected by programs offered in your school or where your school is located.

Even your teacher cannot change this fact.

This piece of wisdom has been handed down from generation to generation -- and has been proven correct each time it changes hands.

And, even though you have probably already heard it from your parents or other adult mentor you trust, until you yourself embrace it, it is just another set of words.

Here it is: You make the life you choose to lead and you and you alone can change the course of that life.

Simple words, yes. But not so easy to apply.

So let's translate: You control your future.

Your parents can nag until they are blue in the face. Your teachers can threaten you with all the bad grades they want.

If you choose to ignore the chance to get an education and to explore the possibilities for your future, there is nothing anyone can do to make you change the course of that future.

If you goof off in class, skip school or get involved in activities you know make you a candidate for suspension or expulsion, you will not live up to your potential or enjoy the possibilities for your life.

If you accept the excuse that your options are limited, they will be. If you allow others to tell you what to think and what decisions to make or to make excuses when you know you can do better, you are limiting your choices later.

If you listen to your "posse" and ignore the wise counsel of your elders, you will make mistakes that will take years to undo.

So, in the end, it really is up to you to find the life you want and to do the work necessary to achieve it.

Generations of young people have heard the words "life is not easy; no one is going to hand you success or a future." And that is one of the truest statements you will ever hear.

Making the decision now to ignore the naysayers, the excuse-makers and the bad influences and to be your own person with a goal and the determination to get there is the way you achieve.

You and you alone determine your destiny.

No matter what anyone else tells you.

So choose, today, to make that future a bright one.

Published in Editorials on September 17, 2011 11:25 PM