As we approach Election Day, I am inclined to consider the last 52 years that my family and I have spent living and dreaming the American experience. There have been difficult years, challenging years and in all, I have always learned a great deal about the world and about myself.
At the time, I wrote a leadership lesson from 50 individuals who made an impression on my life and I gained from their influence. I have had a few notes from folks who read those initial posts on social media from 2018 in celebration of the first 50 years asking if I would publish the collection. A very flattering thought and I am grateful for that encouragement.
Every Monday for the next year, I will post one of those years (chronologically, unlike the initial posts). I am re-visiting each year and making a few edits to add to the leadership lesson garnered from that influential individual of that year. And I will end with three new lessons for 2019, 2020 and in great anticipation, 2021.
I am not forgoing my 40 Summers and 40 Lessons from my service to youth; I am just adding in for my readers this additional series. Look for those posts to continue and the every Monday post about my grateful life in these United States.
Below is the excerpt I wrote back in winter 2018.
"On July 24 (2018) this year (also my birthday) I as well as my sister, Jackie, and my parents will have been in the United States 50 years. Yes, we came to the US on my 4th birthday from Brasil. That’s just 18,262 days that my family and I have been a part of this American experience.
I feel like I want to say so much about this. Our family came here as part of the South American migration in the late sixties for the promise of opportunity. My parents rarely talk about the process they went through. My mother said that the entire decision making conversation was my father came home and said that there were jobs in America. She told him, I’ll go where you are.
438,288 hours in the US. Okay, I have been to other countries for short vacations. But most of that to me was spent living, leading, in school, in work, in camp and in so many more ways, living."
This year (in regard to the election) I hope you consider the times and the desperate need for servant leadership. I ask that you educate yourself on these matters and VOTE for a candidate that inspires you in a way that John F. Kennedy once articulated, 'Ask not what your county can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." And know that what Ronald Reagan said in 1984 that we have the opportunity to say it is in fact, "morning again in America."
A wise man once said, "Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks..."
I know I will vote this year.