My intern, Brittney Bash, a junior at Cincinnati Country Day School is so wise beyond her years. In this post she shares her own, very personal meaning of the words courage, confidence and candor.
I’m one person out of 4,404,625,370 in the world, a single face among the masses. I am young, indecisive. I can be stubborn, snippy, and sassy. Life throws me opportunities and sometimes I can’t catch them. Too often I find my beliefs being swayed, like branches in the breeze, by those around me because I have yet to plant my own roots. It can be hard for people to establish a solid foundation for their morals, I believe this is because we have a seeming incapability to feel the same way on topics when we are constantly experiencing new things that have the ability to change how we feel. However, I also believe that once we look inside ourselves to at least try and find what matters to us, we will know what personal values hold steady in our hearts and benefit from incorporating those values into our lives. There are three traits about myself that I absolutely know are important to me and that I search for in others.
Courage is a value of utmost importance to me. Fear is humankind’s most prevalent and powerful obstacle. We fear everything, and there will never come a day when we are truly fearless. The only fear that we have any hope of squandering is the fear of ourselves. By acknowledging one’s worries and weaknesses we have the capability to discover our passions and strengths. Unfortunately, too many of us fear the acceptance of the idea that we are not perfect, and that fear entangles itself into every situation. Once we obtain that mentality of perfection being unachievable we can let go of our shortcomings and focus on the things that make us incredible. It takes a lot of courage to do even little tasks such as admitting when you are wrong, and following your heart. Fear is like shadows, every object has one and even in the light, a certain angle can enhance it, making the shadow (something nonexistent) seem bigger than the object itself. I strive everyday to stand up for what I believe in, even if it means I stand alone. Humans are creatures of constancy and any sort of change evokes an uneasiness within them. Due to this fact I never allow myself to fall into any situation that is too comfortable or easy. By pushing my limits I push myself to experience life in its rawest, truest form.
Confidence is the trend that never goes out of style and looks good on everyone, but it takes hard work to maintain a positive self-image. It takes self-affection and self-reflection. It’s a common occurrence, yet we let others define our own greatness. We crave opinions about ourselves from those around us because we want to know that someone sees goodness in us or to use their criticism as an excuse to believe we will never be “good enough”. Truth be told, we will always have a false perception of who we truly are as individuals as long as we let other people instill in us who they think we are. Instead of fighting for acceptance from others, I fight for my own self-acceptance. Once we free ourselves from the confines and expectations of those around us we can become independent thinkers and will no longer need to rely on their approval.
Life is a precious thing to me, there are so many aspirations and dreams that I have but I realize that the most fun and fulfillment come from the journey. My life is a stream of candid moments, jamming out in the car with my sister, dramatically missing balls at lacrosse practice, and joking around with all of my friends. I’m not graceful, and there are a lot of things that I’m just not very good at, but I live life for the experiences. My quirky personality encompasses both my courage and confidence. I believe that I am my best self when I’m surrounded by various different personalities and get along with all of them. I dance in the rain, I stray from trodden paths, and I climb on my roof to watch the sky. I battle with my fears and I sometimes have to remember its okay to dress down in public. I have high standards and goals and sometimes it hard to not feel discouraged or beaten down when I don’t reach them. Disappointment is a part of life and even if I’m unable to predict my future, at least I can rely on the certainty of my values and morals, which will always remain steadfast in my heart.
CINspirational People is a feature of Good Things Going Around profiling diverse people of Greater Cincinnati, what inspires them, and what is inspiring about them. You can read more profiles by clicking on the link at the top of the blog. Do you know someone to suggest? Please reach out. Thanks!
Meet a very special young man whose dedication to his classwork, positive outlook on life, and goodwill to others has not gone unnoticed. Dior Betts, son of proud parents Ericka King-Betts and Darrell Betts Jr., is his class’ first Student of the Week this year.
From his words:
“Hi! My name is Dior Betts. I have 3 brothers named Simeon, Aaron and Darren. I have a pet dog named Naina and she is a two year old Yorkie. My favorite food is pizza. My favorite snack is Cinnamon Rolls and my favorite color is blue. Lastly, my favorite thing about summer and winter is cruising in the summer and partying in the winter.”
From his teacher:
“Dior was chosen this week as student of the week for his positive attitude and hard work. Dior comes in each day ready to learn. He is also always willing to help those around him and is a great role model at Colerain Elementary.”
Way to go Dior!
NOTE: I also heard that Dior’s brother, Simeon, was named Athlete of the Week. Congratulations to him as well!
I am so very proud of Andrea Francisco, a recent Indian Hill High School graduate who has been interning with me this school year; and I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know her and all of her abilities. She is no doubt going to be going on to great things. Before then she took a few minutes to share how the experience has helped her grow.
written by Andrea Francisco
Over the past year, I have learned some important lessons on life that I want to share with you all. From my experience writing at Good Things Going Around to having a blast finishing my fourteenth year at the Indian Hill, I have had a wonderful year, perhaps my best yet, with many lessons learned along the way.
Being Grateful and the Importance of Giving Back
In the past, I always took all of my blessings for granted, and never fully appreciated the scope of how lucky I am. I live in a free country, go to an excellent school, and have little hardships compared to others. However, this does not mean that I should sit back and relax: because I have been given so much, I believe that I should give back even more. This sounded overwhelming to me at first, but I am now convinced that this is the meaning of life: to lift up and help others. Also, I am inspired by this quote from the French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “When you give yourself, you receive more than you give.” In other words, when you give back to others even a little bit, the joy you have inspired in them will be reflected back to you, and you will have more joy than what you started out with.
Being Joyful and Sharing With Others
The power of sharing stories and experiences with others is that it is incredibly moving; just think about the countless lives that are touched everyday by the stories in Good Things Going Around alone. Without sharing, we would be unable to connect with each other, particularly strangers whom we might be tempted to judge, in meaningful ways. Sharing improves trust and understanding between different and sometimes conflicting groups or individuals. Furthermore, I have learned that it is important to be joyful in sharing, as that joy can touch the lives of others in ways I can’t imagine. I have found that the saying “Be the change you want to see in the world” is really true, because when I am more joyful the people around me tend to be the same. For instance, I notice that when I smile around others they tend to smile back also. It’s incredibly empowering to think that if I choose so, I can influence the people around me to be joyful if I show joyfulness myself.
Balancing Life and Prioritizing
The art of balancing life is an important lesson that I have learned this year, as it is the first year in my young adult life I have felt truly balanced. Some years I would be lazier and procrastinate, while other years I would spend too much time studying and working. However, this year I have found a happy medium between the work-life balance, and part of this is because I learned to spend more time working on the things that make me more happy and fulfilled. Yes, school and work are important, and you should work hard, but always remember to find time to do the things that make you happy. In my case this includes helping others, exercising, writing, making art, cooking, and spending time with friends.
People are Truly Amazing
I am actually shocked at how amazing people are! I never knew the world had so many talented, happy, and strong people, especially in the greater Cincinnati area, previous to starting my internship at Good Things Going Around. The ReelAbilities Film festival was definitely the pinnacle of the newfound amazement I have for people with disabilities. Watching the different film trailers made me laugh and cry, and allowed me to connect with people that have disabilities in ways I never imagined. I saw the film called “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”, a drama film about a boy with autism, Ricky, who lives in Queens and hides in the subway with Hurricane Sandy approaching, all while his family desperately searches for him. In addition, the photography work done by Rick Guidotti in his program Positive Exposure, which exposed the true beauty of those with genetic, physical, and behavioral differences, such as albinism or autism, was a real eye-opener. I don’t know a lot of people with these kinds of differences personally, so being able to see how beautiful they are in reality rather than how society tells us to think of them is really enlightening. It’s made me really realize that just because someone looks or acts different from most people does not make them inadequate or inferior, as society might lead us to think. I once heard a quote about autism from Paul Collins saying, “Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.” I think this can also apply to anyone that is different in some way. It teaches society that we need to stop trying to mold everyone into perfect round pegs, and instead let people be as they are, imperfect, but still striving to do their best, which is all that matters.
The transition for children to a brand new school often comes with many challenges. For Innocent Ntwali, a Rwandan refugee, those challenges were even greater. On his first day at Winton Woods Elementary School in Cincinnati he spoke not a word of English.
This past year his hard work and conduct in school have earned him the Kiwanis Character is Key Award for Fairness. “Through his year and a half at Winton Woods Elementary School, he has grown in so many ways by assimilating into the culture, learning the English language and becoming friends with his classmates,” said Principal Kendell Dorsey.
“Innocent never thinks about himself first,” said his reading teacher Lois Minton. “He always wants what is right for the group or the situation.” Physical Education Teacher Sheri Conrad, who is in charge of the school’s Sprinter’s Club, agrees. “In Sprinter’s, Innocence never cuts corners. He always runs the course the way he is supposed to. He leads by example every day and does not even know it,” she said.
“He is the epitome of good character,” Dorsey added. “Innocent is kind, smart and always willing to lend a helping hand. He is constantly challenging himself to be better.”
Photo: Winton Woods fourth grader Innocence Ntwali listens as Superintendent Anthony G. Smith reads Innocence’ recommendation for the Award. Photo by Teresa Cleary.
Please watch this video learn more about Robert McMurray, this year’s honoree.