(NOTE: Participation in this thread is voluntary.)
We stand at a tipping point in history.
The first hour of 2009 will dawn. The ball will drop in New York. We’ll make resolutions we’ll keep and resolutions we’ll discard. And at 12:01am, nothing will look different. We’ll keep marching forward, perfectly paced with time, and our lives will seem the same at 12:02am as they did at 11:59pm.
But a new year represents a symbolic time for renewal, for reflection, for change. Even if nothing looks different, we know the time has come for each of us to make a difference.
I once asked you to consider the good you do in this world. I also asked you to consider the ways you affected others – your friends, your peers, your teachers. I even asked you to contemplate a world that no longer contained you – a world after your death – and to imagine how those who survived you would move forward.
I did this because I wanted to underscore a simple message: You are not irrelevant. You are not obscure. You matter – not just to me, but to a whole chain of others who’ve become linked to you. Even those of you who believe you wouldn’t be missed know, at your core, that you would.
But why is that message important?
We completed a year that will be remembered. Most years – say, 2002 – fade into obscurity rather quickly. 2008 will not be one of those years.
No, I can say with the utmost confidence that we’ll remember 2008. However, why we remember it, and what we remember, will ultimately be up to you and your peers.
You are coming of age at a time that’s ripe for heroism and charity, the type of age that gives rise to figures whose names and faces live on in our books and memories. A world of six billion is crying out for new leaders, for fresh thinking, for bold action.
The time for living passively has passed. The world will demand more of your generation. It will demand that you raise your children well, and that you honor your elders well enough to support them when they need you. It will demand that you teach, that you serve, that you sacrifice. It will demand that you remember your past even as you move us into a new future, a new age that improves upon the one before it.
I asked you to consider questions about your impact on your world in order to make you understand not only my main message (i.e., you matter), but the greater significance of it:
You will not have the false luxury of living an obscure life.
History will remember your generation’s names, one way or another; this is the year you begin to make sure it remembers them with pride.
That is my resolution: To make a difference worth remembering, not just in the lives of my students, but in the lives of others. I haven’t done community service in years; I don’t consistently contact my friends or family; I haven’t visited my alma mater in a year.
This has to change.
I resolve to grow as a professional and a person. I will expand my world, and I will make a difference in it – because the time demands it, and the time is right.
So Happy New Year, Searchers; I hope the months and years to come will smile on you, and that you'll smile back.
If you'd like to share your resolutions for 2009 - or what we should learn from 2008, especially with respect to human potential - feel free to do so!
No big change has happened to me beside the typical SAT preparation and schoolwork, but I really saw some big difference in the world around me and it made me believe the idea that love can concur all. As many of people know May 12 2008 2:28 pm was a memorable moment that many Chinese people will remember for the rest of their lives, because the 8.0 earthquake changed many families in Sichuan. Many parents lost their children under the falling ashes and many kids became orphans. Many people around the world give their love to the victims in the earthquake, and faced the hardship with the Chinese people. Countries including the U.S donated their money, and sent their own people to save the victims. A few days after, the Chinese governments stopped all entertainment in the country and told the people to put all their energy into the Sichuan. I feel touched at that moment; because I used to think that many people only really care about themselves but after the earthquake happened many people around the world decided to help someone whom they have probably never met before. They are able to give their love to strangers who are in danger, and some people even went into Sichuan as the aftershock were still going on to save the victims buried under the ashes. I feel truly moved at that moment, and it made me look at the world slightly different. It made me believe love in this world again, and I saw warmth of hope in the world after this incident. When I saw many victims are able to stand up to this hardship again because of this love, I feel inspired to live my life bravely and motivated to not be scared of any hardships that I might face in the future because I have seen this stream of love in the world that can make everyone of us strong.
2009 will be an exciting year for me; because I will leave this town that I lived for four years and move on to a new place. I do not know where I am going yet, but I know that my life will be completely different in September. I cannot say that I am very independent as of today, but one of my New Year resolutions is to gain true independence as a person. I am turning eighteen this September, and I know many things that I will face would force me to be mature. I will need to face the reality of supporting myself in life, because I cannot rely on my parents much longer. My parent still worries for me many times, because I am not very good at organizing my own life at many times. They are afraid that I cannot survive college, because college requires a person to be independent and be responsible for his own life. I still have nine month to prepare for that independence, so my new resolution is not only as simple as getting into a good college but to prepare myself for the new chapter of my life by being more mature and learning true independence in life.
Happy New Year Everyone and I hope that all your New Year resolutions come true.
Yay! Happy New Year Everyone! I just turned 18 at the stroke of midnight on New Years. Its so weird that I'm now 18 and I'm going to make this year the most meaningful not only to me but for others as well!
Happy New Years GUYS ! It's 2009 and that means its our time for real now. We only have a couple more months until this chapter of our lives is over. As June draws closer, the more and more our lives are going to changed and different.
2008 is over and it is time for the OH NINES ! Lets all make the best of this year, because for us it really is not going to be like any other year.