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Column: A child reminds us to make world more awesome


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This was a momentous week for me. I had the extraordinary honor to serve as the guest speaker at the Columbus East High School National Honor Society induction ceremony.

I was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated from East in 2000, so it really meant a lot that I was asked to speak. It seems impossible that it has been 14 years since I graduated from high school.

As I have in every other stage of my life, I rushed through high school. The only thought in my mind was that it would be forever until college. In college, I wanted to hurry up and graduate so I could get a job.

I’ve written in past columns about my inability to live in the moment. It seems that patience is a skill I will spend a lifetime trying to attain.

While preparing for my speech, I took time to learn a bit about the National Honor Society. I was a member, but I honestly couldn’t remember the specifics of the organization.

According to its website, www.nhs.us, the National Honor Society recognizes outstanding high school students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership service and character. NHS was founded in 1921 and has chapters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, many U.S. territories and Canada.

The organization has an impressive list of members, including Gerald Ford, Elizabeth Dole, Katie Couric and Meryl Streep.

NHA lists four main purposes on its website: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.”

I applaud all Columbus students who are involved with the National Honor Society. I hope you will join me in celebrating these future leaders.

The inspiration for my induction ceremony speech came from a video titled “Kid President’s Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here.” I even showed the video as part of my remarks Wednesday night. While the topic might seem elementary, I think we would all be better people if we followed the advice of Kid President.

In his letter to a person on their first day on Earth, Kid President introduces his would-be infant audience members to the concepts of laughter, dancing, high-fives and “brain pictures.”

“Pay attention. Take brain pictures, because amazing things will happen every day. You’re going to do so much. But it’s not about what you do. It’s about who you are.”

Kid President also explains that life isn’t always easy: “Some days gross things will happen. Some days awesome things will happen. Some days you’ll get ice cream. Some days you won’t. Some days your kite will fly high. Some days it gets stuck in a tree. That’s just how it is here.”

If you aren’t yet a fan of Kid President, stop what you are doing (after you finish my column) and go to kidpresident.com. You will be blown away by the brilliance of 11-year-old Robby Novac (Kid President). His words cut straight to the heart. His mix of humor, sincerity and kindness makes my heart smile.

If you like his videos, you will love him even more knowing that he is an inspiration through incredible pain. Robby has osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone condition that has resulted in his having more than 70 breaks since birth. Robby not only survives, he dances.

Here are just a few of my favorite lines from Kid President videos:

“Give people high-fives just for getting out of bed. Being a person is hard sometimes.”

“If it doesn’t make the world better, don’t do it.”

“Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you’re all grown up.”

“Life needs you to stop being boring.”

“Make the world more awesome!”

I will end my column as I ended my speech, with the words of Kid President: “For now, remember this: You’re awake. You’re awesome. Live like it.”

Paige Harden Langenderfer is a resident of Columbus. She is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She can be reached by email at langenderferpaige@gmail.com.

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