This I Believe

Josh - Manchester, Missouri
Entered on May 10, 2007

These are troubled times. The most troubling are the stereotypes placed on people. They get so caught up in trying to fit an image that they get stuck in the present. As the Youth Governor of the State of Missouri and as a leader in my community, I cannot afford to get caught in the present. I must constantly look forward.

I believe in vision. Not the vision that comes with the blessing of eyesight, for that’s too simple and restricted to the “here and now” of life. No, what I speak of is the “gift” of vision, for it’s not something that everyone has, but it’s something everyone can get. This that I speak of is the ability to stand alone, with a view of the future; of what things can be. For instance, I believe we can have a politico of honesty, true civil service, and honor.

People don’t take kindly to change. Fredrick Douglas once said that “If there is no struggle there can be no change,” and such could not be more evident in such movements as those for Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights, and the independence of our nation. Vision is the ability to constantly be displeased with the present, and continuously work for a better future.

Now that’s not always easy. There have been many times when I have stood alone. As the Youth Governor, I have proposed changes that have met stiff opposition. Not opposition toward me, but toward change. It’s been hard to remain strong for myself, however the goal is a brighter day, and, to me, that’s worth fighting for.

But you don’t always stand alone as an individual with a vision. A group with a vision is just as powerful. When I was in middle school, as class president, the Student Council executive board and I wanted to bring Hats On For Kids Fighting Cancer to our school, something that hadn’t been allowed due to the school’s no hat policy. We knew it was a long shot, but we saw what things could be, and conveyed that vision to the administration. The next year came our first Hats On For Kids Fighting Cancer day.

That’s vision.

Vision is essential to my future. It lets me see my life’s direction—it lets me see myself giving the State of the State Address to the people of Missouri, or sitting with my wife and kids in the Oval Office—and seeing that direction, I begin to get a glimpse of my life’s purpose, which sustains my faith in a brighter day.

My vision dictates my actions, my thoughts, and my words; it provides direction for others to confide in and gives them faith in the future that we can attain.

I am a leader, and a leader who wants the best for those around me. Therefore, I believe in vision. Because without vision, there can be no progress. Without progress, there can be no change. And without change, there is no future. This, I believe.