I was recently watching a HBO documentary series called The Weight of The Nation:Kabreeya’s Salad Days and this episode in particular was about a young lady striving to make a difference in her community by promoting a healthier diet in her school. The determination of this young lady was nothing short of remarkable. She is a part of a family that suffers from obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. She’s seen her mother have to undergo a gastric bybass surgery and her little brother is already nearing 200 pounds at age 8. It seemed that she lived in an impoverished area where no one in charge seemed to care about what the community ate. Her school served unhealthy food and rejected Kebreeya’s proposal of a salad bar.
What impressed me was that Kebreeya was an activist and already knew at a young age that anything she wanted to do was possible. How many of us can say that we truly believe in our capabilities, even as adults? Many suffer from an I-can’t-do-it attitude, including me. This holds us back far more than what we realize. Somewhere along our young lives, someone told us that we couldn’t do something we wanted to accomplish, whether it was becoming an astronaut to not being allowed to explore the woods in the back of our yards. At that moment, something dies inside of us and the I-can’t-do-it pathology takes over. How many leaders, innovators, teachers, and activists die at this moment? It is strongest in the poor areas, the hoods, and the ghettos were everywhere these children look there are people and actions telling them they can’t.
It is up to us as adults, parents, and leaders to show kids that they can-do-it, whatever “it” may be. Most importantly we need to be able to tell ourselves the same.