Photo from the Bill Gates Foundation
My 9-year-old son is obsessed with would you rather scenarios and a few days ago, he posed his latest question to me: “Would you rather me fail most of my subjects but be a really nice kid who always helps others or be a straight-A student who wasn’t very nice to people?”
Of course, I let him know that I always want him to be the nice kid who helps others but that doesn’t mean he can’t also try his best in school, too. Over the years, my husband and I have spent a lot of time teaching our kids that helping others is not only the right thing to do but will make them feel good about themselves, too. There are few things in life as satisfying as helping someone less fortunate than you by giving your time, energy or money to make a difference.
Few other public figures embody this ideal better than Bill Gates. When we talk about heroes in our house, we talk about people like Bill and Melinda Gates and how they’ve used their wealth and fame to save the most vulnerable of lives in developing countries.
A couple of days ago, Gates, who never graduated college, shared an inspiring message for the class of 2017 that should be required reading for teens of all ages, no matter where they are in their schooling. In it, he writes about the three fields he would go into today if he were a freshly minted college grad. He also writes about how seeing inequality first-hand in Africa forever changed the course of his life. And he shares an amazing motto to live by: “Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and push you to be your best self.”
Read the full piece here and make sure to share it with every teen you love.