Today I watched The Tale of Despereaux, a movie adapted from the book by Kate DiCamillo. The movie chronicles the the adolescence of Despereaux, a brave little mouse in search of adventure and harmony between disparate parties. He is someone who does not want to be defined by others, regardless of the consequences for being who is naturally born to be.
Very early on in the movie, there is a line that really struck a cord with me: "A hero shows up when the world really needs one." I can think of no better time than now for heroes to rise up and be counted. The world has some very large problems today - far larger than I think we even know. And these problems are in every city and town, of every variety and every magnitude. No matter what contribution you would like to make to the world, in whatever field you choose, wherever you live, there is a way to make an enormous difference if only we have the courage to put ourselves out there and the desire to be responsible and accountable.
Thomas Friedman gave the commencement speech at RPI in 2007. Recognizing the desire and energy of young graduates to have an impact on their communities, he threw down the gauntlet to them in no uncertain terms. "If it’s not happening, it’s because you’re not doing it,” he said. “There is no one else in the way." Technology has vastly our ability to communicate and influence with ease if we have a convincing, passionate story. It's easier to be a hero today than it has been at any other time in history if only we see ourselves in this light.