Monday, October 22, 2012

I'd like to recognize: A Daniel in Babylon

I will forever be a huge fan of Daniel: the one who lived in Babylon and left his mark on history there, as the young man with the Big God. From time to time, I like to recognize Daniels I meet in our modern day Babylon.  Today I honor Nicole Kim, a sixteen year old exemplar, not just to her peers but to anyone watching.

She sent an application to TED. I wanted to post it for you to read.  She shines brightly in her foggy ocean-side world.  When I read this, I was moved to see her standing up and standing out. Most people her age don't. Most people don't.

Here's what she wrote:

Q:  In the length of a tweet, tell how you’d change the world.

I believe the smallest things make the biggest differences. To change the world, I strive to spread the contagion that is joy, love, & hope.

Q:  What would you give a TED talk on?

I'd share about the importance of being set apart.
As in being an individual with an identity. Not as in the be yourself, saccharine, quote-saturated-clich̩-dropping mantra that tends to grow dull and hackneyed in our ears and minds. Not a story of the girl who leaps from the grey world to a pink one and lives happily ever after, but a story of my commitment to raise a standard. To raise a standard; to not settle on "what everyone else is doing." What sets me apart is my unwillingness to give into the ubiquity of teenage norms and behaviors Рfrom the party life to straight-up lack of respect. On a daily basis, I challenge myself to refrain from immediately making biased judgments of the people I see and meet, and to love each one of them; to meet adversity with determination; and to do whatever I do full-out, all unto the glory of Jesus Christ. I'm not ashamed to share this, because my faith is what has allowed me to both raise a standard and make a change. The peace of mind I have in the days before AP exams, the joy I'm able to show and share, and the love I strive to have for everyone I meet are all parts of my identity in Christ. These things are what set me apart, what prompt people around me to ask, "What is it about you? How are you so calm right now? Why are you always so happy?"
Each standard I raise is a priority, and these priorities are what make me different and allow me to make my mark on the world. "Being myself" is more than a poster on the wall; deeper than words scrawled on a page; more sincere than the phrase spoken and belabored time and time again.
I'd challenge people to not necessarily think of their identity as "being themselves," but setting themselves apart and away from the norms of the majority. I'd challenge those of my generation to RAISE A STANDARD, and start living in a way that disproves the assumptions and precedents about today's youth. I'd challenge my audience to put the controllers down, the NewsFeed on hold, then to answer their own Calls of Duty, and create their own headlines in the real world.

Q:  This year’s theme is “Architects of the Future.”  What does it mean to you?

The current generation has an imminent responsibility to set the infrastructure and framework for the future ahead. This makes us "architects" in that we (the current generation) are accountable for making plans, for making sure the pieces are nailed together at ninety-degree angles, and, were an earthquake to occur, we are accountable for having certainty that the foundation of our future will be strong enough to withstand such adversity. If these said architects are not proactive in creating a solid basis to build upon in the time ahead, surely the framework of our generation will crumble to the ground.

Nicole Kim You're a Daniel in Babylon

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