This past weekend was an awesome one here in Washington, D.C. Thousands of people participated in the National Day of Service by volunteering in the community. We celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the same day that the first Black president of the United States, President Barack Obama, was sworn into his second term in office. There was electricity in the air to say the least -- a true sense of optimism and opportunity. And you didn't have to be on the National Mall or attending an inauguration ball to feel it. You didn't have to be a Democrat. It transcended all of that.
I've always felt a connection to Dr. King. Even as a little girl watching "Eyes on the Prize" with my dad, I felt a knot in my stomach when they told the story of his assassination, and I marveled at the sea of people that marched -- not for him -- but for what he was was willing to die for: equality for all. He has been one of my heroes for a very long time. And so, I often look up his quotes when I need encouragement, guidance, or grounding.
To honor him, we posted this quote from Dr. King on Generation Hope's Facebook page this weekend:
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.
Long before National Mentoring Month was established and even before people saw the value in mentoring or used it as a common term, Dr. King captured its true essence in this quote.
Why should we even care about investing our time in helping someone else become the person they have the potential to be? Because in not doing so, we are not being the very best people that we ought to be. Our highest performance can only be achieved in lifting others up. That is us at our best.
Mentoring allows us to share our successes and missteps with others -- to take our life's journey and intertwine it with another's for the sole purpose of doing good in the world.
If you look at our communities, the importance and value of mentoring is so clear. So many people need someone to believe in them. Our lives are forever changed because of Dr. King's tireless investment in other human beings, the vast majority of whom he never even knew. Imagine what our world would be like if -- like Dr. King -- we all made it our mission to help even one person become what they ought to be.
Happy Mentoring Month to you from all of us here at Generation Hope.