As I lay in my bed, staring at the ceiling and craving a cup of mojo, I thought of how life used to be when I was growing up. It was simple. People got along. Girls met boys, they dated and then got married. Everyone had good jobs and seemed happy. Of course, I was a child with a very narrow scope of understanding and no reference to the various nuances of life. Nonetheless, it was my world. It was my reality.

As I grew and began raising my own family, while facing life’s trials head on, I began to realize how different the world really was compared to the storybook version of my childhood. The bills, the letdowns from relationships gone wrong and jobs not secured were just a part of life’s journey. But, the part that was most troubling to me was Cheryl Lynn Smith-5 Elements of Changethe way we treated one another. The lack of concern for our fellow man. The people who were homeless and hungry. The hatred. The abuse. The violence. Why? Why did these things seem to be more prevalent than ever before or did I just not realize it was happening?

What if I could change the world? What if the world was a place that was safe to be yourself? Where you could dare to be different without the fear of being bullied, stifled, ridiculed or judged? What if we could learn to talk to one another, really talk, and to understand and accept the differences we see? And, what if in these conversations we learned that our differences were actually proof of our similarities?

Could the world be different? Could we find a place of common ground to bring our talents to the table for the good of all people, young and old? I feel that we can. Each one of us can make a difference in the lives of people. I challenge you to change the world for you and for the future generations to come. Share a smile with a stranger. Compliment a person on their outfit, their car or their hair. Ask someone how their days going. And, if you see an elderly person getting out of their car, ask them if they need help.

We’ve lost the ability to trust and to enjoy each day without fear. I urge you to bring that back. Show others you are the change that they’ve been seeking. With persistence, patience and fortitude, together WE can change the world.