Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Expect More of Yourself

One of the most influential books I've read recently was "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates" by Wes Moore. It's a touching story about about two men from similar backgrounds and even the same name, and the factors that drove them to two very different fates. Both men grew up in single parent homes, struggled with school, and even lived just blocks from one another in one of Baltimore's roughest areas at one point. Wes Moore, the author, later became a combat veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, and now an associate at Citibank in NYC. The other Wes Moore is now serving life in prison.
Shortly after finishing the book, I was lucky to hear Moore talk more about his story and elaborate on his reasons behind him telling the story. Moore stated, "I wrote the book to get people to think."
Of course the stories Moore told attracted male readers but me being a female, I was attracted in another way. When the topic of fatherhood came about, of course I was all ears. However, I paid special attention to the emphasis on the two boys in the story having the same backgrounds. That same story applies to me with people as close to me as my best friend.
It got me thinking about the decisions and factors that play a part in someones fate.
Moore recalled a moment when he asked the other Wes if he thought we were products of our environment. The other Wes Moore responded, "We're products of our expectations."
I couldn't agree more, but I also think we're products of what others expect from us as well. Looking back on my old friends that I seem to have lost touch with, we were no different. We all had some of the same adversities but we also had some of the same opportunities and our decisions are what has led us astray.
I once felt guilty for leaving some people behind but I had to realize they would've been right beside me if they'd chosen to.
That's just one thing Wes Moore's book got me to think about, but it mainly made me want to take action and change as much as I can to reach out to as many kids who were like me as possible.

"Potential is universal, Opportunity is not. The difference between where we are and where we can be is extraordinarily thin."       -Wes Moore

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