Graduation seems to signal that it’s time for some of us who have experienced life’s ups and downs to give some advice to those venturing out into the bright, shiny new world for the first time. Well, this year’s graduates will certainly face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by any group of young people. But that doesn’t mean that these impediments can’t be overcome. This generation can soar above the weighty challenges before them because, literally, opportunity is everywhere. So, if we were talking over a cup of coffee, I’d probably say something like this:

  • You are unique. There’s no one else quite like you. It’s okay to be different, to stand out. You don’t have to go with the flow. Don’t allow yourself to go along to get along. You’re too unique for that. Use your individual strengths to fulfill your destiny.
  • Help others. To find your path, help people. You’ll be surprised at how this defines you, and gives your life meaning.
  • Value people over things. When the things that matter most are measured by dollars and cents, something is wrong. And that something is that your moral compass is not working as it should. I urge you to direct your life toward people, rather than ‘things.’
  • Seek out a mentor. Not a single one of us is quite as smart as we think. Including me, and including you. We need guidance, a helping hand. And we need it from someone who can provide us with perspective. Choose carefully. Listen even more carefully.
  • Help Hawaii. Don’t rely on everyone else to do the heavy-lifting. Do your part to make Hawaii a great place to live, work and play. My greatest hope is that we will never have to say Hawaii used to be great place. You need to help this great state face the challenges ahead, so that it can continue to be a great place.
  • Know that one person can make a difference. It’s always been the individual – the ordinary person doing extraordinary things – who has made a difference in the world. That one person can be you.

Finally, I urge you not to allow others to decide the fate of Hawaii. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you have something to say, speak up. Get active!. Take a stand!  The only way we’ll ever achieve our goals for a better Hawaii is for this generation of graduates to impatiently let it be known that “enough is enough,” and fight for the things that truly matter.

It’s easy to complain, easy to throw up your hands and just accept the way things are. But that’s not going to help make Hawaii a better place. To do that, you have to get involved. Remember this. We’re counting on you. You are the future.

If you’re interested, take a look at my website – www.votesakamoto.com –  You might even want to volunteer for my campaign. Believe me, I need all the help I get.

Norman Sakamoto, is a State Senator and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor.  More on the web: www.VoteSakamoto.com

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