Finding Nemo is a wonderful children’s movie about a little fish that disobeys his overprotective father and ventures out into the wide blue ocean. His first act of bravery is to swim out from his home and touch a large boat, which his sheltered friends mistakenly refer to as “the Butt”. Many of us are like Nemo, whether we are from slightly sheltered homes or are just in a rut and so busy with our daily grind that we forget there is a wide world out there.
We have turned the page on a new year and a new chapter in our lives. How will you make this year different than last year? How will you leave your mark on 2016? I would like to challenge each of you to “touch the butt” this year. That doesn’t mean you have to board a plane or even travel outside of your city. Try just stepping out of your comfort zone for a little while. Challenge yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable, for only then do we truly grow. Perhaps that is volunteering at an animal shelter, or visiting with residents at a nursing home, or becoming a child’s advocate for organizations like CASA. Giving of ourselves and our time is the greatest gifts we can give anyone.
For young people that are still in school, reach out to the new kid at school, stand up for someone that is an underdog, or not in the “cool” crowd, or is being bullied. Be a positive example and role model that other students can look up to and emulate. Young people don’t realize the influence they have on their peers. The responsibility and choice is yours to decide if that influence will be a positive or a negative one. It’s easy to go with “the crowd”. But it takes someone truly exceptional and brave to “touch the butt”.