By: Ana Montserrat de Bernardo – January, 2014
One of my family’s favorite movies is called “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. It’s an old slapstick comedy that revolves around a group of greedy people who are brought together in the common pursuit of buried treasure after they witness a car accident in which the dying driver, in his ﬁnal moments, tells the bystanders about the location of his hidden fortune. I can recommend the ﬁlm to anyone who appreciates classic comedies –this is a great one.
I thought about the movie recently, not because of the plot, but because of the title, which seems more and more relevant with each passing day.
I was watching TV last week, and they were talking about Miley Cyrus’ latest cringe-worthy antics. Miley has gone off the deep end, and I can’t believe that my sister and I used to idolize her. She is making her own choices now, and she will have to live with them for the rest of her life, however long (or brief) that may be. I can’t help but compare her ridiculous and dangerous current lifestyle with her previous wholesomeness. She was an example for all young girls to imitate, and now, just a couple of years later, she represents everything that is wrong with the decadent celebrity “look at me” crowd. Like it or not, kids imitate what they see, and you can’t turn on the TV, browse the internet, or pick up a magazine without being inundated with the latest wild pictures of the lost Miley. It can depress you if you let it, especially because she is so talented and so beautiful, and in a position to do so much to the positive. Still, there are some who see her as a role model and idolize her even more now for her “innovative” or “fresh” style. For her, and for those who imitate her, it’s an unfortunate development.
It’s shocking to see altogether how each generation of teens has evolved over the decades. I suppose every generation believes that their emerging youths are the ones getting out of control. Of course, this makes sense because change is inevitable. It’s constant regardless of where you live or what kind of community surrounds you. Perhaps the reason for this is that young people tend to desire the acceptance of their peers. Somehow, this works best when you try to give off an air of indifference or suppress your opinions, no matter how foolish this might sound. I can relate to this myself. As a teenager, I have sometimes been reluctant to reveal my thoughts and beliefs at times, for fear of committing “social suicide”. The solution to this problem is simple, yet may not be in reach. Kids should start to place less value on fitting in, and attach more importance to standing up for what is important to them.
I think there are many components to being a good leader. A big part of being a leader is exactly what the word suggests. In order to lead, you must attract followers. Followers might be mimicking their leaders, but leaders don’t go along with the crowd. They set themselves apart from everybody else BECAUSE they don’t do what everyone else does. They set an example through their trustworthiness, their loyalty, and their courage to stand up for what they believe in. A leader should be someone to emulate.
I have known, both personally and through outside experiences, hundreds of leaders throughout my life. To me, being a leader consists of multiple different qualities, not necessarily all being found in the same person. I have never really been a huge fan of politics, but if I had to choose one person who has inﬂuenced me a lot and demonstrated, in my opinion, the epitome of being a leader I would most certainly say Ronald Reagan. When I ﬁrst learned that Ronald Reagan was an actor prior to becoming president, I was drawn to his story. I also saw a documentary about him when I was younger and he just seemed like a super down-to-earth, fun-loving guy.
I suppose it’s just the fact that when you’re younger and ignorant about politics, and you see someone who is comfortable in his own skin and has an easygoing demeanor, you admire them more for being such an inﬂuential leader yet maintaining the ability to be a little silly too. After learning more about his political viewpoints and all the things he accomplished for America, I developed a much greater respect for him.
To me, Reagan was not just an effective leader because of each individual thing he accomplished during his presidency, but for the results of the sum total of his decisions. Of the many quotes attributed to him, one of my favorites is “We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” This quote really encompasses, for me, all the great things about this man. It just amazes me that he thought that way especially with the pressures of the presidency. The fact that he was able to keep a deep faith throughout his two terms amidst a total lack of privacy, and with the never-ending duties that naturally went along with serving as president, just makes me admire him so much more. Not only does it demonstrate that he was a man of faith and he didn’t abandon his beliefs, it shows that he was humble in governing the country while being aware that he was guided by a Higher Power.
If anyone wants to get in touch with me, please write to me, Ana, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Attention: ANA to email@example.com