Equality is the starting line Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Jun. 05, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

If you look at life a certain way, every day is the same. From our first day to our last, we get up, we do something, and then we go to sleep.

This viewpoint, which simplifies life to its most basic, demonstrates how we're all the same, regardless of background.

Each of us has great value. It's a value we define for ourselves. Most importantly, it's a value we control. We make our own success. That doesn't mean some of us face obstacles that others don't. It means we have the power to overcome those obstacles, if we choose.

One perfect example is of a man born in Canada in the early 1960s. He was the youngest of four children. His father was a musician, but he worked a "real" job to support his family. The family constantly struggled to make ends meet. Then, the boy's father lost his job and they went from middle class to poor.

Before long, the family was living out of a van. When the boy turned 15 he quit school and took a job as a janitor to support his family. He could see his future. To earn more money, he'd eventually work at the steel mill that employed most of the people in his town.

Despite having a safe path to a dependable job, the boy chose not to settle. Fortunately, his father encouraged his dreams. The boy wanted to be a comedian. His talent became his currency. He used that currency to move from his small town to Toronto, then to Las Vegas and eventually to Hollywood. He appeared in failed sitcoms and played small roles in successful movies. He made money, but he still wanted more.

Finally, no longer a boy, he found success. He joined the cast of a sketch comedy television show. He was successful, some would say famous. But, he still wanted more. Then he received his big break. A studio offered him the lead role in a movie.

He turned it down. He said he wouldn't make the movie unless they let him rewrite it to best fit his talents. That movie became an international success and it made Jim Carrey a big star. It would have been easy for Carrey to accept a lesser life. It would have been easy to decide the difficulties in his life could never be overcome. It would have been easy to take a job at a steel mill.

Carrey didn't take the easy path. He made his own success. He has to prove himself every day, just as the rest of us. By proving you can be a success, you're given opportunities to be more successful.

The opposite also is true.

Consider another tale, one about a young girl. She also appeared in several hit movies. Her path was limited by her desire and talent. Unfortunately, she didn't prove herself. Her actions cost her. Today, she's all-but unemployable. Lindsay Lohan is a cautionary tale.

Each day we create our value and make our own success. How will you build on your success? How will you use the equity you've earned through your actions? Right now, in the currency of you, you are priceless. You are an investment.

And like all investments, your value can go down or it can go up.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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