The leaders and trend setters of the future are our youth. More and more Native young people are striving to reach new heights and grab onto their potential. Education, job training and spirituality are becoming a priority in our aboriginal communities. Entrepreneurs, diplomas, degrees and role models of all sorts are coming out of the woodwork.

All the energy and motivation that our young people have need to be capitalized on as soon as possible. Instead of portraying our teenagers as trouble-making, rebellious hoods, we need to bring out the positive. Show them their good qualities and gifts. Teach them how to persevere and hold on to any dreams and aspirations they might have.

Natives have overcome plenty of hardships. We are warriors by nature and survivors by instinct. It’s vital that we remember these things. Quit getting caught up in the excuses of failure and disbelief. Get along with the rest of society and don’t be judgemental.

When success comes your way there are signs to look out for. Pride, boastfulness, overconfidence and an enlarged ego can get in the way of progress. Remember to always be humble no matter how far in life you get. Whether you become a pro athlete, actor/actress, dancer, writer, artist or an over-achiever in any area, stay level-headed.

All successful natives were all young at some point in time. Staying young at heart is the ultimate goal. What we do in our early years can determine what we accomplish the rest of our lives. It’s not so easy to turn things around later in life. Get on top of your future and destiny now! Don’t look back and always live in truth.

This article was reprinted from the February issue of Native Youth News, published in Sherwood Park, Alberta.