Independence Day is about Family

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By Mark A. Leon

For once Facebook got it right.

As I browsed through the wall posts this evening, the one common theme throughout most of the pictures was family. Whether it was on the boat, at the beach, in the pool, by the grill or just playing in the yard, the day’s memories shared are those of families sharing in celebration.

Several years back, I had the fortunate opportunity to be on the America’s Dream Team radio show out of Lincoln, UK (www.sirenonline.co.uk or on 107.3FM) to talk about July 4th and the question was posed to me, “What does July 4th mean in the states?” After a moment of thought, I stated that in the end it is about family. Yes there is grilling, beaches and fireworks, but like Christmas, Easter and other significant holidays, it is one shared with family and friends.

America is an incredible country that is built on so many freedoms that we often take for granted the level of peace and acceptance we have all around. Today is a day not only to celebrate but to reflect and truly understand the importance the struggles our forefathers made and the sacrifices our soldiers and statesman continue to make around the world so we and our children can continue to celebrate each year.

Independence Day is a symbol of all that we stand for. Through the music, movies and tapestry of flags flying from every home, we are surrounded with a beautiful shower of red white and blue.

I was able to spend today with family in person and by phone. When I think of my special holiday memories, they aren’t crazy over the top risk taking events, they are the simple times shared with the people that have always been important to me.

Today is no different.

I am proud to be an American
I am proud to be a son
I am proud to be a friend
I am proud to be an uncle
Most of all, I am proud and honored to be free.

Today is our Independence Day. A time to shout to the moon and rejoice in all we have as the rockets red glare in the sky.

I hope each and every one of you had an amazing day that you will remember always.

Everybody has a dream…What’s your dream?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

There you have it.

As working class adults you are witnessing unprecedented times. As many of us are parents, the fear that times may get worse and our children will be suffering the same or worse fate than us a frightful thought. The world in a period of extreme concern. Civil unrest, terrorism, unemployment, poverty and personal struggle have put our dreams on hold.

Then again, some of us never pursue our dreams. We get comfortable in knowing a pay check is coming every week and lose sight on what our true passions are because of the risk. The risk of losing money and falling out of our comfort zone.

As a child, we all dream about being something amazing. Then we grow up, work 9-5 Monday through Friday and drink beer watching our athletes achieve all their goals. Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?

Why are we holding back our dreams?

There are many success stories I have heard in the last few years about people leaving their jobs and starting their own businesses or moving to remote locations to starting something amazing. One of the things that makes every human unique is the talents, courage and the compassion we are all dealt at birth. Harnessing these qualities and translating them into something that is fulfilling, memorable and reflective is what so many of us lack.

We take comfort in:

1. Income – The ability to pay our bills
2. Following – Living vicariously through the lives of our favorite celebrities and trends
3. Routine – Having the comfort of going to the same places and seeing the same people
4. Low risk – Not taking too many chances or risks in our lives
5. Technology – Why would I put that in there? Easy: Technology makes life easier and more efficient.
That does not always mean better.

What would it take to throw it all away?

I hear stories of people traveling around the world, moving to Alaska and starting a band, climbing to the clouds, writing the great novel, helping children around the world find homes and families, run community gardens so everyone can have a nutritious meal or volunteering so that everyone has a fair chance at life.

That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Unfortunately, these are isolated stories. Stories of inspiration for us to glance over on our social communication channels but not absorb and understand.

Life is a continuous path of education and learning. Through shared experiences we become stronger. In this strength we find personal fulfillment and greatness.

What are you waiting for?
I’m talking to all of you.
Find it in yourself. Do not hold back. Never look to your past and say to yourself, “I never tried”.

Is that what you want?

Take some time and think really hard about your life and if you can answer the question, “Am I happy and where I want to be?” with a positive answer, then you are on the right path.

If not…..