My Best Life Moment

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td-2.jpg“Ok, so tell me your best life moment,” I asked the group of one hundred students sitting on the floor facing me.When I asked those words to that group of high school students I was looking forward to hearing their answers. First of all, we were in Alberta, and I half expected the one cowboy who came up to the front and said that it was when he was able to stay on the bull that he was riding for the 8 seconds. Although that is a pretty cool life moment, it was the student that followed behind him that blew me away.We were there for a full LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Think Day, complete with workshops and assembly presentations. The school had requested that we take a different route with our workshops and we decided to split them into groups of five. In each group, we would share stories about ourselves, in an effort to break down some barriers and to connect on a whole new level. Topics were everything from your most embarrassing moment to someone in the school whom you admired, and our team each shared a story as well. It was such an amazing day and I was so thankful to be a part of it. But by far, her story was the one I will was tiny and quiet, but her smile was infectious. She was Japanese and she was here in this small town in the middle of Alberta for her second year on an exchange program. I can’t remember her name, but I will always remember her answer to the question. She put her hand up and I invited her to centre stage. I could tell she was not used to having the spotlight.”Well, to be honest, my best life moment is very different from everyone else here.” She smiled nervously.  I nodded to her to encourage her to keep talking.”Since I was as young as I can remember, I have dreamed of being able to go to school in Canada. So, standing right here and getting to know all of you is what I would say my best life moment is.”There was a stunned silence. And as if someone had given them a cue, the entire student body began to cheer and clap. As she nodded her head at them, she quickly ran back to her spot on the floor where she was sitting. As she was going back to her seat, a thought struck me and I called out to her.”Has your family been affected by the earthquake and tsunami?””Oh, yes,” she said, very matter of factly. “My family’s house was destroyed in the earthquake and they are staying with family until they can go back home.””How do you feel being in Canada while they are going through all of that?” I asked her.”My family has told me they are very proud of me and thankful that I am safe in Canada. They want me to stay here and continue to study and learn all I can about Canadian culture. We love this country.”Those of us who were born and raised in Canada and who were in that room at that moment experienced something unfamiliar. We were humbled by what we have always been in possession of but have taken for granted more times than not: opportunity.thinkday-1.jpgI think that brief conversation touched a lot of lives that afternoon, and it reminded me of how blessed we are to live in a country that the world around us dreams of being a part of.There are many things wrong within our nation and there are many reasons that we could be frustrated, but there is one thing that I’m constantly reminded of: we are born in freedom and opportunity for a reason. It is our responsibility to make the most of it every day. It is tempting to want to level our gaze to what we can only see in front of us, but there is so much more to life. This life is a gift and an opportunity – let’s make the most of it.To find out more about LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s high school programs or our Hero Holiday humanitarian opportunities and how you can be a part of what we do, check out

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 21st, 2011