What Do You Stand For? | The BridgeMaker

What Do You Stand For?

By on Nov 11, 2010

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. – Malcolm X

Inspiration has a way of finding us when we least expect it.

I had the opportunity to visit a unique inner city high school recently. The school, part of the Cristo Rey network, teaches more than math and science – it teaches what hope looks like to about 300 students who want just one chance to be successful.

My tour guide, a senior who spoke with a mature confidence, knew where he was in life. More important, he knew where he was going. His quiet humility was engaging and his foundation appeared strong.

As we walked the school hallways, I had the sense his strong foundation wasn’t built entirely on his academic knowledge. He also seemed to have a clear understanding of the virtues he stood for in life. The young man spoke of passion, loyalty and gratitude. His presence radiated responsibility, creativity and self-discipline. Simply put, the young man’s character seemed as grounded as his resolve to improve his life – and he was willing to share these beliefs with me.

It was my pleasure to receive them.

The visit had a profound impact on me. While I often share ideas for serving others, rarely do I share my personal beliefs. It’s not that I hide my beliefs; it’s just sometimes I forget to tell the world what’s important to me.

Thanks to my self-assured tour guide, and my visit to a beautiful school brimming with hope, I received some unexpected inspiration to declare what I stand for, too.


Kindness is like snow; it makes everything it covers more beautiful.


Understanding why people feel a certain way is as helpful as understanding how they feel.


I show others the respect they deserve – it’s all automatic after that.

Do the right thing

Doing the right thing may not always feel as good, but it will after the temptation passes.

Be accountable

I own my life – no one else.

Love well

I try to love myself first and then give more love than I take.


Forgiveness is a gift I give to myself so I can be free from the past.

Never give up

No matter how loud the enemy of my soul shouts, “You can’t do it,” I will keep the faith.


True happiness is being content with exactly what I have.

Live in the middle

Somewhere between the high highs and the low lows is a perfectly comfortable middle.

Leave it better

I hope when my time is over, I will leave the world a little better because I was here.

What do you stand for?

What are your most fundamental beliefs – your beliefs about life, love and about being you? Please share in Comments below. Reading this by email? Please visit the blog to share – just click here.

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The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • I have the feeling you will leave the world better Jonathan!

  • Gotta love the last one. We must all leave this place better than once we entered it. I think this is the pinnacle of great achievement. Great post alex.

  • I agree Sandra. That’s why I was so taken by this young man. It’s good to see education is still working in the U.S.

    Snow is wonderful Tess – it’s fun to play in and write about!

  • Alex,
    I love love love the what you said about kindness. I may even like snow a little more;)

  • Hi Alex,

    I’m so glad that you decided to share your values and this wonderful story. I’m inspired to hear about young people that consciously embrace positive values. Basic human values are often missing from our educational system. The kind of values you ascribe to and share with us here would go a long way to changing the world for the better.