Homecoming

Sometimes letting someone else have their moment makes you feel better than having that moment yourself. Kindness has its own reward – it’s how it makes you feel.

Homecoming, posted with vodpod

 

A Classical Music Rock Star

Gustavo Dudamel

By the time he was thirty years old, world-famous conductor Gustavo Dudamel had been called “the lightning conductor” who could turn a solid old symphony into “molten lava.” Today, part of his long term plan is to recreate the youth orchestra program for street youth that has been so successful in his native Venezuela. 

When it comes to classical music, Gustavo Dudamel is a total rock star. At age thirty, he was (by far) the youngest conductor of a major orchestra anywhere in the world. With his wild hair, all-consuming passion, and lively sense of humor, he is also one of the most popular.

Gustavo was a musical genius as a child, and began winning international conducting prizes when he was barely out of high school. But what has always been extraordinary about Gustavo Dudamel is not only his talent, but the way he has chosen to use that gift to improve the world.

As of this writing, as well as being in his twelfth year as music director of the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, Dudamel is also in his second season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. With his global reputation, he could have chosen to work with any orchestra in the world, but he chose the Los Angeles Philharmonic: and he did it for a very specific reason.

Dudamel, who came from a musical family in Venezuela, had his talent recognized and supported by “El Sistema” (The System)—a revolutionary music-training program in his home country that introduces poor kids, some of them street kids, to the discipline and self-esteem of great musicianship. Recognizing how The System changed his life, Dudamel decided to introduce the program to the United States, and the hard streets of Los Angeles were a perfect place to start. So, as part of his contract with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel insisted on being given the money and time to start a youth orchestra.

The Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles gives poor and street youth a new focus in their lives and a new sense of accomplishment as they play to sold-out audiences at venues like the famous Hollywood Bowl. As well, Dudamel’s vision of spreading the idea across the U.S. is beginning to be realized, with new community and city youth orchestras being formed in several American cities.

Dudamel’s long-term dream is to see The System become as popular in other countries as it is in Venezuela, where 600 youth orchestras help a quarter of a million children stay out of trouble, develop self-discipline, and learn to believe in themselves.

Gustavo Dudamel knows firsthand that music can help change the lives of children and youth, and improve the society they live in.

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This is an excerpt from the book Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™, 75 Inspiring Biographies by Larry Anderson. It is available as a print book from Amazon.com and as a Kindle e-book.

A Freedom Won by Peter Rabbit

Beatrix Potter

Storyteller, illustrator, nature lover, and self-taught nature expert, Beatrix Potter went from leading an extremely isolated life to becoming a famous and wealthy writer and illustrator of children’s books. 

If Beatrix Potter’s parents had let her go to university, as she so badly wanted to do, she might be remembered today as one of the world’s great experts on mushrooms. Instead, she became one of the bestselling children’s authors of all time.

Beatrix’s family was wealthy, but very strict with their daughter. She was raised away from other children, with private tutors teaching her at remote country estates in England. Her parents were determined to keep her at home for the rest of her life, to be their housekeeper and care for them in their old age.

But Beatrix had dreams. She loved nature and all plants and animals, particularly rabbits, and kept many kinds of creatures as pets. She was also an excellent artist who could create detailed and realistic paintings and drawings. Above all, Beatrix had a great imagination, and loved to read and tell stories.

Living such an isolated life, Beatrix became a nature expert, particularly with regard to plants and fungi. With her great artistic talents, she could draw amazing illustrations of mushrooms that earned her respect among naturalists.

The young woman thought she might have a future as a botanist, studying plants, but her parents wouldn’t let her pursue a career, and few scientists in the 1800s would have ever taken a woman seriously.

Beatrix felt trapped in her parents’ life until someone pointed a way out. Beatrix had written letters to her last governess’s five-year-old son. In the letters, Beatrix had made up adventure stories about rabbits and other creatures that she loved.

The former governess thought the stories were wonderful, and encouraged Beatrix to turn them into a children’s book. Writing the story and doing her own illustrations, Beatrix Potter created The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Although one publisher after another turned the idea down, Potter would not give up her dream of achievement and independence.

After years of trying, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was finally published. It was a big hit, and so were the books that followed. Characters like Squirrel Nutkin, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and the Flopsy Bunnies became favorites for children across England.

Potter earned enough money to leave home and live her own life. She married, bought a huge farm, and raised as many animals as she liked. Her more than twenty popular children’s books made her wealthy and famous, but it was her hard-earned independence that Beatrix Potter treasured most.

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This is an excerpt from the book Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™, 75 Inspiring Biographies by Larry Anderson. It is available as a print book from Amazon.com and as a Kindle e-book.

Just Say Hi

Sometimes a little courage is all you need. A small step can be the start of something bigger. Connecting with others can begin with one simple world, “hi!” A smile helps too.

Just Say Hi, posted with vodpod

 

Holding The Light

Have you every wondered if you’re making a difference? If what you are doing is important? These questions have crossed my mind over the years. I’ve tried to be a good father, husband, brother, son and friend but I know I make mistakes. I’m definitely not perfect. This wonderful short video puts things into perspective. It shows how we can make a difference with the simplest things we do. Being a good example, most of the time, might be be the biggest impact we have in life. It’s enough.

 

Faith in You

One of life’s greatest treasures is someone who believes in you. Especially, when you are having doubts. Having someone who is always in your corner that’s devotion. It is a precious blessing.

Faith In You!, posted with vodpod

 

Winning Isn’t The Only Choice

Sometimes winning seems like the only important thing we strive to achieve. Then a moment presents itself to do something different, to make a difference, to reach out to someone else. It’s a choice that has its own rewards.

 

He Invented Braille for The Blind

Louis Braille

Blind from age three, Louis Braille learned to read at a school for the blind in Paris where, at that time, books for the blind could weigh as much as a hundred pounds! Inspired by the indented dots on dice, he invented the Braille system of reading and writing, now available in every language in the world.

In 1812, a three-year-old boy was playing in his father’s leather workshop in Coupvray, France when he had an accident that would change the world. Louis Braille accidentally poked himself in the eye with an awl: The metal point blinded him in one eye and an infection soon left him totally blind.

Louis was a bright boy and won a scholarship to a school for the blind in Paris. It was not a particularly nice place; students were often fed bread and water and locked up for punishment. Louis and the other blind children were taught various skills (Louis became expert at playing the organ and cello), and they were taught to read. At that time, books for the blind used raised letters with metal wires under the paper, and some of the books weighed one hundred pounds!

One day, a soldier visited the school and talked about a code system that he had invented in the French army. It used raised dots and dashes on a piece of paper to allow soldiers to send each other messages in the dark while remaining silent.

Louis and the other children found the system too confusing, but the basic idea stuck in the boy’s head. He began experimenting with different ways of creating a language using raised dots on paper—and for this, he used the same awl that had blinded him!

One day, Louis Braille happened to pick up a pair of dice and feel the six dots on one side. That’s when inspiration struck him. He soon developed a code for each letter of the alphabet, with numbers and symbols like periods and question marks, all using no more than six dots.

One great advantage of his system was that you could read each letter or symbol using the tip of your finger. With practice, a reader could run his finger along a line and read very quickly. The other big plus was that blind people using Braille’s system could write as well as read. His system opened up a whole new world!

It took many years for the Braille system to take off, and its popularity was still spreading when Louis died in 1852. Not many people can say that they invented an entire new system of reading and writing, but Louis Braille did. What’s more, his system was adopted around the world, and today is available in virtually every language that humans speak.

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This is an excerpt from the book Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™, 75 Inspiring Biographies by Larry Anderson. It is available as a print book from Amazon.com and as a Kindle e-book.

My Life In Sports

I really relate to this video. I have never been much of an athlete. Fortunately, I have other talents, abilities, interests and passions. I believe we all have gifts of our own. Being supported by someone who cares about us, to discover and develop those gifts – is transformative and empowering.

 

Enabling Childhood Creativity

TED Talks are Ideas Worth Spreading. Ted stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, which was the scope of the talks when they began an in 1984. The scope of the talks has, over time, become far broader.

This TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, given in 2006, is about childhood creativity. It is one of my favourite and I’m not alone; it has been viewed more than 8.5 million times. Sir Ken Robinson is entertaining, informative and inspiring.

 

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