Hope requires courage.
Darkness, despair, anger, destruction—the images of these things feature daily in our media. No matter where we look, we’re met with images that leave us questioning. We’re left feeling hopeless, without options or solutions to the things that plague us.
The many enemies that challenge our hope—doubt, fear, sorrow—bind together with our cynicism to infuse us with mistrust. This mistrust, in turn, teaches us to expect the worst and accept the lowest. It devours virtue, demeans courage, and criticizes effort, leaving us to feel that hope is elusive. Or even impossible.
Finding something to engage with beyond our fear and mistrust is one way to crawl from under the blanket of despair. Nature, for me, is one such source. It is resilient, it is transformative, it is magical in ways even the greatest of wizards can only seek to understand.
But there’s one other place I look when I am feeling pessimistic about the future of our world. Like nature, young people are a constant source of hope for me. They inspire me to be courageous with their high ideals, honesty, and humor. The way they hope, with valor and courage, revives my spirit and makes me truly believe that anything is possible.
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes was created to honor young people like these whose courageous curiosity, inspirational deeds, and tenacious hope drive them to great things. Seeing the ideas they’ve created come to life and change our world never fails to return hope to my soul.
Each of the amazing Barron Prize winners have touched me in their own way, and I’m sharing a few of them with you today so that you can be touched by them too. That, at least, is my Hope.