Shortly after I got back from my favorite place in the world, Jewish summer camp (obviously), I was welcomed back to Miami with some good ole’ SAT tutoring. My tutor gave me a big book of “Hot Words for the SAT” (almost as hot as my mixtape), and she told me to start learning the terms inside of it. One day, when I was just casually studying SAT vocab (you know, the usual), I came across the word complacent, meaning “self-satisfied; smug”. I already knew what this word meant, but the example sentence for the word really resonated with me. Complacence destroys ambition.
It was that immensely boring afternoon of SAT practice that allowed me to realize that complacency is one of society’s biggest obstacles. Simply being content with where you are in life is not enough to achieve success, regardless of what it is that you feel “success” means. We all have dreams and aspirations of what we want to make of ourselves, and sometimes we let those dreams slip away. After a while, we tend to just put our hopes on hold. The little light of ambition and passion inside of us begins to flicker, and we begin to feel a little bit too comfortable with our routine realities.
NFTY is not simply a youth group. We are a youth movement, and we prosper when we embrace innovation. It is vital that each one of us play our part in contributing to the success of the region and our own respective TYG’s. When an amazing idea is planted in the back of our mind, we must do our best to implement this idea since it will contribute to the betterment of our community. As Jews, we are commanded to “not stand idly by.” Typically, this teaching is used to charge us with the duty to stand up and fight the injustices that exist within our world, but I also believe that when we have extraordinarily beneficial ideas, it is our duty to share this knowledge with our community. We cannot simply stand idly by.
Imagine a society without ambition; without people actively striving to better themselves; without people aspiring to make their community just a little bit better. Now imagine a society where the people are fueled by the desire, the need, to accomplish the goals they’ve set out for themselves. Picture all it is that you can achieve when you steer clear from complacency. Remember that vision you have right now and hold onto it with all your might. Whenever you feel complacent with your life, revive that memory and rekindle the dimming light of ambition and passion so that it becomes an eternal flame.
Written by: Robert Feder
BAFTY Member, Temple Beth Am, Pinecrest, FL