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How about a College of Hope?

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Columns Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
How about a College of Hope?
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

I know you have talked about this before but how do you get people to become a good person rather than a not so good person? How do you get people to aspire to be something rather than to give up on life? How do you make sure everyone has a chance to live a good life?


You have been reading about the hundreds of children that have been crossing the border from Mexico and Latin America. Why do they come? Their parents just want them to have a better life and by coming to the United States, the parents are more hopeful that they will find one.

A long time ago, I wrote a column focusing on "hopemoreness" as opposed to "hopelessness". Somehow, we need to find ways of injecting people with a dose of "hopemoreness." What if we created a College of Hope?

There are a lot of things that give you and me hope. We might have a family and people that care about us. We have a reasonable source of income that helps us pay our bills. We have a car and a television and a little extra money to eat out once in a while. We have time off from work to take a little vacation. We have children or grandchildren to liven up our days. We have a spiritual life. We have friends and neighbors. We see the need to vote in elections and do so. We take opportunities to improve ourselves and see the value of education. We see the glass half full and not half empty.

There are many people in the world, in the United States and even right here in our neighborhood who do not have many of the above. Some are lucky to see the glass half empty. Many just see an empty glass. For them, it's easy to lose hope and when people lose hope they generally begin to do bad things to themselves or to others. Why? Who knows?

Maybe they are striving for attention. Maybe they want to get a little piece of power that you and I have because we know how society works. Maybe they just don't know any better. Maybe they just don't care any more. Maybe they are hungry and need a place to sleep. Maybe their mind is in such a state that they just can't think right. They just can't seem to make the right decisions. They are caught in a spiral that deepens daily and there seems to be no way out. Life is hopeless.

A College of Hope would help turn their lives around. It would give them hopemoreness.

Our College of Hope would be for young people who have not completed high school as well as for older people who are struggling. It would be for homeless people, for people who had addiction problems, for people who just made poor decisions and maybe had to serve time in jail, for people who are poor and for people who want to turn their lives around. It would be for the destitute and for the disenfranchised. A College of Hope would serve all of these people.

The College of Hope would be free to all.

The first year of college would focus on getting an attitude of hope. Remember the old saying, "It's not your aptitude that is important, it's your attitude". You and I know it's true.

People who are destitute, disenfranchised, deserted, and discouraged need an attitude change. This doesn't happen overnight and this is why the first year of college students would take classes in everything from "I'm Ok and You're OK" to the "Power of Positive Thinking." They would take classes in decision-making and learning how to meet and interact with people. They would also be involved in counseling sessions to learn to understand themselves.

The College of Hope would be loaded with success. Teachers would teach for success. Failure is a word not used in our College of Hope.

The College of Hope would make certain every student hears a message of hope. It's hard to lift people out of poverty, unemployment, and oppression when they are not receiving hope messages. "Yes, you can." "I know you can do it." "See, what did I tell you?" "You're getting better already."

Yes, the College of Hope would be free. We would save millions of dollars by giving people a sense of hope. Our jails would be less filled. There would be fewer people on public assistance, with addictions, and experiencing homelessness.

Of course, saving money isn't the true reason why we need to create a College of Hope. Creating a College of Hope is the right thing to do.

President Obama ran for president on the slogan, "Give hope a chance." Just as George Bush was right when he advocated, "Leave no child behind," President Obama was also right. We need to give all people the opportunity to find hope and creating a College of Hope would do it. I am more than hopeful that we could do it, maybe right here in Bemidji.

Just think of it — a College of Hope. Wow! Right here in Bemidji? Why not?

Editor's Note: Due to production problems, in last week's column, reasons 17 to 21 on why you should attend the Deb's parade were omitted. Here are those five reasons:

Reason No.17: Do you want to see a cute parade? Go to the Debs parade. Buttons are cute but not as cute as the Debs parade.

Reason No. 18: Want to lose a few pounds? March in the Debs parade carrying a sign that says, "I am walking to lose a few pounds but I don't want to lose too many. That's why I am walking in the Debs parade."

Reason No. 19: After you've been to the parade you can design your own T-shirt that reads, "I've been to the Debs parade." People will ask you where Debs is and then you can tell them to be sure and attend next year.

Reason No. 20: Other than saluting the flag, going to the parade is the next best thing to do. Yes, you can also salute the flag at the Debs parade.

Reason No. 21: Your neighbors will be at the parade and if you're not there, what will the neighbors think? See you there.