Why Be a Negative Headline When You Can ROCK the Middle Pages?

On June 1st, I was honored to usher in the Summer speaking season with a group of 95 teens and young adults who comprise the NH-HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) program. We talked about goals, we discussed positivity and I shared my advice for their communication skills.

For better or for worse, the world is moving faster than ever before. It is not their fault, but they WILL need to learn how to play by the rules. Back in my days as a high school sophomore, if a teacher spied a note being passed around the classroom, whoever owned the hands it was in at the time would consume it…quickly! I still smile when I recall a friend who told the teacher “Oh, you can have the note, but you’ll have to wait a while!” J

These days, we communicate at lightning speed via instant messages, texts and tweets…and those are permanent. Not a problem if you’re a student who is putting good energy into the world, like these HOBY attendees. But, if you’re making bad decisions, posting inappropriate pictures or messages, the damage can be difficult to undo.

We often see teenagers on the front page of the newspaper, yet it never seems to be for good things. Mainly it is for drugs, violence, underage drinking, theft, destruction of property, etc.

Occasionally we see teens on the back page when they are sailing solo around the world, creating a Lego replica of Mount Rushmore or consuming 200 snails in 60 seconds.

Front page: often bad.

Back page: human interests and oddities.

The middle of the paper is where the SOUL lies. It’s the home of the ‘real’ people, for me.

These are the pages where the ‘everyday happenings’ of our communities play out, including local politics, a smattering of national news, maybe a little more crime, and the really good people who are doing great things.

This is where you’ll discover how many local families were helped by a recent food donation program, how a clothing drive will help keep dozens of homeless people warm this winter, and how a pair of local Eagle Scouts spent their weekend building a wheelchair ramp for an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan.

These are the truly ‘cool’ teens…the ones with a bright destiny!

Our future leaders (the ones I wish to follow, anyway) are there right now getting their start.

Through HOBY, these students, and many other around the country, are intentionally aligning to bring combustible positive energy and support to their communities.

So, where would we find YOU in the newspaper?

Are you front page (often bad) news?

Are you a back page goofball or oddity?

Or are you in the middle, confidently making your way through each day with a good outlook, reaching out to share your hands and heart?

I would love to someday read the front page of the newspaper and see only the best that our community has to offer. Even if it was just for one day, THAT copy would be a keeper!

Congratulations, my HOBY friends, on your decision to bring positive energy to your communities.

Keep on rockin’ those middle pages!



  1. Steve, I just love your headlines, you have a true gift there! This is an important message…I see too many young people posting the negatives about their lives on the internet and that will come back on them at a later date…I agree with you, I would love to see the front page of my local newspaper have GREAT news!!

  2. It’s a different world that today’s teens live in. I was of the note-passing generation too, but I shudder to think what would have happened if those notes were actually permanent texts and emails! It’s an important lesson for today’s teens to learn – what they say today, because of the medium, can come back to them in so many ways they never would have imagined.

  3. It’s so true that we live in so much speedier times these days and of course the fact that so much is recorded and shared electronically – it can lead to a sense of not being connected to our own core!

    I totally LOVE the idea of the front page of a newspaper being kept for the GOOD stuff – wouldn’t it be great if that became the norm? Just think what the world would feel like with out fear and bad news!

  4. Wouldn’t it be great if the front page of the newspaper held all the “good” stuff 🙂 I don’t read the paper but my fiance does and sometimes will share. I think even with all the technology we have to slow down and we have to teach our children how to do that ..and the only way is to lead by example. There is a balance 🙂

  5. It would be so wonderful to be able to start the news-reading part of the day with the GOOD stuff instead of all the negative energy that the media throws at us. I love hearing about the cool things that ordinary people are doing. We would all feel so much better if that were the case.

  6. Thanks, Steve for a very inspiring post. I especially loved when you wrote, “I would love to someday read the front page of the newspaper and see only the best that our community has to offer. Even if it was just for one day, THAT copy would be a keeper!” I soooooo agree!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s