When I found out that I had been invited to speak at the TEDxTeen conference in New York on March 16, my first and most obvious question was, "Why me?" This was closely followed with, "OMG! How cool would a trip to New York be?"
It's a perfectly reasonable question, I thought. Don't you think so? It was ironic, then, when I discovered that the theme for 2013 was "The Audacity of Why."
It is the most simple and at the same time the most powerful question. It's incredible to think about how many times on an average day we ask ourselves that very question. We as teenagers are super inquisitive -- to the point of being downright nosy, some might say! This is not necessarily a bad trait. I like to think of myself as a curious skeptic with a positive mindset. I simply follow the mantra that if I don't question why and don't do something myself, then it would simply never get done.
TEDxTeen talks about "Generation Why" replacing the "Generation Y," based on the philosophy that teens don't settle for an answer -- we have an unswerving belief that we have the right to know why. I prefer to think of it more in a 'why not' kind of way!
So you see, the more I read about this year's topic, the more I felt I was actually reading about myself. Not in an egotistical manner but in a self-defining way, because I truly do spend my life asking why.
The journey of the discovery is often the most exciting and challenging for me. Teens on a mission are indeed a force to be reckoned with. Each day we log onto this virtual existence that has been given to us through social media and reach out to teens around the world. We read about journeys, wanting more, wanting it faster, how to work it out, and finally, why it can be done.
In March, I will head to New York, where the We are Family Foundation will host the fourth annual TEDxTeen conference. The dialogue will focus on teens and their power to change the world, and who better to host it than Chelsea Clinton? Pretty awesome, huh?
And it gets better. This is really a global gig with some seriously impressive teens on the roster! I'm not going to lie, from reading their biographies I did feel humbled and inspired. From the Los Angeles-based teen Caine Monroy, whose "Caine's Arcade" project has received over seven million views, proving that teens' imaginations are boundless and limitless, to Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone who, at the age of 10, built a radio station for his local community out of recycled materials, to one the most inspirational stories I have ever heard, about Kuha'o Case from Hawaii. Kuha'o was born premature and complications at birth left him blind. Not one for self-pity, he is a teen prodigy who taught himself to play piano and released an album, "Dare to Dream."
Already my mind is filled with a thousand why's for each of these hugely impressive teens. I literally cannot wait to listen to their stories, share in their visualization and retain and take home their inspiration. But the good news is that you too can share in this incredible conference. You can register to attend, which is an invitation process from their official website or you could host a viewing party and watch TEDxTEEN live from anywhere in the world. So if you are looking to trip out on the big 'why,' then check in here to listen, discuss, debate, challenge, question and learn why we are who we are! See you there!