Christine Valenti

photo of ChristineDear eighth-grade student,

Your life is branching in many directions.  You undoubtedly have many questions about the road ahead. Life is a journey filled with adventures, challenges, and much adversity, all of which teach us lessons.

Communicating effectively is the key to success for academic, business and personal issues. In academic settings you must be able to make connections to real-life experiences and communicate effectively to your teacher that you comprehend the key concepts expressed. In business you must communicate effectively to your employer, fellow employees, and clientele. Personally you must be able to communicate effectively to ensure that your ideas are not misconstrued.

Communication with intent empowers greatness. This is achieved through the power of written, spoken, and thought processes. Words are powerful tools. They can be used to build up, empower, persuade and connect. They can be life-changing and inspire. Words can tear you down, cutting to the very core. The greatest potential success in life relies on writing and speaking with intent.  Every word is a powerful tool that if used competently and effectively, can evoke greatness

You are the architect of your life. You have the power to build its foundation and the power of choice. Choose to live a purposeful life with intent. Formulate good writing, grammar, and communication skills that will transform your life and lead to greatness. Empower yourself to inspire others through powers of persuasion and thought provoking arguments based upon critical thinking and research.  Life is a journey that you create with intent. Embrace life with a positive attitude, and choose empowerment to greatness by becoming articulateWrite with intent, and use the power of words to connect, persuade, inform, and inspire

As an academic assignment, I once was asked to write an expressive and reflective paragraph described as a representative mask. This was to be about my childhood and early adult years. I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive foster home and had endured tremendous adversity throughout my life. How was I to describe to a class what I’d been through?  This seemed to be an overwhelming and daunting task.  I chose to conquer my fears and use the power of words to connect, persuade, inform and inspire.  This is what I wrote:

“Society looks for outward beauty, aesthetics to please the eye. They know not the inner beauty that daily struggles with turmoil and adversity. They know not how one has been beaten down, robbed of self-esteem, courage, self-confidence, respect and dignity. The façade is deceiving, depicting what society demands. The inner beauty struggles to be free. The spiritual strength helps to endure, empowering and lifting up. Eggshells are delicate and beautiful, yet can be hideous, controlling and confining. A new life began only to be thrust into dysfunction, domestic violence and abuse by those who professed to love. They know not the cost. They know not the longing for freedom, serenity, peace, harmony, friendship, and love. They know not the butterfly cocooning, gaining strength, waiting to emerge healthy, whole, uninhibited, and radiating spectacular beauty”.

A mask accompanied the reflective paragraph in a monochromatic scheme. Dark was representative of the dysfunction, abuse, and adversity throughout my life that at times felt overwhelming.  I withdrew and became afraid to trust in others. I was afraid to believe in myself, second-guessing all my thought processes and actions. I felt violated, vulnerable, weak and unworthy. These thoughts and behaviors became interwoven throughout my life, affecting self-esteem and self-confidence. The light tones on the mask represented the cocooning process: healing, becoming healthy, whole, gaining strength, development and empowerment received through academics. I am now transforming thought, behavioral, and attitude processes. Academics have helped to analyze, heal and given the necessary tools for success.  I now choose to become articulate and use the power of words to connect, persuade, inform, and inspire.

Many of you will relate to portions of this and are undergoing overwhelming adversity. You have the power of choice; choose academics as the mechanism to empower greatness. Good writing skills will play a significant role in your success throughout life. It is a means of expressing oneself to the world. Choose to become articulate and use the power of words to connect, persuade, inform and inspire.


Christine Valenti