Message to Guam youth: Think big – The Guam Daily Post

Hundreds of seventh- to 12th-graders in the island’s WAVE program listened intently Thursday morning at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort as a former island resident shared inspiring words from afar.

WAVE, which stands for Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically, began in 1988. At the group’s inaugural Islan Ideas Youth 2018 Xpo, the message was one meant not only to inspire, but also to initiate and innovate ideas in an effort to learn more about what makes Guam a unique tourist destination.

For John “Meta” Sarmiento, a singer, poet and former English teacher now living in Colorado, his message to the Xpo’s participants was straightforward: Always think big, and don’t let Guam’s size in relation to the rest of the planet stop you.

To begin his TED Talk presentation, Sarmiento reminisced on his childhood and the time in kindergarten when he learned that “you needed a magnifying glass” to find Guam on the globe. He recalled standing on the island’s shores, looking out at the vast horizon of sea and realizing just how small home was.

Moving beyond a ‘limited scope’

That slight fear accompanied his 5-foot-5 frame and followed him around throughout his childhood, he said, and then when his young nephew was born as he entered adulthood, it made him think differently.

“We need to stop portraying strength in such a limited scope. If our physical locale affects how we view ourselves in relation to the rest of the world, then we need to stop focusing on mass alone,” he said. “The extent of one’s strength should not be determined solely by their size.”

Sarmiento then stressed that young people need to begin looking beyond their physical attributes, and rather should look inward and reflect on their abilities, values and passions.

“I viewed myself as this tiny kid from this tiny island when I should have been viewing myself as a young man from Micronesia, an entire region rich in culture and talent and perseverance,” he said. “I should have seen that right next to Guam is the Marianas Trench. Our trench is the deepest place on this planet. It’s a world so submerged and unexplored we’re just beginning to understand what is inside it.”

True strength

He concluded his talk with a letter and poem he wrote for his young nephew, inspiring those in attendance as he read.

“True strength is defined by the depth of our character and potential.”

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