During a recent interview with ABC News correspondent David Muir, First Lady Michelle Obama was asked this question: “What advice would you give to your girls when they fall in love?” After a brief pause the First Lady offered the following thoughtful response: “I would tell ALL young people,” she replied, “choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better.”
At the time the interview was being played I have to admit I was only half listening as I had turned on the TV for noise as much as news if you know what I mean. But when I heard the First Lady’s response to that question she had my full attention; for her answer was so full of wisdom, and at several levels. I’ll mention three in particular.
First, and in direct response to the question, Mrs. Obama could not have been clearer in terms of what every parent would like to impress upon their children. When you fall in love make sure it is with someone who will make you a better person. Case in point, Tee and I will soon be celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary and one of the primary reasons for our successful marriage is because through the years we have lifted each other up, and made each other better. We will both vouch for that.
Second, I have to applaud the First Lady for the way she carefully crafted her answer to include a broader array of relationships. That is to say, who we choose as friends and the crowds we hang out with will influence the kind of people we become. In short, as we’ve all heard, we should choose our friends carefully.
And third, hidden within Mrs. Obama’s response is a question each of us should ask ourselves. What role do we play in the lives of others? Do we lift them up? Are they better for being around us?
In summary, choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better. Then ask yourself, will people choose me for the same reason? Great wisdom, not just for young people but for people of every age.