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We stand at the dawn of a new year. I am more than a little curious about what this year has in store. My overwhelming sentiment is optimism. This is going to be a great year.

We just found out about a very significant event for our family that will take place in 2014. Our oldest daughter is engaged to be married! This is wonderful news. Pep and I are delighted to welcome Alex into our family. Alex is smart, serious and steadfast. Best of all… he loves our daughter immensely. I couldn’t be happier that Bethany and Alex have chosen to step up to the altar in 2014 to commit themselves to one another. Their wedding date is the most important life event on my calendar for the year ahead.

You may know that there are other significant dates I’m anticipating in the year ahead. On one of those dates my own career could take a dramatic turn. I eagerly await the nomination meeting when I hope to be chosen as a federal Liberal candidate for my community. My political future is unpredictable and somewhat mysterious. But the only way to know what I can accomplish by choosing this path is the step up to the challenge.

This year’s first blog post is a call to step up. What would you like to step up for in 2014? The New Year is a great time to reflect on the choices that will shape our lives. Of course our lives aren’t shaped just by the big “red letter” days on our calendars – like weddings and graduations and nominations. The direction of our lives is considerably shaped by the smaller choices we make each moment and each day. I should also mention that the vast majority of people on the planet don’t even have the privilege of stepping up to make the choices I’ve been able to make in life. Not everyone has the privilege of saying yes to a life partner who will love and care for him or her. Not everyone has the privilege of making a mid-life career shift that will open up a whole new world of opportunity. Not everyone has the support or life circumstances that permit taking the risk of running for political office.

But there are good opportunities available to everyone. I suspect most people who read this could think of a few promising prospects ahead. Is there is a choice you can make that could put you in a new position to fight for what’s right? Are there risks you could take that would offer hope for you or others? Is there a new path you could choose that isn’t entirely clear but may lead to a healthier future? In 2014, we need good people to step up for good work.

I’m reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from a Birmingham jail in which he challenged his contemporaries to step up, writing:

martin-luther-king-jr“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

What choices are you contemplating at the dawn of 2014? I would love to hear about them.

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