Lessons From an Eighteen Year Old

JedediahVia Jedediah Bila at Breitbart News

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine McAulay shared some wisdom yesterday.

If you’re not familiar with Madeleine, she has made some waves in politics these last few years. She started a blog, released a YouTube video in support of traditional marriage that caused quite a stir, was interviewed by local media in Charlotte, NC, appeared on Fox & Friends and The Blaze, was a vocal supporter of Sarah Palin, and penned a column for Townhall in which she altered her position on gay marriage, among other endeavors.

In other words, she’s one gutsy girl. I met Madeleine at CPAC a couple of years ago and my impression was that she was a confident young lady with a lot of opinions she wasn’t afraid to explore–or defend.

But I have to say that I think Madeleine’s most courageous act was one she shared in a blog post yesterday, a post she titled “Farewell to politics, for now.” In it, she writes:

Three years ago, I would have told you that I was going to grow up to be a politician or a Fox News anchor, but after running a political blog, going on Fox News, and experiencing what some would call “success,” I am burned out.

Three years ago, I would have also told you that I was going to go to college right after I graduated high school. Instead, my top school waitlisted me, and I have decided to postpone traditional college for a semester.

Three years ago, I had my life all planned out.

God laughed.

At present, I am completing my final weeks of high school and preparing to go on a three-month adventure through Ecuador and Peru. I leave in September. While I am traveling I will be taking college classes, learning Spanish, volunteering, and exploring. This was not what I had planned. It is so much better!

She goes on to acknowledge that she “loved hearing that my blog served as a catalyst for young conservatives around the country and I am excited to pass my baton to them,” and leaves the door open to potentially return to politics one day in the future.

I emailed Madeleine yesterday and she shared the following: “I got out of politics because of who I had become. My life was dark, as are a lot of lives in politics. I’m tired of partisanship and not being able to give credit where credit is due.”

I give this young lady a lot of credit. She had the courage to put her opinions out there at a very young age. She wasn’t afraid to defend them. She wasn’t even afraid to publicly change her mind on an issue and express why. Most importantly, she wasn’t afraid to leave politics behind when it no longer felt right, and to pursue what did.

When I was young, I wasn’t always so brave. I had some crazy dreams; they were at times impractical and extraordinary, for sure. But I often made the mistake of listening to other people’s ideas of who I should become and what I should make of my life. I guess that’s one of the reasons why Madeleine’s post struck me so much. A little part of me wanted to reach back into my childhood and tell myself that everyone else’s well-tailored vision of what my life should look like suited everyone but, well, me. And that sometimes you have to leave behind what doesn’t move you in order to discover what does.

Madeleine also reminds me of what I try to make part of every day in my television world–avoiding darkness and giving credit where credit is due. I don’t always succeed, but I do my very best to try.

So, kudos to Madeleine for following her heart. As I said to her on twitter, “Follow your heart, don’t forget your head, and remember to never spend your time living someone else’s dream!”

And to those who say there are no lessons to be learned from the young, I promise you that they prove you wrong every day.

Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila

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Susan Dejnozka
8 years ago

What a breath of fresh air! God be with you, Madeline, and I pray there were more like you!

8 years ago

This young lady needs a pat on her back.We need more people young and old to stand up for what we believe in and not be afraid of the left. The left are like bullies in a school yard,Stand up and defend yourself they will back down. You Must keep fighting back. Freedom of America is so worth it !! John

Tina Jackson
8 years ago

Madeleine writes: “Instead, my top school waitlisted me, and I have decided to postpone traditional college for a semester.” This floored me – here we have a student of independent thought with the courage of her convictions, maturity and personal insight to be able to evolve in her world view (as one would hope all of us do – but especially in the high school and college years), confidence enough at her young age to expose herself in the public eye of the blogosphere/TV/public speaking – and yet a university in this nation failed to offer her unconditional admission? I don’t care if her first choice school was the most selective school in the country. Any university would be lucky to have her among their student body. Their loss, probably Madeleine’s gain. Spending time in travel, independent study, mastery of a foreign language, exposure to other cultures will enrich her far more than sitting in freshmen lecture halls among the masses. Once again, evidence of courage, intelligence, maturity, and a spirit of adventure. I wish you the best, Madeleine – safe travels and enjoy every moment of your experience! I anticipate great things from you in the future.

Robert A Hirschmann
8 years ago
Reply to  Tina Jackson

Todays socialist/communist universities would not want Madeleine among their brain washed students. She would disrupt the whole system

8 years ago

kudo’s to jedediah!!!

Ivan Berry
8 years ago

I was in my 50’s when I changed my mind about capital punishment. Kudos to the kid for expanding her own understanding of self. At such a young age and having the ability for critical thought is a refreshing eye opener for someone who expected that government schools would drum it out of our youth. May she grow in knowledge and understanding and gain wisdom as she ventures into her (and our) future.

Hunt Hamill,Jr.
8 years ago

If one simply listens to the media at large and the overwhelming,alinskyite,soros sponsored forces of the left,so deeply integrated,one with the other,the resulting impression on the population is of the inevitable vanquishment of the so-called greedy conservatives and the sweep to power of the”moderate and pacific”liberals.As we know,this is nothing but a pack of continuing,unmitigated lies.Our “great,black hope”has such difficulty telling the truth that he wouldn’t know if veracity hit him in the back of his dishonest head,yet the media,excepting to a small degree Fox News,does nothing,says nothing and ignores the sacred duty of the press to expose charlatons and cheats,rather they support his every deception and betrayal.
One would like to think that there are millions of young people like Madeleine McAulay all over these United States,waiting their turn to put things right. We can only hope that it’s not too late when they arrive. In the meantime,heil obama and baboona,comrade!

John Mitros
8 years ago

Much of the youth of this nation of college age is exposed on a daily basis to Socialist, and even atheist concepts. Yes indeed, fellow seniors, this is what they are teaching in most colleges these days. For this young woman, Jedediah Bila to come forth and courageously proclaim the conservative principles upon which this nation was founded, as well as her Faith in the Almighty is truly a refreshing breath of fresh air, and has restored my faith in the resilience of our young people. May God keep her safe in all of her travels, and bless her work for she is indeed a treasure in the midst of the squalor of today’s educational process, and also the so-called “entertainment media” who are laughing all the way to the bank with the proceeds from scripts laden with sex and violence.

gray jones
8 years ago

Power, true power, is parity between wisdom and force, i.e. the very essence of the Constitution. Communism uses its force to wipe out wisdom. Whereas Americans concentrate on self-determinism Communists concentrate on other-determinism, i.e. self-sacrifice for the collective. I remember, as a teenager, looking at becoming a gang member. Group force is very appealing for one who feels insecure, who doubts their ability to get what they want. I didn’t join because I didn’t want to give up my self-determinism. Instead I joined the Marine Corp, gave up four years of self-determinism, became other-determined, to protect the self-determined, i.e. go figure? There’s wisdom in there somewhere…Semper Fi Nam 66-67

Paul Tuttle
8 years ago

Having the crowning title of “Senior Citizen” placed on my head a few years ago, Madeleine at 18, has become, to me, the essence of what America’s youth need to become in one form or another a ‘saving grace’ and that will make this country great once again. One of those things that I would like to add is her “spunk”, as it used to be called, her tenacity, and last but not least her ‘gut’ feeling of what she wanted to do, becoming her goal in life. It is said, that in life we have ‘gut’ feelings and I read it somewhere, that gut feelings may just be God talking to you.

Diana Erbio
8 years ago

Sounds similar to the message James Altucher was just speaking about in an interview I saw. He is the author of a book “Choose Yourself”. I want to read it because like your article’s message of encouragement for people to live their lives and not to cave in and live someone else’s idea of what our life should be.

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