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Dear Miley Cyrus

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This week you received a lot of publicity for smoking something from a bong. You are trying to get out of your Disney contract. Your photo shoots are getting more and more provocative. Pundits are already putting you in a triple suite at a Malibu rehabilitation center with Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

It’s been a rough year for you. Your parents are getting divorced, you’ve had some boy drama here and there, and you’re struggling to leave Hanna Montana behind and earn real credibility in the entertainment world.

You are at a crossroads. We’ve all been there, but without the fame and fortune that you have acquired in your young life. Seeking pity for being under a microscope is futile, especially in a day and age when people are struggling to feed their families and you are crying about the burden of being a role model to millions of kids.

Your life does not have to be the longest slide from Chutes and Ladders. You have the potential, influence and material wealth to make real contributions to this world, more so than most of us can ever dream of.

Take a moment and look to a couple of people who died this week for some guidance. Neither was sexy or perfect, but both Richard Holbrooke and Elizabeth Edwards made the most of their lives and worked for those who were less fortunate.  While no one expects you to make peace between warring factions or advocate on behalf of breast cancer sufferers, there must be a way that you can start down a path of a more meaningful life and have your picture taken in the middle of a charitable act rather than in an orange prison suit in a California jail.

Elizabeth Edwards posted a quote on her Facebook site before she died. It really stuck with me. I hope that it sticks with you, too:

The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.

My New Year’s Resolution is to make a daily effort to make a positive impact in the world. I hope yours will be, too.

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