Last Tuesday was an interesting day. At 6:00 pm I attended the roll out for the Williamsburg County Strategic Plan, at 9:00, I watched the President’s speech, and at 10:15, I watched Marco Rubio’s response to the State of the Union. It was clear that at each presentation there was an obvious attitude in play. For instance, the representatives presenting the plan from Boyette displayed an attitude of pure enthusiasm. The audience, on the other hand, was somewhat reserved. During the State of the Union, the President’s attitude was overwhelmingly confident; where as the Republican’s attitude was somewhat distrustful. The Democrats and other friends of the President in comparison displayed an attitude of euphoria with their continuous applause and standing ovations. The final speaker of the day, Senator Rubio presented a respectable rebuttal to the State of Union Address even though his performance confirmed that he was nervous and thirsty.
Forgive me if I bored you with the details of everyone’s attitudes, but there is a method to my madness. During the presentation of the Strategic Plan, there was brief discussion about how attitudes need to change before Williamsburg County can move forward. So, what does this mean? Do we all have to think alike; should we be told what to believe; or perhaps should we try envisioning our community in a more positive light. And for what its worth, most people believe it is easier to develop a negative attitude rather than to change a negative attitude into a positive one. But for the record, nothing is impossible.
If I were to consider any attitude in our community that needs to be changed, it would be the attitude of “poor me.” Without a doubt, our county is not as affluent and progressive as some communities. But for sure, we have qualities that make us special and unique. This county has a long, rich history and abundant natural resources. We are known as a sportsman’s paradise with great hunting and the scenic Black River. Our people are matchless in their southern hospitality, kindness, and faith. In addition, our healthcare is excellent for a small community, and a variety of protective services work tirelessly to serve the citizens. Educational needs are being met for local students from preschool to post high school. Lastly, we have many trusted industries and businesses that provide employment opportunities for local folks. Sounds to me like we should be celebrating the good life we have here, rather than constantly lamenting the fact that Williamsburg County has big problems.
Presently I am reading, America the Beautiful, by Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson grew up very poor in a single family home in Detroit, Michigan. As a young boy, he hated being poor, had a terrible temper, and struggled in school. He basically had a bad attitude about life. His mother, who had a third grade education, knew she had to do something to help her boys, so she reduced their TV time and made her sons read two books and write a report each week. The boys always completed this task, never realizing their mother could not read their work. She always pretended to study the reports and would underline words and mark them with a colored pen to make the boys work harder. Dr. Carson said that reading gave him a vision of what life outside poverty was like and it instilled in him a great desire to excel. The rest of his life story describes how he became a gifted surgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital. He made medical history by being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins who were joined at the back of the head. The 70 member surgical team led by Carson worked 22 hours to complete the surgery which proved successful. Today Dr. Carson is a successful author, a man of faith, and the recipient of many national awards including the Presidential Medal of Honor, which is the Nation’s highest civilian tribute. Dr. Carson changed his attitude as a young boy and it changed his life.
Over the years many Strategic plans have been written and presented only to end up on a dusty shelf in some obscure office. There has been much time, money, and work put in to the 2013 strategic plan but many people still wonder if this plan will come to fruition, or will it too end up forgotten on someone’s shelf.
At the moment we have a good opportunity. It’s time to move forward and prove to all the nay-sayers that Williamsburg County will be prosperous and successful. Now, this is the attitude we want to show.