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Last week I drove to North Carolina and back with my sister. Perhaps it was the combination of all those miles on the road, conversations about our families, and listening to books on tape that created several conclusions. Whatever the case or cause, I offer here several random thoughts from the road.
On the nightly network news we hear a lot about urban areas of the country. While the movers and shakers of this world play out their lives in major cities, each of us can still have a significant impact in the communities where we live. What we learn and develop in our rural areas, small towns or cities can be used to help others living in similar locales across the U.S. And let’s not forget that many great leaders came from common settings.
We may not like it and even want to deny it, but regardless of our attitude, the world in which we live is changing rapidly. Ten years ago I would not have been able to call my husband on a cell phone in rural Tennessee and expect him to answer in southwest Missouri. Cell phone usage has increased and coverage improved to the point that one can connect from almost anywhere in the U.S., even from around the world and still make contact with a loved one. This, of course, brings new risks, challenges, and opportunities for business, education, government and families.
Even though the world is changing, people haven’t changed that much. Today we, like our ancestors, continue to desire healthy relationships and happy habitats. We want marriages that last. We long for safe and stable homes. When family relationships aren’t going well, little else matters. Success at work, school or in the community is rarely enough to overcome the emptiness of bitterness, resentment and distance at home.
My great-grandmother lived in Ashley Hollow near present-day Missouri’s Montauk State Park. She determined that area needed a “Sunday school,” so she sent off to David C. Cook Publishing for materials and started one for the area’s children. My grandmother rode a mule 20 miles after finishing a week’s worth of teaching in order to spend time with her family. I don’t know how she managed to grade papers and plan lessons for a room full of children ages 5-14, but she did. Her life was far from easy (think large family, dairy farm and Depression), but she had a joy about her that made her one of my childhood favorites.
Some day in the future, when our loved ones talk about us, what will they say? Will they recall us as optimistic, hopeful people? Will they remember glad and generous homes? Or will they remember us whining and complaining about our “lot in life.” Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give them something good to talk about. If things aren’t going so well at home or in your relationships, begin now to make things better by taking advantage of a relationship education class in your community. To learn more visit www.operationus.org or call (417)823-3469.