EDITORIAL: Assessing where we’ve been, determining where we’re going
2018 is 24 days old, and already we’ve had snow, ice and school closings. Laurens County also has had - and will continue having this month - annual meetings, health seminars and membership growth events.
It’s all part of something communities go through annually - assessing the past year and deciding the direction for a new year. This reflection and goal setting is important, but time for it is at a premium in today’s hustle-bustle world. In January, there barely seems to be enough days in the month, much less hours in the day for simply sitting - and thinking, “This is where I have been. This is where I want to go.”
Thankfully, organizations still try, attempting to get the year off on a good, informational footing. So, look at this month - we have had, and will have:
-- Clinton High School open house, and Chromebooks seminar;
-- 41st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, of the Laurens County NAACP, at Springfield Baptist Church in Laurens; this event is timed to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national celebration, which also is observed by the Thomas Sanders High School Alumni Association, at the current Sanders Middle School in Laurens, and by Presbyterian College with activities and a convocation in Edmunds Hall.
-- Laurens County Development Corporation annual meeting, at Musgrove Mill Golf Club;
-- Reception for new Clinton City Manager Bill Ed Cannon at the MS Bailey Municipal Building;
-- Laurens County Community Theatre, “Lying in State,” at the Gillam Center;
-- Clinton Little Devils football recognition dinner, at First Baptist Church;
-- Laurens County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, at Presbyterian College;
-- Bobby Brock Legacy Foundation annual dinner, a fund-raiser for Clinton High School basketball;
-- Cancer 101 educational seminar, a partnership of the Laurens County Cancer Association and GHS-Laurens County Memorial Hospital;
-- Membership Drop-in of the Laurens County Museum, at The Witherspoon Building in downtown Laurens; and
-- Eat Right-Clinton Community Garden health enhancement program at Friendship AME Church.
Each one of these events carries with it a time of looking back over successes and a deep, burning desire to do more, to improve the community day-by-day. It’s difficult to realize it - what with planning, and attending, and finding a babysitter - but these community gathering are a glue of the community. Very few people will attend all these events - maybe a mayor, or a very intrepid county council or school board member, or state lawmaker - but even attending just some, or going to a church event, basketball game, show or concert, or dinner with friends breaks us out of our own “little bubble” - that, after all, is what community is, a coming together of like-minded people.
Our divisions, it seems, are sometimes so deep, on an economic, national or world level. We hardly ever engage - constructively - someone “the other side of the aisle.” We need to do that, of course, but if we can’t, binding together like-minded people for a common cause of community good is the next best thing.
Notice, we said, “community good” - like-minded people binding together for hate and evil, just go somewhere else.
Or, better yet, splinter yourselves in a million tiny, ugly pieces. No real community wants you.
We need people of vision and perseverance, who see a community enhancement and go for it, overcoming every obstacle. It never gets any easier - picking up a community by its bootstraps, dusting it off and setting it on a path to success. Just as it’s never really easy planning for the future growth of a community on the move. Laurens County has both of those, and the more common ground we can find, the more likely we are to be successful in the long run.
So - meet, dine, laugh, sing, compete, cheer, work together, tell stories, take pictures, just enjoy the ride. It’s not a burden, it’s a God-given privilege.