In just a few hours, the 2010 calendar will be coming off the wall and be replaced by the 2011 version. A new year, 365 days worth of unknowns and challenges. It's exciting, a bit daunting and inevitable. Depending on your inclination towards optimism or pessimism, the New Year will bring what you accept.
But let's think about this year that is wrapping up 2010. It was a year that saw some interesting extremes in weather from excessive snowfalls in the winter months, to a couple of rains that had those folks who search for Noah's original Ark to our area, checking to see if it wasn't tied up by the trestle at Five Island Lake.
We saw some great harvests, along with the advent of a new harvest of corn stover for one of the promises of the future, in the form of cellulosic ethanol production by POET's Project Liberty.
We saw continued excellence in our county school districts, with our youth continuing to succeed and prove that a sound, basic education is still one of the most valuable commodities in our society.
There are several other examples I could cite, but I need to switch gears a little bit at this point.
Even with the difficult economic times our area is working through, there have been positives, and those positives have come about because of hard work. That hard work, by individuals or organizations, has an effect on everyone.
How about a few examples?
- Behind every business is an owner who has spent time and energy coming up with products and services to meet the needs of their customers.
- Behind every satisfying meal at the restaurant of your choice is careful preparation, attention to detail and service by the staff.
- Behind every breathtaking holiday lighting display is the time somebody spent in stringing the lights and their desire to share the joy of the season with their fellow citizens.
- Behind every cleared road or street after a snowfall is the combined effort of the plow operator who clears the snow, the governmental officials who carefully considered budgets to allow for the snow removal, and last but not least, the mechanics and technicians who keep the plows running so they can plow the snow.
- Behind every Honor Roll at school are the efforts of students to study and learn the materials, and the teachers who share their knowledge and passion to educate and help our young people, along with the administrators and staff who work as a team to keep our educational systems among the finest in the world.
- Behind the applause after a concert or dramatic performance are the long hours of rehearsal by the performers and their desire to share their talents with their fellow citizens.
- Behind any successful celebration or event are the countless hours of preparation and effort by those who work hard to make their communities a better place to live, work and grow.
The moral of this is simple there's a story behind every story. Sometimes, there are those who are more comfortable to be "behind the scenes" in everyday life, and there are those who take a more visible role. Every community has these people, and is fortunate to have people who are willing to share of their talents, gifts and ideas to make their world a better place.
But, there are those, in the minority, who will not be involved some who are unable to participate for various reasons, which is understandable. However, there are those who simply refuse to become involved, adopting an attitude that "it isn't worth my time" or "what do I get out of it?"
I know that the idea of a magic Genie in a bottle handing out wishes is not likely to drop into my lap any time soon, but if it were, my biggest wish for be for everyone in our area to join into a sense of community and family It's too easy to find fault, be negative about the efforts that some try to improve our area, and such activities are so counter productive in the long run.
For what it's worth, I don't believe our world will get any better unless we make it so ourselves. We have to be able to address our concerns head-on in the coming year, and be able to think outside the box to arrive at solutions and we can do that. We've faced challenges for many years, we've dealt with those challenges, and we'll continue to deal with challenges for many years to come.