Thank you! These are two words that we don’t say enough; and for you, the readers of this column, I thnk it’s overdue. Hard to believe, but this Giving Back column now has surpassed four years of being published in The Commercial Appeal. Overall, we’re into our seventh year, as the column originally kicked off back in 2010. Quickly doing the math, that’s more than 330 columns thus far, which is a bit humorous because going into it, I thought it would only be a handful of articles.
Turns out, though, that because of your support, your engagement and letters to the editors, we’ve been able to spotlight hundreds of nonprofits, organizations, and individuals who are leading by example and making a difference. We’ve been able to share the GOOD and to share the lessons learned along the way with opportunities to get more involved, so we can magnify our efforts and impact together.
This weekly column has led to two books that explore how to grow personally and professionally through servant leadership and helping others. And, the books’ proceeds have been returned to the community in support of local youth literacy programs. The column has helped nonprofits raise money, connect with new volunteers and board members, and even served to complement the curriculum for high school and college classes. It’s been an amazing journey, but here’s what I want you to take away: It’s never been easy.
Growing up, I was the kid who would rather be playing sports than reading or writing. After college, I fell in love with reading, but writing just doesn’t come naturally to me. It takes me an hour to write something my brilliant wife, with her Ph.D., could probably type in 10 minutes. In fact, there are many nights where she’ll be typing away on her computer writing a report for work while I sit next to her staring at a blank screen trying to gather my thoughts.
So, having a weekly writing deadline isn’t easy for me. But here’s the thing, my desire to help others, to serve our community and make a difference overtakes any inclination to give up or struggle to write the right words. I view it as a challenge, not to be the best, but to give it my best. And, I think that’s an important lesson – when we accept that nothing good is accomplished easily, we can free our minds to focus on working hard and giving it our best each day, which ultimately moves us that much closer to realizing our goals and dreams.
So, thank you for reading this column for so many years and for allowing me this unique opportunity to serve you and the city we love! I truly appreciate it!