Christmas is fast on its way, and as usual, I'm not ready. This year, there's more of an excuse - I haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. There was a stomach virus in our house over the holiday; and therefore, no gobbling took place. I am very thankful, however, that the virus has passed, and we are all healthy.
My sons and I did visit the Old Frontier to view the Christmas light display last weekend. The weather was actually cool, and that helped to spark our Christmas spirit. Others in the community are already experiencing the real spirit of Christmas. Several churches have held shoe-box packing events to send gifts to unfortunate children around the world. And Matt Funk stopped by our office today to sign up the youth of First Methodist Church to sponsor our Angel Tree program.
For the program, a local needy child is represented by an angel ornament on our Christmas tree. Those who wish to help can come choose an angel (or call and get the info over the phone) and then shop for gifts for that child. Then return those gifts to The Mirror, and we will deliver them close to Christmas. The Mirror receives names of children from the McDuffie County Boys and Girls Club and the Department of Family and Children's Services. For those of you who had too much to be thankful for last week, the Angel Tree is a neat opportunity to help out youngsters who didn't have as much.
Finally, during interviews this past week, I heard a couple of pieces of advice that caught my attention. The first came from Dearing Elementary Principal Laura Hughes, who just earned her doctorate degree. Dr. Hughes' story was encouraging, because the task seemed overwhelming to her, yet she stuck with it. Her pride was evident, but not overwhelming, and her excitement was contagious. Dr. Hughes is living proof that "anything is possible if you just put your mind to it."
The other comment came from a mother who put it in her mind that her son was not going to take the wrong path in life. Cynthia Smith, who has seven children, was experiencing trouble with her oldest son, Ricardo, who was making some bad choices. Ms. Smith looked for alternatives for her son and didn't stop until he was sponsored in the cadet program with the local fire department.
Under the encouragement of his mentors, Terence Favors and Ed Lewis, Ricardo is now on the right path to success.
Ricardo said "Folks see me in a positive way now," which has changed his attitude as well. While credit should go to the fire department and mentors, I think Ricardo's mom deserves a spotlight. "The worst thing you can do is give up on them," she said.