In my mind, to translate a thought into a belief takes action. What this means for me is that if you believe in something strongly enough, it's more than a thought that crosses your mind. Resources are needed. Whether they be in time, money, expertise, effort, or encouraging the support of others; there are many ways to show commitment to a purpose.
I believe in a strong work ethic. This means that I work hard and I am teaching those younger people around me (my own children and those of my family and friends) the value of doing a good job. This also can mean figuring out how to work smarter, not harder. Our 2 year old knows when laundry is folded, it is his responsibility to take his clothes to his bin.
I believe in education. To this end, Farmer Mac's Berries (translate mom and I) created a scholarship program. Through this program that we've now passed along to others to maintain, we have made available tens of thousands of dollars for local area students to attend college.
This year, we took a different approach to the scholarship process. For the past several years, I have led a group of university students to Europe on an agribusiness study tour and Farmer Mac's has provided scholarships when possible. We also created a scholarship mechanism through local Farm Bureau boards that many of our students are able to utilize.
I believe in the power of travel to not only expand the horizons of our young people, but to also expand their minds to be more accepting of different peoples and different cultures. Many of the students had never traveled outside of the state of North Carolina and every one of them came back with a new perspective. Every single participant who was a graduating senior this May said this experience was the highlight of their college career. Changing lives makes all the hassle and frustration so worth the effort! I can truly say that I'm glad to be a teacher.
And I believe in kids. I don't have a page devoted specifically to this topic as it is interlaced within all of them.
I believe in keeping children safe. After 2 years and 3 months of constant effort with DOT and county government, we now have school bus signs and a reduced speed limit coming into Hampstead! What an ordeal that was to accomplish.
We have families in Hampstead who are struggling financially. You don't have to ask around to know this is true. If you aren't from Hampstead, then it's happening in your community too. How does this translate for me?
We have kids at school whose families can't afford to pay for school lunch and who also don't send in food or snacks. Families who did not qualify or even apply for reduced or free lunch based on the fact that they were working and earning money last year or earlier this school year. Situations change. Need changes. I say it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that all school aged kids are fed at least while they are in school custody. I give kudos to the lunch attendants for allowing them to eat on credit when they have a no credit policy. I also say that those of us who can afford to pay for an extra child or two should feel compelled to do so. It doesn't and shouldn't matter whose kid it is, getting one basic meal a day is a responsibility for us all. It also doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, liberal or conservative, some things are just the right thing to do. And no, I can't help them all, but I can help some. I also don't consider this charity. I consider this taking care of your neighbor because it's the right thing to do. Since we started this, some other families are now helping too!
Am I trying to make you a convert? No. There is a but in that sentence. But, if you believe in something strongly enough, you too will feel compelled to take action. Action doesn't have to mean money. It can mean time, caring, commitment in other ways. It can mean making your voice heard even if what you say is not easy or popular. It means not standing by and doing nothing. So I do challenge you to find something you believe in enough to take action. It makes life worth living.