Children. Whenever most people talk of our future, when giving consideration to potential failures and successes, an important part of the dialogue usually centers around how decisions will impact our children. Restructuring Social Security and Medicare immediately sparks debate about the effect any such measures will have on future generations.
When the national spotlight shines on any harm borne upon our progeny, we Americans typically react much like a mother bear. How seriously we take the responsibility as "society's matriarch" is displayed whenever a crisis touches our tiniest souls. The support poured upon the families of Newtown, Connecticut, after that recent tragedy proves this point, if it needs any confirmation at all.
While we recognize how our children are our most precious commodities, in Alice and communities like ours across the nation, not enough people stand ready to serve as the caretakers of these small but priceless jewels.
No other place is this more evident than looking at the interest in the one place where development of young minds is most important; our local schools and their boards. Because school board positions are filled through the electoral process, serving in these positions often become too political with the priorities sometimes being more about power and control and less about qualifications and service.
For the Alice Independent School District (AISD), May 2013 marks another critical point in the development of a new attitude for the system attempting to be instilled at every level by new Superintendent Dr. Grace Everett. For those who have not had the opportunity of meeting her and discussing her views on child development and the responsibility and accountability she places on teachers, you are missing something spectacular.
The AISD is the largest employer in Jim Wells County. It is by far the highest taxing entity in the county. And its commodity is our most prized possession, our kids. However the district seems to receive far less attention from citizens during election time than the Alice City Council, with which it holds joint elections. Most of the talk on the street is who is the latest person picking up an election packet from City Hall - with almost no mention of who has expressed an interest in filing for school board.
Interesting how different the level of concern is over the AISD's leadership now than expressed when we must hire a new head football coach.
I encourage citizens to get involved in the process, and ensure your voice is heard.
And to those who volunteer their time to serve, attempt to make a difference. Do it with an open mind and the right reasons. With four positions of the seven-member board up for election, who is chosen will have critical influence on an important time in the entity's development and implementation of its new attitude. March 1 marks the deadline for filing for a spot on the ballot.
The decision to offer for public service in an elected position - when service is truly the intent - is not easily made. Nor should it be.
You do not have to be rich to serve. We are fortunate to live in a country where the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich may serve together for the common good. You do not have to be a rocket scientist, just have the ability to make good decisions based on what you believe to be best.
You do not have to be powerful; often abuse of power is what leads to corruption. If you are honest, you will not get rich in politics. You do not have to be a politician, just someone who cares for our children and our community.
Do not not run because you fear losing - when the public is given the right to choose, we all win. And if you are elected, chances are if you do the right thing often enough, you'll have people upset with you who will work to replace you. Realize it is okay to lose an election - people are not elected for life. However, if your intent is only to get re-elected, then you better have good physical balance because much of your time will be spent fence-sitting - and you will not be respected by many.
Be prepared to hear criticism from the media and those who are unhappy with a decision you participated in, or untruths spoken by your opponents.
If you are fair and full of integrity, chances are you will lose more friends than you gain by your refusal to succumb to pressure or grant political favors. If you devote the needed time to do the job right, your relationship with your family may be strained, as you will not give them all the time you once did.
While the sacrifices are many, the rewards are incalculable. By serving your community, you become part of a vessel that is carrying all of us, quickly, ahead into this new forefront. The decisions made by our leaders now will determine our condition once we arrive.
Tony Morris is an award-winning columnist and publisher emeritus of alice24-7. You may reach him by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.