Always have been. Always will be. When I was young, I worried about things like killer bees and Russian nukes.
Today, I kind of miss the 1970′s. My list of things to worry about has grown larger and is far scarier than testy insects and Commie missiles. I now worry about my boys’ futures. Which, I figure makes makes me just like the majority of Mississippians.
Don’t get me wrong, living in the Magnolia state has lots of blessings.
We’re raising our kids in a place where our kids are exposed to some good old-fashioned values like importance of friends, family and hard work. My kids have amazing friends and have learned to love the outdoors. They say “yes ma’am and no ma’am.” They show respect for their elders (most of the time). My kids know the importance of faith. And they are (very) blessed to go to great public schools (which makes them very fortunate).
But I worry about the opportunities they’ll have when they graduate and move into adulthood. I pray they don’t have to move away to find to chase their dreams. Or even just find a job.
Because I know what that’s like. I did it. I moved to Texas, California and Mississippi to find my career. And I can only imagine the pain it has caused my parents.
The good news is that we live in changing and exciting times. Technology is rearranging the playing field. The internet makes opportunity available at your fingertips. And I can tell you from experience, we live in a state full of amazingly talented and hardworking people. What I think we lack is the right belief. We’ve been told too long that we’re too dumb, too fat, too whatever. And I’m afraid in some places, that script has choked out hope.
We have to bring the hope back.
I’m not naive. I’ve been covering this state’s problems for nearly two decades. And I know some of them are mind numbingly difficult to overcome. I just believe that it’s time for us to take control of what we can control. We must step forward and show the world how rich our talent truly is. It’s time for us to herald the dreamers. The achievers. The people who make life better and more interesting for all of us. It’s time to promote the opportunity here and make it grow.
I can’t do much about killer bees and Russian missiles. But I can work to make this a better state for opportunity.
Not just for me. For my kids and their futures.