I was all set to write this week on the sequester but then, as things sometimes happen, I got sidetracked on another topic. I figured that there's always time for political rhetoric but this column is somewhat of a follow-up from last week's trip down memory lane. I was talking to a friend at the Crowder 50th anniversary celebration and a name out of my distant past came up – Hugh Ramsay, Sr.
Forty years ago I was a member of DeMolays which is a young men's organization sponsored by the Masons. Neosho no longer has a Chapter but in the 70s it was still a strong organization that was a big part of my life for several years. Advisors were referred to as "Dads" and Dad Ramsay was one of the men who had a profound impact on me.
Along with Dad Joines, he challenged me to be better than I ever thought I could be. At that time I wasn't real confident in myself but those two men took me under their wing and apparently saw something in me that I hadn't. They set high standards for me and held me accountable to those standards. I can truly say that I have achieved what I have in life in large part because of them.
But, they were not there just for me but were also active in the lives of the other young men in DeMolay. I was one of the fortunate ones because I also had a strong and supportive family so these two men didn't so much fill a "gap" but rather provided me additional encouragement that I could do anything I wanted in life.
When I started thinking about Dad Ramsey and Dad Joines I couldn't help but also think about all the other adults that had a profound impact on shaping who I was to become. People my age and older who went to Neosho High School will remember Mrs. Coker who taught freshmen civics. She was a small lady in stature but huge in the respect that she garnered and gave me the foundation in government that is now such a big part of my life.
I can't help but think about Gary Sims who was the advisor for the high school student government group. My first attempt at getting elected to anything was when I ran for student body president. I didn't win but Mr. Sims encouraged me to run for Senior Class President and I was successful in that election. I guess that was my start in politics even if it wasn't partisan politics.
And today, as I go about town I continue to run into so many people who impacted me in special ways – Mr. Hively, Mr. Goade, Dr. Shaver, Lewis Cole, Bennie Moore just to name a few. And, there are many, many more who in some way have made me who I am today.
Page 2 of 2 - And, here's the ironic part – I doubt if many of these people I named ever really gave much thought about their role in my development. They didn't think that they were doing anything special – they were just doing what they thought was right but in doing so they impacted more lives than they will ever know.
The point in all of this is that we never know when something we say or do will have a profound impact on someone – both in good ways and in bad. I know that there have been things that I have done that have helped and things that have hurt people. For the good I give thanks and for the bad I apologize.
This column is titled "Standing in the Gap." Every day we have opportunities to do just – to stand in the gap and make a difference. That difference is usually something small in our eyes but could be huge in the view of those being impacted. We can either seize those opportunities or we can let them slip away. And many times we don't even realize that they are there.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity and I am ashamed of how many of those moments I personally waste. Carpe diem is Latin for "seize the day". I challenge each of you to seize the day and realize that today you are probably going to make a difference in someone's life – we just need to make sure that it is for the positive and not the negative.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.