This week, Ben Pitts asked Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R-GA) to speak to the Carroll County Bar Association (CCBA). Before the lunch meeting, Cagle and I talked about possible topics. I had some boring ideas. He came up with something unique and unexpected; education and the value of all work.
Education is one of those issues that is extremely important to the private and public sectors of our community. Some issues surrounding education can also be controversial.
But, the message delivered to the CCBA was inspirational and non-controversial because of its simple message; whatever you do…..do your best.
For many years, our society has placed certain professions on a platform. Doctors, CEO’s, small to medium business owners, pharmacists, highly educated individuals, and lawyers, (I can’t get into the lawyer jokes for now) have been viewed by many as being “successful.”
Unfortunately, other types of work that do not necessarily require a higher level of education have been looked down by some.
Fathers and mothers have naturally wanted their children to “be better off than the parents.”
But, why does a person have to be in a certain profession or be “better off” than anyone else in order to be “successful?” They do not.
I have difficulty restraining my anger when I see a person “talk down” to court personnel, legal assistants, and other vital men and women within our court system. It happens more than you may realize.
During the presentation, I also thought of a man I have known all my life. His name is John. He cannot read or write. He has provided for his family since the age of 10 by taking care of the manual labor needs of other people. When I was 18, I heard a man call him “boy”, snap his finger at John, and chastise his work in a condescending manner. It was the closest I ever came to striking a grown man without warning. Perhaps I should have.
Cagle also pointed out that each of us have unique talents. Those talents should all be valued when a worker puts those talents to use.
His message centered around providing the right environment for people to succeed whether they want to be a doctor, self-employed plumber, or anything else that the citizen wants to be. Government does not create jobs, but can provide a healthy environment where people can create jobs, work for themselves, and obtain the necessary education needed to use those tools, whether using an ink pen, a computer, or a shovel, to be “successful.”
When I was a small boy, I saw Atticus Finch fight injustice in a small town in the movie, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Finch was criticized and even had his family placed in danger in the movie. But, he did what was right despite popular opinion.
I knew that I wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer at that young age. Yet, opinions, expectations of others, and doubt almost derailed what I now believe is the profession that God chose for me.
As a father, I also know how it feels to want my children to do and be certain things. When Reagan, my 5-year old, told me that he wanted to be a lawyer and have an office right next to me, I smiled.
Yet, my boys may choose to something else with their lives. While it can be difficult for me to stay out of the way, I pray that God will give me the guidance to support my boys regardless of what type of work they eventually choose to do.
Cagle’s message was refreshing because it also placed importance of pursuing dreams. A person’s dreams should never be a reflection of what society, parents, or family history expects. Dreams are a gift from God to be pursued by utilizing unique talents.
Whatever you do, it has value. Do your best with your own gifts.