Another Chance

Photo Credit: Healing Stars
Photo Credit: Healing Stars

We stand at the doorstep of a new and uncertain year. Its novelty is defined by what is unknown. Incipient answers cannot resolve the range of questions, which shall rule these coming months:

Who will be elected President of the United States?

Will ISIS be contained and defeated?

Will we find Malaysian Airlines Flight 370?

What football team will win Super Bowl 50?

Will the Red Sox have a chance at the World Series?

What horse will win the Kentucky Derby?

What country’s Olympic team takes home the most medals at Rio de Janeiro?

Who takes home the Nobel Peace Prize?

What cast will star in the highest grossing movie?

Will Congress enact a balanced budget for the next fiscal year?

Will Steve Harvey host the Miss Universe Pageant again next year?

As we forge ahead, only passing time can deliver its enduring consolation. Yet public administrators must seize this prodigious opportunity to evaluate personal and professional aims.

Known for his 13 moral virtues, Benjamin Franklin forever reminds us, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

The quest for a brighter world begins with improving ourselves, for is not the world experienced only through each of us? We will choose what mark our actions shall leave upon the world in this pending year whether best described as a ripple, a scratch or a cobblestone path.

A growing sense of fear increasingly pervades America. We have seen our country’s children face saturated media coverage and have had to decide how we talk to them about ISIS and terrorism. Those issues may seem far afield from our own idyllic childhood reminiscences.

We hear our peers muse about what sort of world their children will inherit. We may still even wonder whether or not “There’s reason to believe/Maybe this year will be better than the last…”

We’ve listened to a slew of television debates showcasing candidates who vie for America’s highest office, all of whom have very divergent visions for our future. Like it or not, the winning contender will define that direction as America’s newest commander in chief.

bowns dec 2
Photo Credit: University of Texas Austin

We stand before a long hallway filled with choices, bordered by doors waiting to open. With the New Year’s symbolic renewal comes another chance to say those things we held back before.

We can choose to stand as workplace and community leaders who dig deeper to hear their inner conscience. We can choose to heed its gentle pleading to speak out more loudly more often. As time carries us forward, we can hope to make the right choices or at least try to make better ones.

President George Washington’s first State of the Union address noted, “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness…To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways – by convincing those who are entrusted with the public administration that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people…”

In parsing knowledge from information, what has this waning year taught us, and what do we do with it now? Where is our own “enlightened confidence?” Remember that it is ours to find.

bowns dec 3
Photo Credit: University of Southern California

Actor John Wayne’s words also immortalize an inveterate truth:

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”


Submitted by Jason Bowns

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