I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself so engaged in issues and questions that it is easy to not think often about purpose. We take for granted the value of individual tasks and assume their relevance.
Cities build roads, bridges, water infrastructure, wastewater facilities, traffic signals and signs. Cities train and maintain police officers and firefighters. Laws are created and repealed. A host of actions are debated, analyzed and scrutinized.
Nevertheless, how often do we ask for what purpose? How often do we ask ourselves why? How do our actions serve a greater good?
Last week, on Monday and Wednesday, I gratefully received a reminder of why all of us attempt to build a better future. Monday the 12th, I attended the Arts Roar program of Washington City Schools. I saw and heard children from the second grade to seniors express themselves; via visual art and music.
In some cases, the message was individual expression. However, the act of using visual art to express a viewpoint is sharing. In the mind of the artist an idea lives; the artist uses imagination, craft and skill to share with us that idea. Thought is translated by effort into reality.
In the case of music the collective experience is grasped in the moment of performance. Again, the action of interest is people sharing of themselves with the community. Music on a page has not ceased to exist, but it is a person that breathes into the music life.
On Monday the 12th, our young people shared with us a positive support message of pride. That my friends is why a city builds, why laws are passed and repealed and why a host of actions are debated and analyzed. Simply, it’s not about you, your career or your prospects, it’s about making life a little better for the person that comes along next.
I know that is a simple way to view the world. Many questions in life are complicated. However, our motivation need not be philosophical or worse, an ideological abstract. We need not confuse truth.
On Wednesday the 14th, Shlokaush Shah and Eli Lynch, students of Washington City Schools visited with City Council and the message was again clear. A positive, supportive message of people helping other people. No gimmicks or metaphysics. Two young gentleman asking and receiving a proclamation about paying forward positive actions.
I like water infrastructure, police departments, street departments, wastewater facilities, fire departments and cemeteries. Nevertheless, I know that the attitude of people toward their fellow citizens has tremendous influence on our future together. I am proud of Washington Court House and Washington Court House City Schools, I am proud of our young people and or willingness to invest in our community.
If you can’t find pride in anything, please reconsider your thoughts. In the few words of Bob Dylan I understand, “the times, they are a changing.”
Joe Denen is the City Manager of the City of Washington Court House.