Living the Dream

March 14, 2017

From T. R. Williams:

Sometimes, being County Executive is a lot of fun. One of those times was last Tuesday, when I read to a classroom of fourth graders at Ingram Sowell Elementary. Besides feeling overdressed (it was pajama day), it was one of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had lately.

How was I inspired by a group of fourth graders? The book I read was Michael’s Golden Rules, written by Michael Jordan’s mother Deloris and sister Roslyn. The story was about a losing baseball team but the fact that the main character, Michael, was still fulfilling his dream by playing with them.

The book opened up a conversation about dreams and ambitions. Students were eager to share and told me about their plans to become a surgeon, a YouTube star, a vet, a nurse, an animator, and President. One announced the intention to own a pink Lamborghini.

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a child? I dreamed of becoming a professional musician, and I did spend some time doing that. I took a hard look at the effect that lifestyle would have on my young family, though, and have no regrets about my choice to play music part-time, closer to home.

Sometimes life demands that we adjust our dreams, but life can also give us new ones. As an employee of Murray Ohio, I had supervisors who saw something in me I didn’t see in myself, and they encouraged me to take advantage of the college program the plant offered. Some days it nearly killed me to see my buddies leaving work when I was headed for a classroom, but the faith others had in me kept me at it.

Those men were my mentors in every way, and their support helped give me the drive to finish college, the courage to become a pastor, the skills to start a business, the desire to help my community, and the passion to serve as County Executive.

We may not see a YouTube star emerge from today’s fourth grade at Ingram Sowell, but I’m convinced we will see many great things. The key is that children be encouraged, helped to know that they are capable of following their ambitions wherever they lead. My mentors had a tremendous effect on my life, and we can all do the same for someone else.

Every dreamer must begin their journey with a good education. That’s why a dedicated team of people in this community is working hard to establish a four-year college here. Our vision is a facility that would house traditional college and technical courses, giving students a wider range of choices than a single institution can. Offering those courses in Lawrence County will help more of our residents follow their dreams, even when life gives them new ones.

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