I know many of you like the summer months because they provide outdoor time and vacation time. I’m one of those people who love the Fall, though, because it gives us that wonderful blue sky, cooler temperatures, fewer mosquitoes and gnats, and football season. I admit that my Fall weekends are usually spent watching games on television, but I also start to take walks (too hot in the summer), enjoy the changing leaves, and begin reflecting on the year that is so quickly passing.
This year as I begin that reflection period, I find myself still somewhat overwhelmed with all the major challenges we are facing. COVID has changed its ugly face (Delta variant) and is still inflicting far too much grief on our citizens. The national and international political divisions and challenges seem greater than ever, tensions remain high over race, cultural, and immigration issues and the economy (especially for poor and near-poor families) continues to be tenuous.
When I find myself worrying about all these big, macro-level issues, I quickly remind myself that my “sphere of influence” is not at that level. In other words, the work I do and the priorities I face daily are more focused on what can be done in this state to make things better for Mississippi’s children, families, and communities. And, that’s the focus most of you work in as well — so, my point is that while those big issues are important and we should be concerned, our real focus and impact is much more limited.
As we reflect and prepare for resolutions for the new year, I encourage us all to think about our “spheres of influence” and let those define the priorities for our work. Meaningful change often comes from the ground level up, so let’s keep working together to create the most positive results possible for Mississippians. We have nothing but opportunities ahead of us, so let’s seize the moment.
Wishing you the best,
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