If we think that the fight for liberty is entirely on the steps of the capital, whether in Little Rock or Washington we are misinformed and misguided. The fight for liberty lies first and foremost in the hearts and minds of the citizens.
Being just a week from Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner I want to encourage you as you and your family prepare, sincerely consider your neighbors and community.
There’s no denying that now, more than any other time in my 44 years of life, people are in financial stress. In Arkansas nearly half a million people live in poverty. A recent published study shows Arkansas had the highest percentage of residents who lack consistent access to nutritious and well-balanced meals during the past three years while more than half of children enrolled in Arkansas’ public schools depend on free or reduced-price meals.
Arkansas children rank third worst in the nation with 26.9 percent living in poverty in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. I read in the paper on Monday that 772 homes were scheduled for foreclosure in October just in Washington and Benton Counties alone. Wool, according to Bloomberg, has gone up 70 percent already this year and retailers like Gap, Wal-Mart and Penny’s may soon have to raise clothing prices upwards of 30 percent.
Then there is gasoline at the pump jumping 4.5 percent nationally and KFSM reported: “AAA says in just the last week Arkansas gas prices have risen by nearly seven cents a gallon, to an average of $2.67. In Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, it’s even higher. The price per gallon is up nine cents.” On April 5th a study reported that Arkansas was the 10th most dangerous state to live in.
Seems like everywhere you look there is bad news unless you consider this a wonderful opportunity to truly engage in our communities and become even more deeply and personally connected with our neighbors. We also need to invest in our families not necessarily with money, but with our friendship and our time.
If our families are strong and our education is strong our crime rate also will drop. Everything in society becomes better with strong families and caring communities. It is vitally important for us to shore up our communities, whether you think there are rougher times ahead or just to cure the effects of what has
happened thus far.
So consider inviting your neighbors and less fortunate people to your home for a warm meal and a time of fellowship. Think about serving at a soup kitchen, donating to a shelter. You can adopt a family through your church or civic group for the holidays. Most would agree that giving gifts is far more rewarding that receiving them.
One more unsolicited suggestion ~ this year our family will concentrate more on needs than on wants. Different times call for different perspectives and measures~