Wednesday, January 23, 2008
This week, under a tribute post to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on jacksonfreepress.com, reader "justjess" shared a story about keeping his dream alive. She told the story of her friend in Chicago speaking to a group of young men and women. There was no victim stranglehold in her message, which was essentially a call to be the best.
The theme, justjess said, was "Wake up! Stop dreaming and start doing." Her friend urged the young people to get past the arrogance of not wanting to work hard to be the besturging them to stop "expecting to be given something without labor or service." She urged them to get past "our strong sense of entitlement"; to "stop dogging out your elders (and) go out and buy a franchise or start your own."
That message is apropos for this, the sixth annual Best of Jackson issue. Every year, Jackson Free Press readers honor businesses and people of Jackson who dare to work very hard to be the best. They take risks; they are passionate; they dodge criticism; they dare to be optimistic about their chances in a state where believing we're inferior and focusing on trivial pursuits is a near-epidemic.
It is a message that drove the creation of this newspaper, and our popular Web site and forum for reader conversation. It is a belief that gives this paper enough pride to dare to put our work up for national awardsand then win. It is a meme that encourages our readers to challenge us and other media when we are not being the hard-hitting media that smart and engaged Mississippians needand that in turn encourages our state's residents to dig in and fight the worthy scrap of being the best state, not the worst.
The truth is, being "the best" is not about entitlement, or privilege or family background. It comes down to hard work, reliability and self-esteem. It comes down to doing, and reading, something several times until it is "the best." It comes down to showing up for the task, and working long hours, rather than rotting in front of yet another reality TV show. It comes down to learning to relax and caring for one's health so one has the energy to show up to be the best. It comes down to understanding that the best never whine; they tackle problems head-on.
The Jackson Free Press' call to action in this editorial is a simple one, and it goes to every person reading this. Think big. Show up. Work hard. Don't complain. Believe in yourself. Live to be the best.
And most importantly: Teach what you know. Being the best only matters so much unless you share the tricks of the trade with your fellow Mississippians.
Right on!!!!!! Right on!!!!!!! Right on!!!!!!
Powerful! We appreciate you all, JFP.
Thanks, Kacy. We appreciate all of you, too. ;-) It's a big week for us and the city. The future is very bright because so many people are coming together to make it that way.
How can I say this... DONNA IS CRUNK!!! :-P