Children are our future

Every day, we hear how we as a nation are the greatest country in the world, a world leader, more culturally and socially aware than the rest of the globe. Yet, children in our own backyard go without food. Beyond the need for sustenance to maintain life, a healthy diet is directly tied to mental, emotional, and educational development as well.

How could it possibly be something so important could go unattended by so many?

Whenever there is a disaster somewhere around the globe — earthquake, tsunami, famine — the money pours out of Washington and our national coffers in the billions for aid. On the moral compass, it is the right thing to do, but it seems we have selective memory and forget the old saying that “charity begins at home.”

So why is it we choose to ignore our children in favor of making donations only when there is media coverage or outcry on social media for help? Is it shame that causes us to turn a blind eye, or is it a state of denial wrought from the misconception if a problem isn’t acknowledged it will go away? Or are you thinking it’s just someone else’s responsibility — a parent or guardian for example?

It may be you have never gone hungry and have no point of reference. Either way, you need to find some perspective.

A percentage of these same children, who are still at an age when their lives may be pointed in a positive direction, will still be here years from now, except the problem then will be something more costly and in most cases irreparable. These children will learn to survive, just not within the law. In 10 years the discussion might be about the number of young people in the county with addiction to drugs or criminal records.

A few will be motivated and go on to make great contributions to our local community. But how wise is it to sit back and wait, hoping the years they spend with empty stomachs and even emptier dreams will create the heartwarming success stories you often hear?

The investment in a child is an investment in the future. It is an investment in life, and while there may be no immediate gratification, the change in the community over the years will be positive, sparking ingenuity, entrepreneurial vigor, and an understanding of empathy and compassion that could span generations.

Charity does indeed begin at home, and this is your home, Pickens County, all 700-plus square miles of it. These are your children and their future directly affects your own. So what will you do now?

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