From the Editor

by Carolyn Trower

A few cars dot the small-town streets now in Ralls County. Some of the specialty stores in Perry and Hannibal are opening their doors in preparation for the upcoming holiday. Local restaurants have begun to offer dine-in services once again. Church doors are open. All, of course, have COVID-19 restrictions, but it is nice to be able to get out once again.
School kids have finished cleaning lockers and turning in end-of-year check lists. The third Mark Twain football athlete has signed with the hope of a college football season this fall. From what I’ve read, there still are no definite plans in place for opening high schools or colleges this fall. Each one seems to be looking for a made-to-order plan for their school. I can’t remember living in more uncertain times.
I watched Barak Obama’s high school commencement address last Saturday. Actually, I watched 52 minutes of seniors all over the country sing, dance, and give inspirational sound bites; interspersed with celebrities who added their own sage advice. Obama spoke for 6 minutes, his written text a little more than 1000 words. Succinct, but powerful. Here are a few of his comments:
“But what remains true is that your graduation marks your passage into adulthood — the time when you begin to take charge of your own life. It’s when you get to decide what’s important to you…
All of which means that you’re going to have to grow up faster than some generations. This pandemic has shaken up the status quo and laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems…
So, if the world’s going to get better, it going to be up to you.
But the truth is that you don’t need us to tell you what to do.
Because in so many ways, you’ve already started to lead.”
I had the pleasure (and some of the pain) of teaching once again a year ago. My faith in teenagers was renewed, if also tested. I know in my heart that despite the bad hand they’ve been dealt they will survive. And I believe that many of them will make the world a better place.
So, even though this is a dismal and frustrating time to live, I don’t believe it’s the end of life as we’ve known it. Adults, too, can grow up and again take charge. We, too, can make our communities a better place. We can be the example our young people need to follow…giving hope, guidance, and the wisdom of our experience. Or we can get out of the way and let them lead.
Here’s to a better tomorrow, whoever is in charge.