It was John Fitzgerald Kennedy who said that “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Repairing one’s personal “roof” is one of the things some of our 9th and 10th grade kids have been learning this spring. It is part of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens work and training they have been undergoing while participating in the Mayor’s Youth Commission. Habit 7 for the adult version of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpening the Saw;” that is to say, you need to rejuvenate in order to stay sharp.
For the Highly Effective Teens publication, the habit is broken down into four parts: body, brain, heart and soul. The physical (or body) dimension deals with diet, rest and exercise. The brain dimension obviously speaks of the need for “renewing your mind,” or “minding” your mental health. The dimension of the heart deals with emotional health. As for the soul/spiritual dimension, author Sean Covey suggest that the kids meditate, pray, keep a journal, and take in quality media. Good suggestions, all.
As we chatted about the importance of this for kids, we lamented the fact that we are all just plain moving too fast, and we get way too busy. “Adults and kids need to take time for each other and themselves,” said Mayor Marks. “Things are flying so fast,” he said and then gave me a piece of wisdom that was given him long ago when he was in grad school: “Take time to breathe.”
One of the ways our community has “taken time to breathe” has been through the youth baseball teams. Opening Day was April 5th, and Athens has a record number of teams and players. Of the girls’ softball teams, there are 26 teams and 285 players. Of the baseball teams, there are approximately 450 kids playing, with a few girls interspersed amongst the boys’ teams. “It’s getting the kids off of the couch and computer,” he said, and mentioned how thankful he is for all the adults to volunteer by coaching and supporting the teams. “This is just baseball,” he mentioned. “That’s not even considering soccer or other sports that go on during the year.”
What is the power of a volunteer? The example set on Opening Day of coaching well, teaching sportsmanlike conduct as well as life lessons became a topic on Facebook. A coach of one of the younger teams (who is also a candidate running for political office) so impressed an observer that she said she would vote for him because of how he dealt with the kids on his team.
Perhaps it is because of the quality of life in Limestone County that we are the 65th fastest growing county in the entire nation! One of the proofs of quality of life is what a community does to strengthen parents and their kids who have special needs. April 19th is the Walk for Autism, and we are blessed to have a strong support system for Autistic kids and their parents here in Athens. For more information on how to become involved in the Walk, go to Family Security Credit Union on Hwy 31 across from Pizza Hut, or www.walkforautismal.com.
Our community puts in work all year long fighting cancer through various Relay for Life events, one of the most popular being the Celebrity Waiters event held each year at Applebee’s. The waiters, who included Mayor Ronnie, Councilmen Jimmie Gill, Joseph Cannon, and Chris Seibert, Circuit Court Clerk Brad Curnutt, Athens City Schools Executive Director Terry Roller, TVA employee and local actor Frank Travis, and Fire Chief Tony Kirk, raised a total of $1875.
“But as important as it is to be involved in our community, still, we have to take time,” said the Mayor, and endeavoring to “stay sharp” and in balance is some of what makes Ronnie roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner