by Jimmy Pharr
Pittsboro, NC – I’m a bible professor, former owner of three businesses, and a personnel manager. I’m not a politician. I am governed by biblical and conservative principles, whose priorities are the God who created me, the wife He gave me, the children He loaned me, and a desire to serve them all and others put in my path.
Ida and I have three (grown) children, two with special needs – both attended Chatham public schools. Two grandchildren are attending them now. So, l am a strong advocate for school safety, quality, and choice. In my 14 years teaching at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC), every private and home schooled student made As and were at the top of my classes – others did too, but all of those were.
But, my hardest school battle was trying to get my son with CP into our public elementary school. They were OK with it, but all the professionals were not. After two IQ tests scores of 68, which we rejected, and other criteria, their “expert” view was that Trey was totally incapable of ever succeeded academically, socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We had a fight on our hands and an uphill battle, but we were adamant. The experts eventually and reluctantly backed down and Trey, despite many surgeries, went to Pittsboro Primary. Many four to six hour homework sessions that would normally take one to two followed. By middle school he was doing it on his own and making good grades. By high school at Northwood, he made all Ad’s, won numerous awards, was basketball manager, socially well-liked by all, and earned Eagle Scout! At NC State, Trey made the Dean’s list four of eight semesters, all while working in the basketball and football offices. Today, he has a successful career in the IT field. So I’m big on parents knowing their kids and what’s best for them. He also had great teachers and a supporting church family.
I firmly support law & order, law enforcement and first responders; the safety of citizens is government’s top duty. By listening, I’ve learned we hire and train deputies (and jailers), only to lose them to counties with higher pay. I want them paid more.
Jobs. Chatham has been a “bedroom community”, but many want to work here and have good jobs. That is only possible by attracting business and industry here, rather than them choosing elsewhere. When we looked for a second location for our retail business, taxes, rents, and regulations affected our decision. (We chose Sanford.) They are attracted by lower taxes and reasonable regulations.
Success. Parents want their children (and themselves) to succeed. Life has always had, and will have, adversity, suffering, obstacles, roadblocks. If anyone has not yet faced severe adversity, they will. Two options will emerge. One is very tempting as water runs downhill, taking the path of least resistance – we want our pain stopped! Some will encourage and promote what a victim you are; then how they can help you live in it by giving you what you need to survive. Then push the absurd notion of eliminating the source of it.
There is a second option.
While persuasion might change some minds, only God can change the heart. Mankind’s biggest problem has always been pride – a heart problem. Pride’s only remedy will always be humility. God will change a heart that humbles itself to Him.
While programs give some relief, there is a better life out there. That opportunity is achievable. It requires a certain attitude. Adversity, suffering, obstacles are real, are hard and painful, but millions have overcome them and will continue to do so. Helen Keller said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” “Safety nets” are essential for those physically and mentally unable to do for themselves; and seniors on fixed incomes and the elderly. Others may at times need temporary help until back on their feet, but remaining in a meager existence instead of being productive will not get that better life; a rich, fulfilling, successful one dreams are made of. Getting it is to be elevated up to it and out of just getting by. True self-esteem comes from achievement, from accomplishment.
Once a heart change and an attitude change that dreams and goals can be realized; an important step for overcoming life’s obstacles is to wisely pick role models. Ones who fit your particular circumstance. And, if money is your issue, adopt the attitude that, “being broke is temporary, being “poor” is a state of mind”.
A next step is that “Success is when Preparation meets Opportunity”. One must prepare. That requires the biblical (and secular) models of willpower, free will – freedom to make choices, and work – hard work. Studying, researching, learning, acquiring skills, abilities and knowledge; are necessary but doable. Hard work, making choices and applying willpower to stay the course and avoid the temptations to not work hard or to succumb to poor choices.
I’ll close by adding that this “preparation” tool is in two parts. One is for our kids of school age for getting ahead of the game. The other is for adults past that who have either made poor choices and/or been dealt unfortunate blows. My 14 years at the community college has seen many of those, and they are courageously attempting to rebuild their lives or start over. Many have baggage, but they have understood that there is that better life, that it can be realized; and regardless of the obstacles, they are determined to overcome.
They are setting goals, dreaming dreams again, keeping their eyes on the prize, and they will succeed!! Attitude, proper role models, goals and dreams, a preparation plan – and all include surrounding yourself with a positive, supportive “circle of influence,” of which God is at center.
Finally, we must recognize our real enemy. Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers, rulers of darkness, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”.
Jimmy Pharr is a candidate for the Chatham County Board of Commissioners.