“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
As a little girl, one of my favorite rhymes was “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Imagining the possibilities empowered by a simple wish spawned all sorts of imaginary journeys dreamed up by my five-year-old mind. I could spend hours daydreaming as “I wish” upon “what if” upon “just imagine” commandeered my thoughts and gave me the motivation to continue with a task that would, otherwise, be too distasteful to tackle.
Half a century later, the “I wish” game still takes over my thought process as I look around and wonder what life would be like if only… The house would be cleaner, the yard covered in a thick natural carpet, and my clothes would say “Size 7” again. I wish my loved ones would not be saddled with the obstacles of aging, our checkbooks would be fat, and life wouldn’t crowd in to the point it’s running you instead of the other way around.
Wishes represent the way we’d like things to be. They represent the perfect existence. Sometimes they represent the title of a volume on my bookcase: “We’d Have A Great Relationship if It Weren’t For You!” by Bruce Derman, PhD. I’ve always loved the title of that book; and the stuff inside is pretty good, too.
Too often, we look at how we’d like things to be, figure out how to cut to the chase in order to achieve the quickest result, and deal with the aftermath later. Then when things don’t work like we thought they would, we have a bigger mess than we had to begin with. If we’d only sit down and take a little time to put the wishes on paper, figure out where we are and the best — though not always the most expedient — method to reach our goal, we would be happier overall with the result.
Locally, our citizens are being faced weekly with issues that, I’m afraid, are the result of somebody having an idea, but not knowing how to put the thing into a plan. It addresses a specific issue, but doesn’t take the end result in context with the whole, so we end up with a patchwork quilt of good intentions held together with safety pins. The gaps and unevenness of the connections are created by poor communication of ideas, a sad deficiency of appropriate education and training for volunteers and appointees, and a public demanding the officials think exactly as we do complete with our same motivations and goals. We aren’t sitting down together and asking what is best for everyone, not just my little corner of the world. We set down rules we don’t enforce, subjectively enforce laws and ordinances, and create about as much havoc as if we had no rules at all. The finger pointing starts. The names start flying. Nothing productive happens.
And will somebody please tell me what it is around here with people having a different opinion than you getting blacklisted? If you disagree with someone, the next thing you know, your mother wears Army boots and the personal jabs get uglier and uglier.
“Failure to plan on your part does not constitute a crisis on mine” is a great saying for what is happening throughout our immediate area. I don’t know about y’all, but all of this crisis management is for the birds. The bottom line for the ills of Winder and Barrow County is this: Somebody decided there was no need to spend the time creating a plan to direct the future for the County and its largest City. There is a comprehensive plan, but is anybody using it for anything besides a door stop?
No — we’re not using the plan. We’re just seeing groups meet, talk, meet again next month and talk some more. Crisis #412 crops up, panic ensues, and decisive action is taken – woe is me – to the detriment of some other program. Then another crisis, more crisis management, and more spot action. Why don’t we try looking toward a new year and a new future around here? How hard would it be to put together a cross-section of the community to examine what we have, where we’d like to be, and how to get there? We can wish from now til Doom’s Day, but until we start creating and following a plan with smart goals and community-based direction, we will just be wasting more valuable time and we’re already wa-a-y behind the curve with relation to our neighbors.
We have to get this wagon out of the ditch. Wishing won’t make it so.
Helen Person is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal.
And the "cross-section" of citizens would be those native to Barrow County who have all the answers, I'm sure. Those that have made this place "home" but were not inbred here would not be given the time of day let alone have their voices heard. Sorry, Helen, but nothing will work until you quite referring to yourself & your friends as "Native Barrow Countians".