Lessons from My Mother

Mother’s Day was Sunday, and I made a phone call to my own parents and thanked them again for all the support they have offered over the years. My mother has always been an inspiration and an example for me. I recall when she’d come home from her job as a schoolteacher, fuming about some school administrator who’d made a decision she thought was mistaken. It wasn’t the bad decision that made her upset, so much as the fact that when she pointed out the problems with the decision, she felt brushed off. It turns out that I took after my mother. I’ve had more than one medical administrator become displeased with me when I persisted in showing them that they had opportunities for improved performance in making sure patients got what they needed. I wasn’t very popular at times, just like my mother’s experiences. That can be the price of principle, and my mother taught me that when something important is at stake, it is a price worth paying.

My parents, like the citizens of Tennessee District 1, want a future for the next generations that is bright. My mother was willing to step up and speak up for improvement in the educational system in her community just like we all need to stand up, speak our values, and vote for a better future for those who come after us.

Future generations of East Tennesseans have much to be concerned about. The massive and growing federal debt will be a drain on the future—each American’s personal share of the national debt is over $60,000. In East Tennessee, what’s good for the environment is good for the economy, but unfortunately, we have leaders who feel we need to pick one or the other. The current generation has a duty to pass down healthy air, water, and natural beauty to the next generations. We need to make sure that our local educational systems teach the skills needed both to excel in the economy of the future and to participate as citizens in our democratic republic. We need to ensure that our local healthcare systems are strong and secure so that all can receive the healthcare they need, now and in the future.

Let’s respect the legacy and lessons of good stewardship that were passed down to most of us by our parents. To do so, we must be good stewards of our families, our communities, and our country. Our children and future generations deserve no less.