Tom Henry



I am thankful for my family

Saturday, November 25, 2017

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts,” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

I love Thanksgiving because it’s a time to take stock of the blessings that God has given us.

While it is true that some homes are much more wealthy than mine, I recognize that many of them do not have the real treasures my family enjoys – love, kindness and support.

A good family is the best blessing one can have - worth far more than gold. You can be a billionaire and not have love, safety, compassion, fellowship, and kindness in your life.

But make no mistake about it good families take work. They never just fall out of the sky…ta dah!

It takes time, effort, selflessness, caring, compassion, communication, trust, sharing and above all honesty. It requires teamwork and leadership. Anything worth having takes effort!

I challenge you to realize that families and hometowns are nearly one and the same. They are both people that have similar history, similar challenges and similar opportunities. They also both have some people that you don’t really like, don’t want to be around, can’t trust and that take advantage of others.

Like a good family, it takes time to make a good hometown. All citizens must invest time into their community in order to make it great. Not only does it take time for improvement, but also to get anything out of it. If you never spend time with your grandparents, you will not benefit from them. If you never spend time at the park, then you will not benefit from them. If you never spend time in the local stores, then you will not benefit from them. If you do not spend time at the local library, then you will not benefit from it.

Good families take effort and work. It takes very little effort to just sit back on high and criticize. But it takes great effort to offer solutions and then to work to effect the change that you wish to see in your hometown or family. Just as the Bible says that faith without works is dead, so to is critique without solutions or sweat equity.

Good families require selflessness. Decisions that are made by a family are made in such a way as to protect the needs of all and to benefit as many family members as possible. Good families really do not function for the benefit of just one or two, to the detriment of all others. Nether do good hometowns.

Good families require caring and compassion. No good families will take a cruise or live “high on the hog” while they know that their other family members (though working hard and playing by the rules) still starve, go homeless or live in a car.

Good families must have communication, trust and honesty. There must be dialogue in all directions. Family leaders must give direction, vision and edification to those under their care and the children must communicate back to their elders to keep them informed, to give back, to share needs and to build trust and relationship. A good hometown is no different.

It takes sharing. In a good family, those more fortunate always help those that are having tough times – not handouts, but rather a genuine hand up. The elderly are always taken care of, the babies are always nurtured, the homeless or unemployed are taken in and the favors are returned when life devastates in reverse. Likewise good hometowns (not the federal or state governments) take care of their own.

So how does Blytheville stack up as a family?

Trust me, I have a perspective within the city that most don’t get. I see good, bad and ugly from people of all walks of life on a daily basis. So I feel qualified to both ask and answer the question.

There are hundreds of people that devote the majority of their time for Blytheville’s benefit, but some devote none. Overall we are a consistent Volunteer of the Year Award winning city, so we do better than most, but we can do better.

I see acts of selflessness, caring, compassion and sharing every day. But the criminal and selfish acts get more word of mouth. They both should be known.

Blytheville, however, does suffer from extremely bad communication, abundant mistrust and a drought of honesty.

Most of our leaders don’t communicate and some of the ones that do don’t tell the truth because they personally profit from keeping us divided and mistrusting of each other. This has to stop.

Mistrust of our leaders because of patterns of misconduct or possible corruption, along with selfish interest is warranted. But to mistrust another family member just because of the color of their skin, the church they attend or the school/group they support is just plain stupid.

We are all in this together. To see another family member blessed doesn’t take anything away from me. We can both be blessed. Their being blessed just means that I live in a blessed family.

Brothers, sisters…cousins…I am thankful for you. I pray that you are blessed and I strive to be a better family member of yours.