This month we will celebrate George’s ninth birthday at our home. If you have ever met George, you cannot forget him. We lovingly refer to him as our Golden Retriever because he radiates happiness. He has an exuberant and bold personality. We just wrapped up basketball season and John Henry and I have been in his cheering section while Fred has been coaching the team. Short stature and broad shoulders are about all we can gift our children genetically, so George looks more like a linebacker than a basketball player. Although he may not score many points, George puts up a mean defense. You will not see another kid with a bigger smile on his face. He offers plenty of giggles with a fair number of fouls along the way. When he gets the chance to score, it is like he just won the lottery. I will tell him it was because of hard work and practice, but he might say he just got lucky.
The word “luck” is something we toss around with great regularity. We feel lucky when we find a four-leaf clover, when our name is selected in a drawing and on occasions when we think the odds may be stacked against us. Many successful people will credit others who have helped them along the way. There may be an outstanding teacher in your life, someone who invested in your natural abilities, or a parent that pushed you to outwork everyone else. Or, it may be the combined effort of many who support and challenge you.
While driving my kids to school the other day, I asked, “What do you think luck is?” My oldest son, John Henry, is an old soul and immediately responded with, “There really isn’t luck, just Jesus, and since He lives in my heart, I know I am lucky, and all good luck comes from Him.” I did not expect this response, but must admit I felt pretty “lucky” to be his mom. I was really just searching for something to write, but it led to an answer which was much more thought provoking. Do some people just get lucky or is it all the result of natural gifts and hard work? I believe it is the latter, and like John Henry pointed out, what comes naturally to you is often a gift. Do not take these qualities for granted; combine them with hard work and they can be used to your advantage.
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” —Thomas Jefferson
I find joy in seeing people use and succeed in their gifts. It is even more rewarding to see people use their gifts to help others cultivate their own abilities. This is a quality Nicole Brisco, featured in our cover story, exemplifies. She uses her gifts as an artist to develop others, encourage higher-level thinking, build confidence and create curriculum for districts across the nation. I consider myself lucky to raise my children alongside Nicole. She is someone I respect, as she always speaks with wisdom and I value her opinion.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Texarkana Monthly featuring local people whose natural gifts and hard work have left their mark on others through education, self-expression, overcoming injury and turning a vision into a home. Thank you for reading and remember, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”