Merry Christmas to everyone.
‘Tis the season to take a breath from our daily grind and focus on what matters most to each of us. The beauty of celebrating this time of year in the greatest country on earth is that we all enjoy the individual freedom to make that personal decision about our values. For me, what matters most this time of year is faith, family and an appreciation for all the blessings in my life.
Each of us typically spends much of our year chasing personal and professional goals that can consume us in every way. Here at LABI, we are always pushing hard to develop and promote the philosophy that pro-business policies and decisions by elected officials will help our beloved state reach its full potential. We are steadfast and aggressive in this belief and work diligently at fulfilling this vision each and every day. We feel our mission is important and will help make a difference in the lives of many.
In the course of our work, we often have to strenuously distinguish ourselves from others who love Louisiana just as much as we do, but with a starkly different perspective on how to help it reach its potential. This debate can be intensely direct and competitive at times and professionally cordial at others, but the very existence of the continuing debate and civil discourse is always a wonderful example of why this country is so special.
One of the best attributes of the liberating freedom and independence we have as citizens of the greatest country in the world is that each of us is allowed and encouraged to openly disagree, argue and compete for the future of this country. It is this gift from our Founding Fathers more than any other that places our personal future in our own hands.
In America, we control our own destiny more than any other nation. That has led to some messy moments and bad decisions over the years, but has also led to fantastic accomplishments that have benefitted the world in countless ways. The never-ending, excessive debate which surrounds us 24/7 can be crass and annoying at times, as we all too often forget that spirited debate can be strong and effective while also being civil and respectful.
At times, it would benefit us all to look for role models in our life to show us how to best utilize this freedom by standing firmly for our beliefs while also being compassionate toward our fellow man. Americans have always been encouraged to defend their beliefs, fight for the independence of others, and respect their fellow man since they are all created equal and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
My dad was a great example of someone who loved his creator and his country, enjoyed the freedoms given by both and respected his fellow man very much. He was born on Christmas Day in 1943 and would have turned 71 years old this week. Instead, he peacefully passed away a few days short of that milestone and, in doing so, finally gets to blow out the candles with his savior who shared that same birthday.
I am proud to have known him and am lucky to have had him as a father. He always stressed the importance of family, community, compassion and integrity. He embodied those values in everything he did and that has always been a source of inspiration for me and countless others who knew him. He navigated through life’s peaks and valleys to accomplish great things professionally and personally, and always did so with a quiet strength that reflected the gentle and humble nature of his personality. He was an exceptionally nice man who truly touched the lives of many in a very real and personal way.
This holiday season, take the time to be thankful for all the gifts in your life and focus on celebrating those gifts. We all are blessed to live in a country founded on the principles of freedom and independence. How we use those gifts is up to us. As you evaluate the best way to do so, look for guidance from those in your life who have done so admirably and effectively.
For me, that role model is clear. My dad spent his entire life trying to prepare me for the duty to be a responsible citizen and dependable person. I try every day to fulfill his vision and my hope is to one day instill these same values in my children as effectively as he did.
Merry Christmas dad, I hope you enjoy your first birthday in paradise.