When you get something not earned you are less likely to take care of it. We have visited this concept before, reader. It is just a way of the world. And in this world, there seems to be a lot of getting and not a lot of earning — from our federal government all the way down to our fashion. 

The trend of tattered sweaters and ripped pants is totally manufactured. Those holes are not earned by the wearer by what looks like hours out in some field of hard work somewhere.  And then there is the recent report on our drug use: Arkansas leads the nation in meth use, and Crossett is not immune. Let me say that again--our state, the natural state, leads the nation in a very unnatural habit.

Ask any psychologist or psychiatrist or drug counselor and they will tell you that drugs — not just meth — are often sought out for some sort of instant emotional pain relief. In other words, unearned happiness. And happiness unearned is less likely to be respected. 

I saw this idea of unearned things linked to disrespect play out during one of my first assignments as your Assistant Parks and Recreation Director.  The community had come together and reopened the city pool for a half season last summer. Then we turned around and offered free swim days. Swim days not earned by paying to get in.

 It was after those swim days that my lifeguards and I had to clean up the most. We had to replace more equipment like shower curtains in the restrooms. Why were swimmers ripping those down? Why was our offering of pool time not respected? 

Because it wasn’t earned. And so I learned, not necessarily to never offer free swim days but to do so with limitations like finding the patrons who might not be the most respectful and giving them a poolside duty. Giving them a reason to feel ownership of the property and thus an inclination to respect it. 

It is human nature to desire importance.  We might enhance the addage “To err is human” by adding “as is the need to feel necessary.” It is this thinking that provides a foundation for my need to include you, Crossett. 

Many of you have heard my voice on the other end of a phone call or received texts or face-to-face office and home visits from me asking you to join in on event planning and execution. 

If you follow our Facebook page, you have read my pleas for you to join in on efforts to keep businesses here, efforts to beautify our park-like town, efforts to celebrate who we are. Each and every one of you matter. Your efforts toward keeping this town alive might just be the ones that keep it alive.  

I grew up in Crossett and then sailed out to live in various other cities and towns of various sizes and learned that Crossett is special. There is just something about Crossett that is done right. We need to put it on the map so it stays on the map. 

And we do that by paying attention to the tiniest details. Just last month, Dianna Martinie at Premier Realty on Main Street called me to her office to chat about the view out her office window. It overlooks Centennial Park and a portion of Main Street that held those time worn and extremely outdated trash cans. Seems unimportant but it isn’t. 

Dianna and I tossed around ideas on how to spruce up the park and set some goals there. We also decided the trashcans needed work.

I called up Steve Courson at Steve’s Body and Frame and asked if he would be interested in taking off the old business ads and giving them a fresh coat of paint. He immediately agreed to — his donation to the growing effort to beautify our hometown. A city crew gathered them up, delivered them, and you see the results. See, it takes everyone, Crossett. We are in this together. We all matter, from our voices to our talents to our skills and our ideas and opinions. 

Find ways to feel responsible for our town.  Don’t leave it solely up to the committee members, city council members, the board officers and the business owners. Step in. You are important. 

Our next event for you is “March into Spring” this Saturday in our city park, which will be an explosion of outdoor activity in and around our picturesque Lucas Pond starting around 10 a.m. Come paint, eat, listen to music, meet some birds of prey, ride horses, and spend time with your neighbors. What have you got to lose?

As always, call me to visit at 870-500-0303. I love building new relationships because — one at a time — those relationships form strong community.

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