Want to change the world?  Start with the family

In the heart of uptown Charlotte, my Saturday morning strolls offer a glimpse into two contrasting worlds. The first unfolds with the heartwarming sight of families – parents, children, teens brimming with laughter and hope as they embark on their weekend of adventures together.

Yet, a few blocks away, another reality surfaces: disconcerting scenes of disrespectful teens, their eyes filled with mayhem and mouths spewing obscenities.  What unfolds is a tale of two cities, ultimately boiling down to one pivotal factor – the family unit

Broken families, sadly a common sight, have become almost immune to society. However, it’s crucial to recognize the profound impact families have on individuals and our communities.

Family is a gift, it’s meaningful and etched into our DNA

While we often look up to external symbols of success – athletes, celebrities, or those with material wealth. The fleeting nature of these pursuits becomes evident, games end, movies fade, and the possessions lose their luster, but the family endures.

Reevaluating heroes is essential—hardworking dads, nurturing and loving moms, and kids striving for growth are the true heroes.

I know firsthand that life throws us curveballs, challenges at times seem insurmountable, but amidst it all, family stands strong—a constant source of connection, love and strength.

If facing tough times, remember that storms pass, and the sun will come out. Reach out to professionals, your child’s school, or friends you look up to. It is ok to seek guidance, or a caring ear. Take the first step – It’s worth it because family is forever.

Education, the ultimate equalizer, it holds the key to dreams, to hope and to breaking the cycles of poverty.

As a high school principal, my son’s stories at times underscore the profound impact broken homes have on a child’s potential. Education emerges as the key to accomplishment and societal change. Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an educator, a community leader, or a close friend we must rally together to emphasize education’s potential within all family units.

In closing: Celebrating and respecting those who keep the family unit intact is paramount.  Stand up and support those facing difficulties, reminding them that change is possible, and they and their family are important and worth it.

Changing the world begins with recognizing the pivotal role of family. By appreciating and supporting each other, we pave the way for a brighter future—one where the family unit stands strong, resilient, and ready to shape generations to come.

Jim Dowdell

I am a 63-year-old, husband (42 years), father of 5 beautiful children, and grandfather of 8 precious grandkids.


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