Sentinel-Echo.com

Columns

June 3, 2014

My Point Is...Today’s decisions can affect tomorrow’s plans

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — As students across the county begin their first full week of summer vacation, it is a time to relax, regroup, and remember the lessons of the past academic year.

Saturday’s graduates are now faced with making many decisions that will launch them into adulthood — summer jobs, preparation for college or vocational training, marriage or even parenthood.

It is an exciting time, a trying time, but the decisions made now can affect the rest of their lives.

A recent news story brought my attention to the fact that four young people accused of attempted murder had not even reached their 21st birthday. Legally, they cannot purchase alcohol, but they could face a life sentence (20 years) in prison.

The minimum sentence falls between 5 to 15 years. Unless the charges are dismissed, now all four will have “the Big F” (felony offense) on their criminal record.

Laurel Jailer Jamie Mosley emphasized the importance of thinking wisely by telling a group of eighth-grade students: “If you make it to see me (jail), you’ve already eliminated a lot of job opportunities.”

Mosley outlined how most people in law enforcement and professional settings had a “career path.”

Elected officials are not permitted to have felony offenses on their record.

The same goes for law enforcement, government employees, elderly or child care workers, and many other professions. Persons who commit violent acts are even more restricted in finding employers who are willing to chance their trustworthiness.

It only takes a split second to change the course of your life. Drinking “one more for the road,” pulling the trigger of a gun in a fit of anger, or just being in the wrong crowd could have a lasting impact on what the future holds. Making good decisions and refusing to go along with the “popular” trends can make that difference.

A saying that frequently comes to mind is derived from William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” — All that glitters is not gold. Just because it seems fun, looks good, or is tempting does not mean it is the best choice.

This little phrase can apply to people, relationships, goals, jobs, and offers an objective and realistic view of making good choices.

My grandmother summed it up best with her own words: “If you have a doubt about it, don’t do it.”

The summer vacation should be a time of fun and relaxation as well as preparation for another school year ahead.

There may be a break from the school year, but there should never be a down time of making the right choices in life.

Be smart, be safe, and beware.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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