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“Reflect the Summer Sun”

web posted September 1, 2008
GUEST EDITORIAL – The passing of the Labor Day holiday is a general wake-up call that summer is officially over.  I know that the calendar tells us that several weeks remain in summer 2008.  However, as far as the young world is concerned, summer is gone and school is now the focus.
Here in South Carolina, we have been in school for nearly two weeks, some even longer.  In other areas of the country, summer vacation doesn’t end until after the Labor Day break.  At this point in September, most college students have even started classes and nearly every K-12 student has had to face that morning alarm and rise to meet new teachers.
Although the summer vacation is over, the waning calendar days of the summer season will produce many hidden opportunities for young people.  The next few weeks will present several occasions, festivals, galas and gatherings for young people to celebrate other young people.  Some of these activities will be sports related, some tied to academics and school while other festivities will be sponsored by churches or civic organizations.
Young people I urge you to take advantage of every opportunity to fellowship and socialize with other young people, especially when there is an opportunity to get to know others who are very different from you.  One of the biggest “problems” young people face is the ability to be outgoing and extraverted.  It’s difficult for many adults to voluntarily extend their hand and their voice to unfamiliar faces.  But, you will be amazed by how much you are benefited by enlarging your social circle and decreasing your social fears.  I challenge each of you to make a new friend this week – shoot, let’s get crazy and introduce ourselves to at least five new people this month.  Can you handle that?
It may be that person sitting next to you at Friday night’s football game – you know that kid you vaguely recognize from 1st period or in the halls during class changes.  It may be that young person from your Sunday School class whom you’ve never really gotten to know.  The people you meet tend to change you by making it easier for you to remain the same.  Meeting people helps you realize that though we are all very different, we are also very similar.  Our similarities give us a sense of peace.  Our uniqueness gives us confidence.
Every interaction with someone else can be considered an exchange.  Unfortunately, not every exchange is win-win.  But, we won’t focus our attention on those negative exchanges because that type of thinking is a part of the past we are leaving behind.  Instead, we will focus our attention on the exchanges that are mutually beneficial.  At the end of the conversation, greeting, discussion or whatever, you walk away glad you felt confident enough to venture out and meet someone new.  And, the other person feels blessed by having been in your presence.
Exchanges don’t have to be long in order to change someone’s day or someone’s life.  Often the briefest of exchanges, “Good Morning”, spoken with a sincere smile, is enough to positively start someone’s day and set them on a good course.  As you start this day, or finish this day (it’s never too late to start), just remember that you want to be the best part of someone’s day.
If you feel you’ve been blessed, be a blessing to someone else.  If you feel you’ve never been blessed, imagine your opportunity to ease the burden and be the one who blesses someone else.  Either way, plan every day to be the positive force that turns forces positive.

Chris Dinkins
Spartanburg, SC 

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WEBNEWS –  Send in your favorite or favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in. With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking, grilling, sauces, and deserts!  Send in your submissions here.