June 13, 2012 10:39:27 AM
I knew it was time to stop writing a weekly column when writing one about stopping became easier to write. Over the last year or so, writing this column has been a significant part of my life. It's pushed me to think about Columbus. It's encouraged me to meet new people and allowed me to share my thoughts with strangers. It's also kept me up late many a Tuesday night.
The most satisfying part of the column, though, has been the discovery of amazing success stories from our small town. Friends from my childhood, like Omar Ballard and Marcus Hunter, are great examples of what can happen when a person is willing to put in the work and discipline to follow their dreams. It's fitting then that my last regular column follows one about the most inspirational story I've found since I've started writing - the story of Kenyon King.
In a lot of ways, Kenyon's story has many of the problems I've discussed in past columns. His mother suffered the same teen pregnancy plaguing too many of our female students. His father made the same bad career decisions as too many of our young males, and then, to compound matters, he neglected his most important responsibility: to be a father. Kenyon also had to ignore the low expectations and negative peer pressure surrounding him.
Kenyon's story also has all of the promise. His ability to exceed expectations; his will to rise above his obstacles, and his unwillingness to accept excuses or failure are exactly what Mississippi needs to reach our potential. If Kenyon can graduate from high school and go to college, anyone can. Nobody has an excuse.
Unfortunately, Kenyon's story is currently the exception, not the rule. In fact, the question of whether we can make his story the rule is the most important one for our future. If we can't, the next decades will look a lot like the past few. If we can, then the sky is the limit.
Of course, as I've said in all my columns, it won't be simple. A lot of our government and civic institutions need renewed focus. Many of our communities need cultural reformation. The right solution will change with the problems and times, and we must be prepared to adapt with them.
For me, I'm too young to retire from trying to find the right solutions. My professional and civic responsibilities have simply grown such that finding time to write a weekly column has become increasingly difficult. I don't have the time to investigate stories, interview people, or develop the ideas necessary to write every week. Plus, the pressure of writing under a deadline causes me serious writer's block. Genuine ideas and thought are stifled by my paranoia that my topic is boring or my writing is bland.
With that said, I hope to continue writing on an irregular basis. Whenever an issue or topic is interesting and I have time to let it roll around in my head, I would love to continue to share it with the public through The Dispatch. In closing, I want to thank The Dispatch for allowing me this opportunity. And, to all the folks who came up to me and mentioned appreciation of my column, to all the readers, thanks for reading.
Scott Colom is a local attorney. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Colom is a local attorney.