The power of one

From the desk of…


Having entered my seventh decade of living (just turned 60 years old), I find myself looking back on the past. It is hard to believe that I have lived over half of my life, and mortality is becoming a reality. Please know that I do not want to sound morbid. In fact, I want this article to be uplifting and edifying.

During a recent visit back to my hometown of New Bern, North Carolina, I visited my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Julia Mitchell. My reason for this visit was to thank her for the positive impact she made on me as an impressionable teenager. You see, Mrs. Mitchell was much more than a teacher; she was an encourager to her students. For some reason she took a special interest in me and was instrumental in helping me become the best student that I could possibly be. While she emphasized and taught the basic three Rs in school—Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic, she taught something much more valuable to me: Responsibility. So I guess it would now be the four Rs. Yes, she taught me to take responsibility for what I would do in life and how I would live my life, and to embrace life with purpose and meaning.

Allow me to fast forward 48 years. It is now 2006 and I find myself looking back and remembering the life-challenging lessons I learned from Mrs. Mitchell. I also find myself involved in the lives of men and women in the adult rehabilitation centers who are seeking to escape the ravages of addiction to drugs and alcohol. At the same time I am compelled to teach them about the three Rs of life in their request for rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. The fundamental foundation however of full rehabilitation is unequivocally tied to regeneration by the love and power of God through Jesus Christ. Full and true rehabilitation will never take place without regeneration.

Nonetheless, the three Cs of recovery are also paramount in recovery: we are linked to the Choices, Challenges and Changes we make in life. The choices we make in life will determine who we become; the challenges we face in life will determine our strength and resolve to persevere; and the changes we make in life are critical to our becoming victorious in the struggles we face daily.

Yes, the essential part of learning the three Rs in school in the beginning of life is indelibly linked to the three Cs that define how our men and women in the adult rehabilitation centers traverse life while on earth.

A heartfelt thanks to my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, for teaching me the basic three Rs. More importantly, she helped me see that Choices, Challenges and Changes in life are inextricably associated with embracing responsibility for one’s life, and that the power of one person in a life can make a positive difference.

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