By VIVIAN CONRAD | Mineral Wells Senior Center Director
It seems kind of funny to me that our society celebrates the abilities of some people while ignoring those of others.
For example, many of us stayed glued to our TV screens during the recent Winter Olympics. Some athletes were featured in commercials and magazine ads, and those who won medals achieved a level of celebrity in the American eye.
Other sports stars draw multi-million-dollar salaries and attract huge numbers of admiring fans. The same goes for people who have a talent for singing or acting. Even individuals who design or model clothing are singled out for special esteem in many cases.
If you think about it, there is a shallowness to America’s admiration. I’m not dismissing the value of entertainment, and I love watching a good movie or ballgame as much as the next person. But how do those pursuits actually build and strengthen our society?
To me it seems sad that a person who can throw a football or shoot a basket receives more acclaim than a man who faithfully serves his community’s volunteer fire department or a nurse who spends hours daily on her feet caring for the sick or injured. How many people today can read because of the persistent patience of a committed teacher? How often has mail appeared in our boxes on days that ice or snow kept us housebound?
Persons who run fast or sing well had no hand in the genetic structuring that enabled their gifts. But the people who serve society – those who heal us when we’re sick, protect us from lawlessness, respond to our emergencies, grow our food, clean our streets, and perform countless other jobs that make our lives safer and easier – do so because it is their choice. They work hard to achieve proficiency and skill in their professions. They are the real heroes we should celebrate and admire.