We all can make a difference

Published 1:22 am Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When people found out I was giving up my marketing job of two years to go be the school nurse for one of our public schools, well, let’s just say that eyebrows went up and I quit counting the number of times I was asked, “What are you thinking?”

Most people assumed it was for the hours and holidays or even the state retirement.

Yes, those factored in.

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But the real reason is one that I am uncomfortable with — one that makes me sound like a fresh nursing graduate from St. Dominic’s who was out to help save the world.

But it is a reason that has come to me with age and experience.

I want to make a difference, I want to leave work and feel like I helped someone that day.

Somewhere along the way in my 25 years since graduation I had become focused on my family and my life. After my husband passed away, I was lucky enough to find jobs other than returning to 12-hour shifts at a hospital.

With the school, sporting and life events of three kids those jobs and the friends I made at them were a blessing to me.

They made it possible for me to work and be a hands on parent, something not all moms are able to do. I worked, went to my kids activities and socialized with my friends. My own safe little world disconnected from the problems of others or our community.

Then one day I got up and my oldest daughter was in Atlanta in graduate school, my son was a sophomore in college and my baby was in high school, very close to getting her driving permit.

And then it hit me. Not only did I miss nursing but I wanted to make a difference. And so when a friend called to tell me she had heard there was opening for a school nurse position, I went to fill out an application.

Here’s what I believe about our town. Everyone in Natchez is capable of making a difference and if we want our town to succeed we all need to do so in our own way.

The gentleman who walks on Melrose-Montebello Parkway every day and picks up trash, he makes a difference. The downtown business owners, who struggle with lack of parking and people shopping out of town, make a difference. The waitress who stands on her feet every day, gets stiffed on tips and still smiles when she waits on regulars and tourists, she is making a difference.

The thing is we all make a difference and most of us don’t even realize it. My being with other people’s kids all day and talking to them is no more important than the stay at home mom who is trying to teach her kids the difference between right and wrong. I think we are all guilty of getting in our own little worlds and we forget that this town cannot survive without all of us.

We have hotel rooms to be filled, stores in which to be shopped and restaurants that need you there as customers. There are public, parochial and private schools that need employees and volunteers. There are jobs to be taken care of and families to love and nurture and not just our own. I have a child who wants to come back to Natchez to live and work and I want Natchez to be a place where he can do that, where he can raise a family and be part of a town full of people who make a difference.

Christina Hall can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.