Having read the Mayor Matthew Block’s column in the Laurinburg Exchange on July 12, I feel I must respond as a citizen and member of this community for 39 years.
I have followed very closely the active lives of the Blocks and early on found them to be both altruistic and eager to see Laurinburg grow and prosper.
I’ve seen our businesses and industries thrive, then seemingly overnight take leave of this area, leaving empty buildings, empty homes, empty lives and a government powerless to stem the exodus of businesses that at one time made Scotland County a thriving and desirable place to live.
Why then have we become such a struggling community with rising unemployment, high taxes, an abundance of low-cost housing (albeit attractive) for such a small area? Why have our schools experienced such trauma and loss of respect, care and nurturing by parents and the community? Surely it has not been for lack of funds. I taught for 33 years and experienced the steady decline in responsibility both on the part of parents and of community support. Why must we live in fear and have to have police protection for our young people to attend school? Why are so many of our young people home schooled or in private schools? Why have we such a polarized population where common sense values don’t seem to apply? Those are a lot of “Whys” but there are many on the other side of the ledger.
Why do doctors like to practice in this area? Do we have more sick people than, say, Moore County with a much greater population. It’s good to have a state-of-the-art medical complex, but should it be the fastest growing industry?
Hospice is a fantastic asset in our community. The reason being dedicated, intelligent folk who are willing to use their talents, time and hard work to make it work because they care about this community and the lives of the people in it.
I feel the same way about teachers. We forget that every successful person had caring, capable teachers who saw that they got where they are in life.
But one must see the dilemma that has created crisis in the classroom because of the lack of nurturing and loving, sensible discipline in the home. A child’s first and most influential teachers, albeit for good or bad, are parents who brought the child into this world.
The number of welfare recipients has grown greatly since my family moved here. The crime rate has increased yet we have more churches than any other county of comparable size in the state.
Having St. Andrews in our community is a tremendous asset and becoming more so as the college grows with the technology age.
If we were as zealous about all the great opportunities that we do have in Laurinburg, Scotland County; praising and uplifting these valuable assets, as we are about bashing our elected officials (locally as well as state wide and nationally), think how different things would be.
The world is and has always been in turmoil. There have always been “wars and rumors of wars”. Human beings have always sought to gain what others have at the expense of fellow humans.
But a family that does not nurture its young, expects society to pay the bills, has little or no conscience beyond the moment, nor has respect for or values human life, nor has the vision or courage to be responsible for ones own actions and refuses to listen and share ideas without a rude shouting match, can not produce a responsible citizenry or expect to make much headway in the development of a decent society.
We need to learn appreciation. No, it’s not a perfect world or even a perfect Laurinburg, Scotland County, but personally I want to commend the Blocks for their vision and dedication to the idea that we have a little gem of a city that needs to be nurtured and cared for and have the willingness to step out in faith and knowledge that we have a location and a citizenry worthy of beauty, truth, joy, and responsibility for helping to create a quality of life for all.
Thank you Dr. & Mrs. Block for your service to the community.
Whitehead lives Laurinburg