This Letter to the Editor first appeared in the January 3, 2018 edition of the Laurens County Advertiser.
This time of year, many of us make resolutions about what we would like to do, do more, or refrain from doing in the next 365 days. Often, we make resolutions concerning making ourselves better: In 2018, I will eat less, exercise more, stop smoking, swear less, and so on… But, I would suggest that this year, Laurens needs citizens who will make resolutions that will benefit not just themselves, but our community as a whole.
It is far too easy to focus on our shortcomings, the times when we have been burned in the past, and the uncertainty of the future when we think and speak about our town. We look at small businesses and restaurants that have opened and closed, we look back to the industries that once thrived which are now gone, and it becomes easy to imagine that our best days are behind us.
What many of us do not realize is that it is just this sort of attitude which can deter new investment and growth from coming to Laurens. We all want thriving businesses, shops, and restaurants, but if the community consensus is that Laurens will not invest in new business, those businesses will not invest in us. We risk becoming our own worst enemies.
As we form our New Year’s resolutions, I hope that the people of Laurens will resolve to take individual responsibility for their community and do their part to make it the kind of place where they, and perhaps more importantly, their children and grandchildren, want to live and work. This may mean buying locally in Laurens shops even if a product or service is slightly less expensive online or in Greenville. It may mean contacting members of city or county council to vote for pro-growth policies or electing candidates who will, and holding them accountable if they do not. Or, it may be as simple as communicating positively about our community when speaking to folks in town, out of town, or on social media. Every little bit of “can do” attitude and action helps.
We cannot wait for the growth of Greenville to inch its way toward us and bail us out. We must be proactive about encouraging smart growth and development on our own, and to do that, we need every member of the Laurens community to do his or her part. So, in 2018, let’s each resolve to do our part for Laurens.