Work smarter, not harder is something I am sure someone has said to you along the way. It may be among the first bits of wisdom someone tried to impart upon you.
Knowledge is a body of information developed over time. What one does with that knowledge defines their potential. If you categorically know there is a better, smarter, more productive way to do something and choose not to, then the result you get is what you deserve.
In the great movie, "The Sands of Iwo Jima," John Wayne memorably said, "Life is tough, and it's tougher if you are stupid."
The application of knowledge for practical purposes even before the innovation of the lever and fulcrum has advanced man and woman's progress. It cannot be denied; those choosing not to embrace technology are left behind.
Understanding and access to technology have always been a brutal discriminator. In simple terms, it decides who the winners and losers are. Just pause for a moment and think if American-born theoretical physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer would have been denied, or given delayed access, to the technology of his time. The world would be much different.
I offer this as an impact statement to demonstrate just how important it is to give the next J. Robert Oppenheimer all the tools he or she will need to answer tomorrow's unknown challenges.
Where will these people come from? He or she tonight may be sitting in a parking lot here in Franklin County, North Carolina trying to get access to the internet to do their homework.
Let us say you are a single parent trying to balance everything. You know if you do not make it to the McDonald's parking lot to use their public Wi-Fi, your child will not get their homework assignment done.
Grades matter when the competition starts for college acceptance and obtaining scholarships.
Did you know this was happening? Can you just imagine if you are one of these young people, or their parents; the frustration of it all?
It wasn't until I had a conversation with Dwight Neal, a lifelong resident of Franklin County, and a recent District 3 candidate for the school board, that I realized the overall negative impact this is having.
I know, as you do, in many places in Franklin County getting and keeping an internet or cell phone signal is like bobbing for apples. You get one, and then you drop it.
District 3 in size is the largest in Franklin County. By population density it is equal to all the other districts. Quality access to the digital information highway and other services is woefully lacking.
Imagine, if you will, that you have a business today and cannot do e-commerce. Progressively, brick and mortar businesses are losing market share to competing internet based business.
Neal's passion for seeing this improve captured my interest. As our conversation continued I found myself asking, how could this condition just be allowed to continue? I went looking for answers and found not only did local officials know about it, many of them live in District 3.
This problem did not just come up. There have been who knows how many children and parents wearing out the road for years to find a Wi-Fi signal.
The more I probed, the more disappointed and even angry I became. So here we go again, are you kidding me? County leadership, you know this, why haven't you fixed it!
Tell this story, you bet I am going to tell it, and expose everyone for not taking this on. Then I am going to pencil whip them for not doing their job.
I already had the ending of the story in my mind, before even writing the beginning.
"Bring the guilty in" and we will have a fair trial by public opinion, depose and expose them.
The more I looked into this, the picture of people not doing their jobs just would not focus.
I found there are actually a number of people actively engaged addressing the need for broadband and other internet connectivity enhancements.
I am not going to give a total pass to them; it is a very long-standing problem and should have been addressed many years ago. Most action being taken is fairly recent. Given what I have learned it would be wrong, unfair, and gratuitous to just find fault.
A tenant of working smarter is to consider the past; it is where you have been. Focus on the future; it is where you are going.
I can report to you that some Franklin County management and many of your elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, are now engaged and in the fight.
In a future column I will highlight some of these officials and what they have been doing. I will also highlight what the real obstacles are and what you can do to help overcome them.
Thank you Mr. Dwight Neal for caring. "Together we are many".