Listen to this.
I am sure many of you are familiar with this thought, but hear it again anew.
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, or what kind of car I drove, or how much money I had in my bank account…but that I made a difference in the life of a child.”
That phrase, and the picture of a small child, is framed and has been on my desk since the first day I started practicing law on August 19, 1978 in Lenoir. It reminds me every day of what is important. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me centered. I hope you will remember it, and let the meaning ground you when the clutter of life seems overwhelming.
Miss Sharpe, Mrs. Gathings, (2nd and 3rd grades), Mrs. Terrell, Mrs. Brinkley, Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Mills, and Mrs. Kelly. These are the names of my teachers through the seventh grade at Grimes Elementary and then Lexington Junior High School, both in Lexington, North Carolina. I thank them, and all of the other teachers and coaches I had throughout my North Carolina educational experience.
I thank them for shaping a little boy and giving him the foundation, inspiration, and opportunity to become a first-generation college student. I thank them for teaching me that I could do anything I wanted, that I could become anything I wanted to be, and that nothing was impossible. I thank them for reminding me that to whom much is given, much is expected. I hope in some small way, I have lived up to their expectations.
One of my favorite quotes, often attributed to Winston Churchill, says, “we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” I accept this award on behalf of all of the public schools teachers, administrators, and staff who are making lives everyday by giving…giving of themselves to make a difference in the life of a child. May we all do the same.
Editor’s Note: Last Friday night, Brad Wilson was honored with the 2017 Champions for Children award presented by the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children. His remarks in accepting the award have been edited here. Brad Wilson serves on the Board of Directors of EdNC. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina supports the work of EdNC.