By Ferrell Foster
My high school had a motto — Everybody is Somebody. And students and staff wore “I Care” buttons regularly. It’s good to get a start on life focused on the truth that every life is valued and that it is important to care.
Years later, I became associate director of a thing called the Advocacy and Care Center for Texas Baptists. Remembering my old high school button (which I still have), I had a lapel pin created with the word — CARE — because I was focused on the care part of our work.
Now, with Prosper Waco, “care” again is a big part of my life. It’s in my title, and one of my functions is as coordinator of the Continuity of Care Team project created by our Behavioral Health Leadership Team.
I didn’t set out in life to make care the defining aspect of my life; it just kind of happened, but I am so thankful it did. It is good to have some simple, guiding principles in one’s life, and the importance of care has become one of mine.
It’s important we show care toward ourselves. We need it for our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. But it is really sad when a person cares only for self.
It’s good to care for your family. Everyone needs a close circle of people with whom they can give and receive day-to-day support. Some people see family only in terms of official status, but it’s OK to have a “family” that is a tight circle of people who may not share any of your DNA. But it is really sad when people care only for their family.
It’s good to care for your friends. It’s important to be invested in the lives of a larger circle of people so you can all add richness and vitality to each other’s lives. But it is really sad when a person cares only for friends.
You get the picture. It is good to care both close and wide. It is good to care for self, family, and friends. But it is also good to care for everyone — for the people we do not personally know and the people who are different from us in many deep and important ways.
Care starts in our inmost thoughts, but it is not really care unless it manifests itself in our outward actions. Christmas and the holidays are good times to show care, but the holidays are best when they remind us to be caring throughout the year. Others need us more than we might know, and we need them.
By the way, I went to H. Grady Spruce High School in the Pleasant Grove section of Dallas. I’m still thankful for being treated as an adult even as a teen-ager there.
Ferrell Foster is senior content specialist for care and communication.