Welcome to Boomtown

10 Years From Now

Let me give you some startling news: You’re making the world you’ll live in 6 months, a year, or even 10 years ahead.

Right now.

So what words do you find yourself using the most?

“Annoyed.” “Bored.” “Bugged.”

Sound familiar?

Here’s the thing: no one wants a future like that.

So let’s back up and start over. What are the qualities you’d like to bring into your life? Don’t think too hard; just throw out a couple of words at the top of your mind.

Love. Kindness. Fun. Healing. Peace. Integrity. Optimism. Truth.

Now that’s a future worth talking about!

This concept is found in the movie, “Woman in Gold.” In the picture, Maria Altman bids a bitter good-bye to her parents. As she prepares to leave Nazi-controlled Austria for America, her father stops conversing with her in German. He gently says in English, “From now on, we speak in the language of your future.”

It’s probably a purely cinematic moment, but it’s a powerful concept. In the April series, Speak Your Future, we’ll become more conscious about how the words we use shape our experiences.

There used to be a lot of ways to describe Franklin County, Mississippi: Rural. Small. Forgotten.

When “60 Minutes” asked Dr. Jeff Bulington why he would move from Memphis to a place that could politely be called the middle of nowhere he replied, “If there are people there, it’s not “nowhere”. This is somewhere. It’s just a somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of attention.”

With the help of a benefactor, he had a sole mission in an unlikely place: teach the kids how to play chess.

Their year one goal was cautious. With only 7,000 people in the entire county, 12 students seemed reasonable. Imagine their surprise to see chess catch on, with hundreds of kids playing.

Within 18 months, they traveled to Nashville to compete in the national championship. The 6th grade team placed tenth in a field of over 600 schools. Pretty good for a self-described “bunch of hillbillies.”

For the families of Franklin County, chess is about much more than the trophy they brought home.

Parents are sharing their children’s vision for a bright future. A future that means going to college and choosing what comes next, not being limited to making $8 an hour for the rest of their lives.

Students are also feeling a profound ripple effect. Everything is thriving – grades in other subjects, concentration for schoolwork, and relationships within the community.

You could say that Franklin County has gone from the middle of nowhere to a boomtown of hope. New words like “excellence” and “confidence” have taken hold.

Guess what? You can have the same experience.

Some part of your life may be like the old version of Franklin County. However, you can decide that words like “small” and “forgotten” just don’t fit anymore.

This week, speak your future with words like “expectation” and “excitement.” Begin to quietly nurture something that has seemed limited and hopeless. Then keep going. Like the chess champions of Mississippi, you never know where those small starts might lead.

Published by Michelle Mains


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