Coming up with a topic for a column every week can be a struggle.
Although I've discovered over the years that I can be a fairly opinionated person, I sometimes battle with the urge to rant about whatever irritates me at the moment.
It can be easy to write in a fit of rage, when something sets you off. Between the columns I've written for this paper and those I wrote in college, it seems as if my musings have tended toward a negative tone.
I might find a news item, which raises my ire, and makes me want to scream, thus sparking a new idea to write about.
However, it occurs to me I don't want to be known as the guy who is against everything, and who never has a positive word to say.
To counteract this notion, I wanted to take this opportunity to write, not about what I am against, but what I am for. This is by no means an exhaustive list, of course, but I hope this will allow me to send encouraging words to those whose efforts I applaud.
I support the efforts of the men and women of the U.S. military. I try to convey such support whenever I can, and I believe we should all do the same.
When I see someone in dress blues, a sailor hat or Army fatigues, I like to walk up to them and shake their hand, if I'm close enough to do so. You don't have to be in favor of every mission to which a soldier or sailor is sent, in order to express a sense of profound gratitude for the sacrifice he or she has made for you.
I'm for parents who make the difficult decision to home-school their children. I'm particularly in favor of those parents who are equipped with the necessary tools to do so, and who make every effort to give their children as well-rounded a life as possible.
This is not to say I'm against the public school system, by any means. After all, my brother is a middle school teacher who is passionate about what he does, and he does it well.
But, for home-schoolers' parents to make such a commitment to the development of their children, they should be commended, instead of ridiculed, as they sometimes are.
I'm also for those in our churches, who refuse to let God and the truth of His Word be relegated to the background of society.
Church leaders who are devoted more to the substance of their message, than to the style of the messenger, don't always get the most attention. But in an age when biblical doctrine has been deemed not politically correct by some, and irrelevant by others, churches that continue to cling to the Bible will be rewarded when it truly counts.
These are just a few of the things that I support. I don't expect everyone who reads this to do the same.
This is why I also believe in the rights of others, to disagree with me. We have the freedom to voice our opinions about what we are for, and what we are against, and it is up to us to use it.
That being said, it's highly possible I will choose to unload my frustrations in print with a future column. So, don't say I didn't warn you.
Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.