April 15, 2016: Healthy Optimistic People Encourage a sense of HOPE in our community, by Patricia Gerhardt

April 15, 2016 by

Patricia Gerhardt

Patricia Gerhardt

According to “The Oxford Thesaurus,” the word “hopeful” is an adjective that describes being optimistic, confident, assured, expectant and anticipating. Does this word describe how we feel about ourselves and the community we live in? I’d like to think so.

When an individual feels hopeful about the future, he is positive about life, what he’s doing and where he’s going. Hope propels the person through each day, especially when things become challenging. Things may go wrong, but hope allows the person to change direction and keep trying. Hope underscores the positive, learns from the negative and moves forward.

When a community has hope, the people who live there believe in their future. Hopeful people band together and work toward achieving their goals. Hope renews faith, energizes, gives self-confidence and promotes empowerment. It also instills pride and gives stamina to get through tough times.

Think of the letters H-O-P-E as standing for Healthy Optimistic People Encourage.

For a community to be hopeful, first we each have a responsibility to keep our own bodies and minds as healthy as can be. Do we take responsibility for ourselves? Do we take advantage of available services and products? Are we good role models for others? Are the words we use caring and positive? Do we applaud others on their achievements and offer encouraging words to those who are down?

Are we able to put aside personal pride, make the sacrifices and put forth the extra effort needed that’s necessary for the community at large?

Life has many twists, turns and even dead-ends. Without hope, people and communities founder and give up. Those with hope, though, have the will to keep trying until they find a strategy to reach the desired goal.

 

— Patricia Gerhardt is a Family Consumer Sciences extension agent for Kansas State University-River Valley Extension District.

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