http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/todaysopinions/rss.xml en State certified firefighter in 178 hours? http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/state-certified-firefighter-178-hours <p> It has been my experience that the folks who do the best in life are those who spot opportunity and act on it.</p> <p> These people are not any smarter than the rest of us. But they take action when the fire is hot and make a commitment while the rest of us don&lsquo;t.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also been my experience in life that you don&rsquo;t want to be those folks who 20 years after the fact say &ldquo;I should have, I could have, I would have&rdquo; when successful people accomplish something you wish you did.</p> Graduates, consider your legacy http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/graduates-consider-your-legacy <p> <strong>By Dr. Harry Toder</strong><br /> <br /> About three years ago, a high school teacher by the name of David McCullough at Wellesley (Massachusetts) High School gave the commencement address at that school. His address attracted a great deal of attention. His message to the graduates was, in essence, that they were not special. I think, more accurately, what he was attempting to convey to the graduates was that they should not have assumed they were special. He gave many statistics to prove his point.</p> Where are your manners? http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/where-are-your-manners <p> I&rsquo;m the first one to admit the world is ever changing, and that people, along with all of the other creatures on the earth, are slowly evolving. Sometimes, however, changes aren&rsquo;t always for the best, and the traits we inherit may actually harm us in the end.</p> Bloom like an amaryllis http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/bloom-amaryllis <p> My wife, Lori, and I are not good with houseplants. When she brings home a new plant, I shake my head, knowing the plant&rsquo;s likely demise. I want to pull it aside and whisper, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m so sorry she bought you. I promise I&rsquo;ll pray for you.&rdquo;</p> <p> If plants could muster a police force, they would charge Lori and me with negligent homicide.</p> <p> So last year, when some well-meaning friends gave us an amaryllis for Christmas, I thanked them kindly.</p> A gardener’s dilemma: do I stay or do I go? http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/gardener%E2%80%99s-dilemma-do-i-stay-or-do-i-go <p> A friend and gardening mentor told me when I first ventured into this labor of love called gardening that this hobby should be relaxing. &ldquo;If it&rsquo;s stressful,&rdquo; he told me, &ldquo;you&rsquo;re taking it too seriously.&rdquo;</p> <p> His words echo in my ears as I stare at the freshly plowed ground, that chore the courtesy of a friend kind enough to break up the soil for me.</p> <p> It happens every year: &ldquo;Can I do this? Do I really want to start with the planting, the cultivating, the weeding?&rdquo;</p> Racism still a problem with all races http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/racism-still-problem-all-races <p> In journalism, if you need a source for a story, you talk to someone who has a point of view to share for your story. You do that regardless of the person&rsquo;s background, and particularly regardless of their race.</p> <p> Usually, I find myself on the side of the news story where I&rsquo;m the one asking the questions. Rarely have I been the one interviewed. But Monday morning, I received a telephone call that placed me as a source for a story to be aired on television.</p> Hurting the ones you love http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/hurting-ones-you-love <p> <em>&ldquo;Why is there ever this perverse cruelty in humankind, that makes us hurt most those we love best?&rdquo;<br /> - Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel&rsquo;s Chosen</em><br /> <br /> I had a really good weekend and I really, really needed it.</p> <p> Cindy and I went to Madisonville to spend the weekend with our oldest daughter and her husband, and most of all, our granddaughter, Natalie.</p> <p> We didn&rsquo;t really do a lot.</p> 'I love you, mom' http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/i-love-you-mom <p> Archie Bunker, the proverbial &ldquo;lovable bigot&rdquo; of &ldquo;All in the Family&rdquo; fame, wasn&rsquo;t very good at telling his wife, Edith, he loved her.</p> <p> In one episode Edith pauses, furors her brow like she&rsquo;s really thinking and asks, &ldquo;Archie, do you love me?&rdquo;</p> <p> Archie has no patience for such queries: &ldquo;What kind of question is that?&rdquo;<br /> Edith persists: &ldquo;Do you still love me?&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Of course I still love you. Why do you ask?&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;You never tell me that you love me.&rdquo;</p>