These past few weeks I have had the privilege to meet several people around Pierce County and I look forward to meeting many more over the coming days. 

While I was out visiting last week, I stopped by a local business and, after speaking with the lovely local citizens, headed back to my vehicle. Before I could get there I walked head first into an object hanging just out my line of sight. Fortunately, it did not knock me down, and after I took a quick peek to make sure I did not do any damage, I quickly scurried into my vehicle hoping no one saw my mishap.

I got to the corner of the parking lot as to hopefully not be noticed before rubbing my head while trying to hold back the tears. I continued down the road and called my beautiful wife, Carrie, to tell her of my accident. She was genuinely concerned for me but we both had a little chuckle after I reminded her that I was graced with a very hard head. 

I have a long history of getting in too big of a hurry and running into things. Most times they are not as painful as this instance.

I learned a valuable lesson at a young age – if I could laugh at myself when I messed up, most people would not continue to pick on me. It was also a valuable lesson because I am normally my biggest critic, especially while playing sports. I had to learn that we all make mistakes. 

It is how we respond to those mistakes that shows our character, or lack thereof. 

If we can focus on what we can learn from our mistakes, then I believe we will start to improve. 

We can also take this lesson  and apply it to helping those around us by being an encouragement when we see others struggling. We could help encourage them to not give up and to keep working towards their goals. Sometimes, we all need a little encouragement and to just know that someone cares. 

One last word of advice, if we are going to be in a hurry, we better be tough, or in my case have a hard head.

•Matt Gardner is the Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email him at