Details of life deserve our close attention

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Weston Newton

The Newton clan recently spent a solemn but celebratory morning at United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island. We were proud to attend the basic training graduation of my nephew Randol and his fellow classmates.

We were impressed with not only their perseverance, but also their dedication and commitment to our country.

It was impossible not to think of all the great soldiers who put our safety, security and freedom ahead of themselves, who have emerged from the crucible of Parris Island, eager and able to carry forth as U.S. Marines.

In this age of 24-hour negative media messaging and partisan bickering, the dedication of these young men and women to something larger than themselves is inspiring, and it gives me hope for our country and for our future generations.

Needless to say, our pride, and our inspiration, was also punctuated with goosebumps, as we watched these newly minted Marines, in perfect formation, parading by.

Two days later, we spent a rainy Saturday with lots of our little people at the University of South Carolina vs. Florida game, followed by a stint at the South Carolina State Fair. It was a fun day for us, as well as for all the Wet Rats pretending to be our young'uns.

And as if that was not enough sensory overload, we managed to make it back to Bluffton the next afternoon and evening for some of the excellent Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival along Calhoun Street, culminating at the Oyster Factory with fireworks, as well as Robbie Cahill's impromptu leading of a crowd on the boat landing in patriotic song.

My serious congratulations to Mary O'Neill and all her Bluffton Rotary compadres for once again putting on a delightful and successful event despite some less-than-cooperative weather.

Of all the exhibitors with whom I spoke, none expressed anything but satisfaction with the event, and a willingness to return next year.

Finally, I want to share another installment of "Dad's Tip for the Day" (DTFTD). This ritual was originally a paper note to the children each morning, when they were all in the house. Now, some are away at school, but still get their DTFTD through the miracle of IT.

Today, it's a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "A man should do his work so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better."

Obviously, one's "work" is not just what you do for a living, but whatever you are about at any moment. It is a sly form of "Live in the present."

It occurred to me watching the young Marines going through their marching movements, but it applies equally to those of us who fill out forms, rake fall leaves, kayak Class 4 river rapids, or simply weed their gardens. It is a message that says "Pay attention."

It implies strongly that the details of life, taken in sum, are our lives. It also speaks to how we treat our loved ones, customers, and those we meet on the sidewalk. In truth, this DTFTD is one I struggle with daily.

I would love if my brilliant children would give me some tips for a change.

Weston Newton is the representative for District 120 in the State House of Representatives. WestonNewton@schouse.gov

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