No. 744

I have a good friend here in our community by the name of Valta Burnett who is a faithful reader of my column. Valta is more than three score and 10 years of age, but her actual age will remain just between the two of us and her close friends with whom she is willing to share it.
She has lived in Conway for several years but spent most of her life in California. She had an outstanding career as a teacher in both Arkansas and California schools. Some time back she handed me something titled “My Ideal Person,” and after reading it, I concluded that it was more than worthy to be shared with you and others to whom you pass it along.
However, I would like to add a personal comment or two before passing it along. I am not one of those who think the world is going to “hell in a hand basket,” but there is certainly room for improvement for many in public life, especially in the sports and political arena. I could call names here but I will spare you, and you already know most of the prime examples because the news is filled with these people every day. What would those 24-hour cable TV networks do with all that time? These folks are like the volunteer fire department when the packing house caught on fire one night about 9 o’clock. They kept it going till the next day.
So, as the program chairman says, “without further a-do” here is Valta Burnett’s “Ideal Person,” and I have picked out some personal qualities that I certainly need to improve. See how you stack up.
“My ideal person is blessed with good mental, physical and emotional health. He has great respect for both God and man. This person also has a respect for nature and all of God’s creation. He is a person who enjoys life and tries to live each day to its fullest. He has a goal in mind and does his best to achieve that goal. He is not afraid of work.
“He has lots of friends because he is friendly, and has earned their love and respect. He would never knowingly hurt another person, or cause him to stumble. My ideal person loves to laugh with those who are happy, but he can also cry with those who weep. He is honest, dependable, and always keeps his word. He is a caring individual.
“This person is not afraid to stand up for what he knows is right, even if he stands alone. Although good looks and charm are important to most young people, I feel the greatest beauty is that which comes from within and shows in our personality. My ideal has a winning personality. Money is also much sought after, but there are lots of less-than-ideal people who have money.
“I would have to say that the ideal person has learned to use his talents and money wisely, and has been blessed with enough of each to make for a pleasant life. Last of all my ideal is someone who is not easily upset, knows how to control his tongue and his temper and looks for the good in the people he meets. He has clean habits of speech and actions and has nothing to prove to be accepted. People like this person because he does his part in making the world a better, happier place in which to live.”
Thank you, Valta, for sharing that.
If you, like myself, confess that you could stand a little improvement, here is a quotation by Mark Victor Hansen that pretty well sums it up. “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less-than-perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)