You still inspire me to strive for excellence. You fill my heart with joy. Your gentle smile keeps me going. You make me want to work to make this world a little bit better. You make me want to be a great father. And every day, I have learned from you.
The late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stated the following about character in the book entitled Strength to Love: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. King argues that a person’s true character becomes revealed in times of struggle and challenges and cannot fully measure in times of peace.
So, what does this mean for you? Indeed, I speak from experience here. As a father, I will be there with you to offer support, encouragement, and guidance. At some point, there will be times of difficulty; however, remember that it’s important to stand strong; see things through; and not be afraid to ask for help. And know that you have my unconditional love – whether you succeed or make mistakes.
I pray that you will grow and develop strong faith and hope throughout this journey in life. That is why I want to teach you about the importance of faith and hope. Former U.S. President Barack Obama described faith as “more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; it is an active, palpable (tangible) agent in the world. It is a source of hope.”
Another way Obama described it was, “hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblock that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.”
More fundamentally, “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. As a result, the central feature of faith is hope, confidence, or trust that things will work out for a humble person, but if not, still have hope.
Furthermore, Dr. King argued, “the ultimate test of one’s faith is his ability to say, but if not.” Dr. King further stated, “there is what you may call an ‘if’ faith, and there is a ‘though’ faith. And the permanent faith, the lasting, the powerful faith is the ‘though’ faith.” To be clear. The ‘if’ faith person says I’ll have faith and hope in God if everything goes perfectly. The ‘though’ faith person says I will continue to have faith and hope in God even if things are temporarily challenging. As a result, my faith and hope are a ‘though’ faith.
Ultimately, Lil’ Chris, I take from Dr. King’s life: a sense of faith and hope. Faith and Hope that prayers work. Faith and Hope that hard work pays off. Faith and Hope that dreams do come true. Love you!
Christopher A. Etienne, Sr.’s passion for public service comes from a deeply held desire to impact the lives of others while transforming his community. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was taught at an early age the significance of service, community strength, quality education, and the principles of social justice.
In June 2022, Mr. Etienne was appointed the Director of Community and Governmental Affairs at NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS). In this capacity, he is responsible for increasing public engagement and confidence in the school system.
Before joining NOLA-PS, Mr. Etienne served as a Legislative Aide to the former U.S. Representative Cedric L. Richmond and U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, both of Louisiana and U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes of Connecticut. In these roles, he was responsible for analyzing and drafting legislation that serves the common good, promotes racial equity, and supports economic mobility and opportunity for children and families of all backgrounds, especially the most vulnerable.
Mr. Etienne earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Science, with a concentration in Black Politics and a minor in Public Policy, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). He was also selected to the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) Class of 2023.