It’s close to sundown, and I just returned from a very long, relaxing walk in the surf along the beach on the Emerald Coast of Okaloosa Island. The temperature is 88. The sun is bright. The warm breeze is refreshing. The lifeguard has posted the waves at close to 6 feet. That simple walk was just what the doctor ordered after having spent eight hours on platform today working with officials and staff members of the Florida Northern District Court … a fantastic group of folks.
Like many of us, this seasoned group of professionals find themselves experiencing continuous change, increasing caseloads, new laws, enhanced technology, and the age-old challenge of having to do “more with less” resources such as people, time, budget, technology, etc.
After spending a full day with this unique group of individuals, I must admit that the average person would struggle to detect the many challenges facing these fine folks. They receive little thanks and/or recognition for their services from anyone outside of their culture and yet they ask for none. They take pride and solace in the fact they know the importance of the services they render. They know why they do it and who benefits from their devotion and service. They have a great sense of humor, they greatly respect one another, they support one another, you can see pride on every face, they care for those they serve, and they enjoy their work. They laugh easily, they learn eagerly, they grow rapidly. My guess is they cry easily when the situation warrants such a response. They deserve our admiration, respect, appreciation and support.
Throughout the day, I was fortunate to have lunch with several of those attending this three-day conference, chatted with several others during breaks, relaxed with others following dinner this evening as we shared small talk, and walked the beach with a few others to unwind after a long day.
I gained a great deal of insight today concerning the daily challenges faced by this group of very dedicated individuals. I have a new respect for what they do, why they do it and how well they do it. I’m indeed thankful that we’re fortunate to have these very talented, dedicated, and experienced professionals doing what they do best—day in and day out.
I must reveal a little guilt as the day comes to a close. My role today was to inform, facilitate, and provide strategies to those in attendance. I feel I did that. However, I’m pleased to admit that I, too, learned a great deal, thoroughly enjoyed my time with these fine folks, and concluded the day feeling as though I’m a better person for having spent it with them.