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Positive reinforcement

Take time to appreciate what’s going right

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but sometimes I need a good reminder of just how blessed I am to live in the United States of America. It’s all too easy, in today’s political climate, to focus on the problems we face. But sometimes we need to take just a moment and appreciate what we’ve got. 

A few weeks ago, I was traveling home from a meeting in Washington, D.C., where co-op leaders from across Kentucky spoke to U.S. lawmakers about electric reliability, supply chain issues, infrastructure opportunities and more. I was proud of the way co-op leaders looked out for you, their consumer-members, and advocated for your interests in each of these areas. 

The thing about politics is that it tends to focus on the negative. What’s broken that needs fixing? What problems could arise that we need to prepare for? How can we make sure that our consumer-members’ voices are heard over competing points of view? It’s a human tendency, and it applies to everyone—we just don’t spend a lot of time acknowledging what’s going right. 

My reminder to focus on the positive came from an Uber driver named Michael. 

Michael came to America 27 years ago, fleeing political violence in Nigeria. Today, Michael is a U.S. citizen, and all four of his children have master’s degrees. “I just don’t understand how people don’t see how great our country is,” he told me. 

As we talked, I didn’t mention that I work in the electric industry. That’s why the next thing he told me really stood out. He said, “People don’t realize that, in Nigeria, you never even have electricity, but here, it’s on all the time. We can go to get gas anytime we want. We can go get food anytime we want. People do not realize how lucky we all are.” 

Here at Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, we’re going to continue talking about issues we’re concerned about. Making sure your concerns are heard in Frankfort and in Washington is a part of our job that we take very seriously. 

At the same time, Michael’s attitude really struck me. Do we have issues here in America? Of course we do. Are we blessed to live here? You’d better believe it. I learned a lot during my conversation with Michael, and I hope it stays with me. I’m not just proud to be an American—I’m grateful .

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