DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Hope in the future

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Last week was the annual State DECA Competition. DECA is an association of marketing students. You may be wondering how I know that since I have been retired for five years. I still love DECA and I continue to return each year to help with the conference.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

Several thousand students show up each year in Greensboro to determine who will attend the International DECA Conference. Students compete in a variety of role-play events which also contain a written test component. Some students write research papers and then present their results as their competition. There are both team and individual events. Probably the best part is seeing high school students dressed up like professionals for the competitions.

I attended the state conference every year except for the year we got snowed out. I always looked forward to going to the conference, even though it was a big responsibility to take students away for several days. They always had a positive competitive experience and a wonderful time away from home. I have tons of great stories, including many pranks the students pulled on me. There are so many memories that I plan to treasure for the rest of my life.

I help with the state officer elections each year. The election process determines who will lead the student organization for the upcoming school year. These are the best of the best students, and wow, do they make a big impression on me. These students must complete an application, take a written test, pass an interview with a nomination committee, and finally, win the electoral votes to become the state officers.

I administer the test and help supervise one of the nominating committees. The committee is made up of students from across the state who take their responsibility to select the best candidates for their positions very seriously. It is a very interesting process to observe. The students act in a professional and mature manner. When they are done, I believe they have chosen the best candidates to be the next state officers.

When I have all the candidates together to give them their test, I tell them a couple of stories about previous officer candidates. I hope my stories encourage the students and help them to relax before their test. This year I told the students why I continue to come back and work at the conference each year since I retired. I told them that I come to see the hope for the future in their eyes. I told them that I see the future leaders of our country in that room. I see incredible potential in their eyes. I feel peace in my soul because I know our country is in good hands. The news discourages me, but when I look into their eyes my hope is restored that everything will work out. That’s why I come back year after year.

When I turned to pick up the test to be distributed I was caught off guard by their response; they applauded me. I couldn’t hide the tear that escaped my eye, which only elicited more cheers. I encourage you to turn off the news and look around you at today’s youth. I know they aren’t perfect, but neither are we. There are some young people with some bright ideas, strong moral values and a faith that is surprisingly refreshing.

Some people believe the politicians are going to help turn things around. Some trust in the stock market and believe its success will transform the world. Some hope that social reform will change the world. There is only one thing that can turn our world around. While I find hope in our youth, I know that the only way to change is through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the one who holds our future in His hands. He is the one who will guide us and protect us. He is our provider. Our only hope for the future is for us to turn our eyes back to God and to lean on His wisdom and direction.

I want to encourage you to turn your eyes and keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and perfector of our faith. The world may appear grim, but He is still in control. He loves us and has good things planned for our future. We must put our faith and trust in Him for all circumstances. He is the source of our Hope. He is the Prince of Peace. He loves us far more than we can understand. The future remains bright when we look into God’s eyes.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or