A visit with President Jimmy Carter
By JADAH DASHAY HARDEMAN
On Sept. 24, Grace UMC’s men’s Sunday School Class sponsored a trip for the youth of church. We had the opportunity to travel to Plains, Ga., to meet the 39th president, Jimmy Carter. How often do young African-American kids get to meet a president? Not Many!
When we first arrived in Plains, we visited a house that contained a lot of Jimmy Carter information. Some of us took a picture with a life-size poster of Jimmy Carter, but it was nothing like meeting him in person! We headed over to the old high school auditorium and sat and talked with one of the security guards. As we finished a game of Simon Says, it was announced that President Jimmy Carter had walked into the auditorium. We all stood and greeted him with respect.
President Carter had some very inspirational thoughts to share with us. He reminded us that just because you come from a humble beginning doesn’t mean that you can’t strive for something great in your life. He shared with us how he had one teacher that always inspired him to live up to his dreams and expectations. The president Jimmy Carter also talked about life in the White House.
We learned that President Carter’s 88th birthday was October 1, and that he has four kids, several grandchildren and great grandchildren. We posed for a group picture with him before he left. I like the way he talked with us and inspired us to seek to make a difference in our world. We watched a movie about his life, from childhood to the State Capitol to the White House, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and back to Plains. He set himself apart from others by showing his concern for members of all races, which could be traced back to his mother's refusal to accept racism. Since his presidency, Carter has devoted his career to trying to achieve peace and help humanity. After the movie, we had lunch at a park near his home, visited the farm where he grew up, and enjoyed boiled peanuts.
During the tour of his boyhood home, we saw a lot of old tools that I had never seen before, and learned how to wash clothes the old-fashioned way. We saw his father’s small store, near the home, and toured the home of the black lady where President Carter would often go visit when he didn’t want to be at home. Another fascinating thing was seeing how to make a “J” hook over the hot coals. They did everything on their farm.
I really enjoyed myself and I believe everyone else did too. Never forget that where you are from doesn’t make you, but what you make of your life is what you become.