Inspirational Parenting Poem About Raising a Child

“The Art of Parenting” – A Inspirational Poem About Being A Parent

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Parenting is like carving a sculpture from glass –
too rough and it shatters;
too delicate and you leave the edges too jagged
and the corners too sharp,
sure to find failure and breed a selfish heart.
The sculptor must bear the cuts and bruises
if the piece is to become a true work of art,
chipping away small fragments of imperfection
each time a hateful yell or scream provides an examination,
molding character and values with imperfect hands.
There are frequent failures and regretted actions,
but you wake each day determined to do the best you can.
From experience will come wisdom,
and as soon as you become wise,
you’ll find you’re a fool.
This thing called parenting has no manuals or fit-alls
and has few hard-written rules.
Some days end with a rewarding smile,
others with frustrating sighs.
But the goal is not friendship or perfection.
It’s to prepare a child for life.

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

Behind the Poetry

Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The few parenting skills that are required are patience, more patience, self-control, discipline, selflessness, and unconditional love – all of which most people find are their greatest weaknesses. Some days kids are a blessing to be around, the next so miserable that you feel you’re going to lose it if you hear one more complaint.

Raising kids is an art in a sense. You start with a person that has no “form” to their character and values, and your task is to shape and mold your child as he or she grows. But this piece can move, talk, fight back, defy, love, bless, care, be happy, angry, sad, hyper, and a slew of other emotions. It’s tough work and does require lots of patience and sometimes, a not so pleasant examination of yourself. The reward though is that you have a piece of art, God’s art, that is beautiful and alive, able to think for themselves and to interact with and love.

There are countless books, tapes, and videos that claim to teach you how to be a parent. They may provide some guidance, but we all know that each child is different and what works for one child backfires with another. No, parenting is like art – you learn by doing. You get your hands dirty and jump in there, sure to make mistakes, but you keep trying day after day to learn all you can about your “craft”.

Beauty is often born from chaos, and kids can create a lot of it. Parenthood sometimes can feel like a constant struggle to just keep the chaos contained long enough that it doesn’t fall apart. But then you have good days, and you realize that it was never meant to be easy. When you raise your kids right, you are forced to also raise yourself…to grow alongside them. One of a child’s greatest skills is pulling every negative part of your character out of the hidden parts of your heart and putting them on display. You have to look at that part of you and decide if that’s someone you want you child to be around. And they unknowingly push us to change for the better. In the end, we teach each other about life, love, and what it means to be a family.

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Poem About Seasons Changing – When Autumn Leaves

“When Autumn Leaves” – A Poem About Seasons Changing From Fall to Winter

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I take my dog out the front door to do his morning business
and feel temperature change whip me in the face –
chilly air burning and freezing my nostrils simultaneously.
Overnight a lush, green carpet has transformed
into a frost-tipped arena of ice.

Blades of grass poke up like tiny daggers.
With each footstep, they pierce my hope for Autumn to stay.
The rays of the days have been wasting away –
dark by the time work’s done with no light for play.
And of Autumn, I fear she’s reached her death.

Frost isn’t welcome here.
But Nature defies my every command.
She controls the tides of the seasons
as an unseen, unstoppable force,
moving across the realms of life like an invisible hand,
brewing chaos and bringing order,
destroying life and creating life
without uttering a word.
Silent, but always heard
by all forces of life in this world.

I must cave to her order.
But admit I am not ready for when Autumn leaves –
when she packs up her warmth and color,
when the fiery flames of pumpkins are extinguished
by rot and mold,
when greenery withers in agony when kissed
by the north wind’s harsh breath.

But I must submit to Autumn’s death
because Winter comes without my blessing.
I see frost from my doorstep this morning
and know it won’t be long before Winter arrives.

About the Poem

Living in Indiana, it seems fall is always too short. It is by far my favorite season, and I feel I never get enough of it. Many years, by the time your notice that the leaves are changing color, the temperature is finally cooling down, and it actually feels like fall, a week later it’s bitter cold and snowing. As much as I hate the changing of seasons from fall to winter, I am grateful to live in a state where there are stark contrasts from season to season. With the seasons changing, it reminds you that nothing is meant to stay the same forever. The seasons change, and we must adapt, year after year, as we are called to do. They also humble us and remind us that there are greater powers in the world. But it’s never easy for me to see the first hard frost and know that fall is about over and winter is just around the corner.

You may also enjoy another of my poems about the changing seasons, “Frost of the Field” or you can find all of my poems on nature HERE

An Unconditional Love Poem – All My Affection

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All My Affection – An Unconditional Love Poem

I have learned about love
from the way you have loved me –
embracing my flaws and imperfections,
even when I crumble in self-loathing, ready to accept defeat.

Your compassion dances around me,
turns attention away from my often clumsy feet.
Its rhythmic motions sway in a relaxed manner,
abounding even when I fall and never miss a beat.

Eyes like a campfire radiating loving warmth,
they let me know you take me as I am.
No need for perfection or a false self –
faithfulness and my love are your only demands.

Your ability to love me as broken as I am
gives me the confidence to embrace my own imperfection.
Your grace outweighs this lead-filled bag of failures,
and your heart has all my affection.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

It’s easy to say, “I love you”. It’s quite another thing to act out, “I love you”. We live in a world where divorce and infidelity are rampant. Love has lost its meaning and has become only something you say to someone you care about, but is not unconditional. Unconditional love is much stronger than the weak adjective you use in the beginning of a relationship to describe your feelings. It is a verb that acts even when the adjective is missing.

There are circumstances that demand that your love be conditional, such as domestic abuse, because you love yourself and your children; however, far too often we quit on love because we think it is meant to be easy…that wonderful adjective that we first felt. We forget that true love, unconditional love,  is meant to stretch our character – to learn how to forgive, learn how to give grace to another, and ultimately to act out love’s true meaning.

We all want unconditional love, but in order to get it we must give it. Unconditional love doesn’t ignore a partner’s flaws or pretend that they don’t exist, but loves despite those things and helps provide support in overcoming those imperfections as a unit.

Everyone has deep flaws, no matter how good their strengths are. Weaknesses in either partner should not be held in solitary confinement – never spoken of and never visited. Elimination of those weaknesses should be the goal, but never the condition. If you love with the expectation that your partner will change someday, you’re not really loving at all.

A partnership can be dissolved anytime one of the individuals involved fails to meet the terms of the agreement. Unconditional love, on the other hand, is something entirely different. When you love someone unconditionally, you love them even when they aren’t meeting the terms of the agreement. And in turn, hopefully they love you when you aren’t.

But loving someone unconditionally doesn’t depend on them loving you back unconditionally. You can’t control another person. All you can do is do your best everyday to love without demands or requirements. We all fail at love. Sometimes you fail. Sometimes they fail. Sometimes you both fail together. But when unconditional love is the ultimate goal – when you define love as a verb and not an adjective – love provides the strength to carry one another and transcends the imperfections that we all have inside of us.

Do you want a partnership or unconditional love? You can’t have both. We all want to be unconditionally loved, but often only want to give a partnership. It’s easy to make a list of the ways they are failing us. It’s much more difficult to inventory the way we are failing them. There are circumstances where the person you love has betrayed you so deeply that the relationship may not be sustainable. But in today’s society, I think we are all too quick to point fingers and point out each other’s flaws instead of looking at ours and theirs, together as a whole.

You may also like my romantic love poems,“The Wings of a Fighter” and “I Want To Walk With You”

Poem About Modern Society Issues and the Negative Effects of Technology

6698785557_19d5e9e6ed_zSleepy Little Village – A Poem About Modern Society Issues and the Negative Effects of Technology

Sleepy little village,
existing in the past, outside of modern times,
did you have more comfort
than among the abundance of modern life?

Sleepy little village,
where all work was done by the hands,
were you more in tune with life’s purpose?
Were you closer to living out the Master’s plan?

Sleepy little village,
slave to weather and Mother Nature’s time,
did harmony and your dependence keep you rested?
Did you know how to slow the wheels of the mind?

Sleepy little village,
full of few possessions – poor, just getting by,
did you know more joy and happiness
than an age where refusals are met with entitled replies?

Sleepy little village,
where townsfolk talk as neighbors and kin,
were you more enlightened on how to love and comfort?
Were you more educated than us on the meaning of “friend”?

Sleepy little village,
simple – without convenience and modern charm,
look at all our wonderful advances…
Has technology eased our burdens or added more to drag along?

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

You may also like another poem of mine about modern society issues, “The Deathbed Confessions of an Old Woman”.


Picture taken from https://flic.kr/p/bcX2yH

Inspirational Poem About Life Journey and Success One Step At A Time

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One Step At A Time – An Inspirational Poem About Life Journey

A spiral, wooden staircase
reaches up like crooked branches –
oak fingers, determined to touch the sky.

Stairs with ornate, hand-carved railings
make way for impossible feats and give
wingless creatures a chance to fly.

And I stand humble before them,
wondering where they lead
and how high they climb.

A thousand steps is too many,
but one at a time seems possible
if I keep my head level and eyes blind.

Every journey begins distant –
hard, unfathomable, unimaginable,
while peering across the sands of time.

But complacency is a curse
that stands ready with force
to defend comfort in the battle of the mind.

Life is one continuous climb.
Each day one step closer to
the potential written in your heart.

No need for giant leaps
or desperate measures destined for defeat,
but you must find somewhere to start.

Progress comes to those who push onward,
planting seeds even when tired
and a day off is a tempting reward.

For excuses quickly become reasons
to idly watch months go by
without a step forward.

It’s the small choices you make
compounded over a lifetime
that leave you in the plains or push you to the peak.

At the end of life’s journey,
the number of seeds you’ve sown
determines the character you reap.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

I think we all have a place where we are and a place in our mind where we want to be. The gap between those two places can be overwhelming and cause many struggles along our life journey. Personally, I have the struggle with feast or famine – I’m either all in and try to drastically alter everything in my life overnight or feel defeated by how many changes I know I need to make and do nothing.

Life is similar to a spiral staircase that leads up to who we want to be and our idea of success. You don’t reach the top by quick sprints or you’re bound to get burnt out and tired. I have the temptation to try to change my big life struggles right away, but those can only be overcome with work and time. The way to the top comes by doing the small things right everyday and making good choices in the small decisions. Small baby steps everyday accumulate into major growth in our life journey over weeks, months, and years. Small steps prevent us from becoming too overwhelmed and inspire us to keep going during life’s struggles. One day at a time, one step at a time, we will reach our life goals and everyday move closer to who we want to be and further away from who we are.

Where are you right now in life?

Where do you want to be or what is the difference between your “ideal” self and who you are now?

What small steps can you do everyday to put you closer to achieving your goals in life?

The journey in life is never easy, but keeping your progress small, manageable, and attainable snowballs into drastic change over time.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my similar poem,“Today”, which is about inspiring change in your life and taking the first step in your life journey.

Poem About Recovery From Addiction – The Streets of Delusion

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The Streets of Delusion – A Poem About Addiction Recovery

I walked the streets of delusion
where the streetlights glow
with golden spheres of flame.

Dancing like fireflies in a glass jar,
their seductive splendor tempted me,
whispering my ego’s name.

I walked the streets of delusion
believing them to be paved
with adventure and romantic ecstasy.

Each footstep outpaced reason,
while my sole pounded values into the pavement,
And my feet stepped over morality.

I walked the streets of delusion
until life’s traffic slammed into my body,
cursing as I fell on my face.

Pride poured out of every gash,
every cut and every broken bone,
yet desire still yearned for one more taste.

I walked the streets of delusion,
or rather crawled without care of judgement –
broken, but not yet ready to accept defeat.

But suddenly stopped in horror
when I saw Death approaching
from the end of the street.

I stared down the streets of delusion,
wide-eyed and finally willing
to see the truth of where they lead.

No one is exempt
from reaping death and ruin
when they plant Destruction’s seed.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

Every recovering addict remembers what it was like walking “the streets of delusion”. Inside every addict there is a point where you deceive yourself into believing that you are not addicted, that you just like to have fun, and that you’ll stop as soon as “x” happens. The elation that we feel while drunk or high is greater than the warning signs that surround us, and we turn our backs on everything that once mattered in our life for the brief comfort and feelings of power alcohol and drugs provide. The strongest and most dangerous lie that addiction tries to convince us of is that somehow we will outsmart a disease and won’t be like all the others that are on the same path we are on…that we can control it without recovery. We will somehow find a happy medium between sane and crazy, drunk and sober, addiction and recovery. Somehow we will keep ourselves and those we care about out of danger and prevent chaos in our lives, all the while brewing it wherever we go. The difference between active and non-active addiction is usually nothing more than an honest look in the mirror and having the courage to expose the lies that have led us down the path we’re on. Obviously admitting we need help is the next step, but until we get off “the streets of delusion” we will never see the truth of how desperately we need recovery and how out of control our addiction and our life has become.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy my poem about alcoholism,“One More Taste”.

Life is in the Eye of the Beholder Poem

Life is in the Eye of the Beholder

Life is in the eye of the beholder.
It remains constant through the ages,
But changes with each person’s view.
The pixels of your life’s image
Are formed and determined by you.

The lens we choose to look through
Is the filter that determines our fate.
Blessings abound for those with humble hearts;
Misfortune for the proud awaits.

Curses and gifts are wrapped in the same packages;
Their contents are named when opened.
Curses will find those who feel entitled;
Gifts will present themselves when chosen.

Be patient in judgments.
Let the season pass before crying out your dismay.
What often begins as terrible weather
Ends as part of a beautiful day.

Trust that there’s meaning in the madness
Or mad you will become.
A glass is either half-full or half-empty,
And your happiness to bound to either one.

Life is in the eye of the beholder.
Its blessings are as numerous as the stars,
And its scars outnumber the droplets of the sea.
The choice is given in the pair of glasses
From which you decide to see.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

There are events in life that are clearly tragedies and others that are clearly blessings, but most of what happens to us is determined by our expectations and our viewpoint. In my life, I’ve dealt and deal with many things that could be considered misfortunes – addiction,anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder. At the beginning of this week, my anxiety was very high, and I found myself in pity mode, asking, “Why me? Why does it have to be so hard? Why has my life been robbed by mental illness?”

The only person I could seem to find blame with was God. If God is in control, he is the one to blame. Sometimes when you’re brought so low by something outside of your control, it’s hard to trust and believe in a God of goodness and mercy. But one of the blessings of Christianity is that He knows that. There is no shame for us at times to feel abandoned and confused, for Christ himself shouted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But the danger is staying in that place too long and not looking at the big picture of life. The danger is turning away and not seeking council through prayer and patience. I received an answer when a thought popped into my head asking who I would be without the struggles I have had in life.

There’s no doubt that I would have more worldly success without mental illness and addiction. But when I thought about the type of person I would have become, I had to admit that I would likely be extremely arrogant, prideful, hateful, feel no need for God, and have none of the good qualities and values that I’m grateful for. I am quick to blame God for pain; yet know, as stubborn as I am, often times it’s the only way to get me to listen.

The pain in life is not enjoyable and often feels hard to bear. For me, the error lies in my assumption that I’m entitled to feel no pain. I’m entitled to have complete control over my life with no consequences. I’m entitled to have a smooth life with no struggles or battles.  The reality is that our character is formed by those hardships. The hardships are what force us to do the things we don’t want to do, but know we need to do. What we label as “misfortune” is often a blessing that stirs within us the question of “why”, calling us back towards God and off the dangerous path we’re on.

There are times too when there is no answer and our circumstance is too terrible to see anything good in it. The only thing we are called to do is to wait, be patient, and trust that God will work goodness out of darkness. Often, what seems like unbearable tragedy is looked upon as saving grace years down the road.

Goodness and blessings occur everyday, but it is up to us to find them. It’s so much easier to notice all things that are wrong with our lives instead of cherishing the abundance of blessings and goodness. Our outlook on life isn’t going to prevent us from ever going through pain, but does keep things in perspective and allows us to have joy even when we’re not happy temporarily, knowing that our joy is not bound by the ups and downs of this world.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like my poem, “Everyday Miracles”, about finding the presence of God everyday in ordinary things.

Poem About Bipolar Disorder Manic Depression – Roller Coaster

Roller Coaster – A Poem About Bipolar Disorder / Manic Depression

 

No waiting lines.
No ticket fees.
I was born strapped in your seat.

You took me up.
You took me down.
No choice in where I was bound.

But you soared me too high.
You crashed me too low.
I fried in Hell’s fiery furnace, writhed in winter’s snow.

A thrilling ride
for a moment’s time,
but now no way to stop this racing mind.

For a moment’s time
A slow, quiet rest,
but now bleak, cold, and dead inside my chest.

No way to curb the madness.
No way to calm the fear.
No way to halt this ride and get out of here.

Corkscrews and loops.
Falls and climbs.
I spend my life riding the moods of my mind.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

Anyone who has dealt with bipolar disorder knows what it’s like to feel like your life is a constant roller coaster. You click up the tracks and reach the summit, feeling on top of the world. But soon come crashing down, picking up speed and racing through tunnels, curves, and loops. It may be exciting to feel out of control for a few minutes on a ride, but when it becomes the way you describe your life, enjoyment isn’t one of the words that comes to mind.

It’s exhausting living with bipolar, not knowing which “you” is going to wake up the next day. Are you going to be racing with energy, crazy in an episode of mania? Or are you going to wake without enough energy to even get out of bed and struggle to make it through the day filled with depression? Mental illness, and specifically bipolar disorder, can make you feel like your whole life is one long roller coaster ride you can’t get off of.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like my poem “The Clouds of Mourning”

Poem About Broken Dreams – “Dream-Weaving”

Dream-Weaving – A Poem

The seams of my dreams are unraveling –
Thread stretched out in heaps,
Ensnaring my feet, tripping me, sending me falling
Into jaded existence.
Innocence, where is my resistance to your demise?

This cloak once kept me warm in the night,
but is now tattered, holes allow the howling wind
To chill the depths of my soul.
No longer whole, but unable to pinpoint what’s been lost.
Unable to retrieve a feeling that once was.
Dreams that used to woo me with their tales
Now stir up nothing but bitterness.
They are cold like unearthed stone
And seem better left buried than dug up –
Too hard, too massive, too rigid to be molded into beauty.

I miss lofty ideals and carnival lights
With roller coaster life.
I miss uncertainty and belief in the unknown.
I miss the magic of weaving this cloak of dreams,
Of sewing seams across endless skies.
But the fire in my eyes has died.
Somewhere the flames went out, and I no longer cared.
I no longer dared to see beyond the realm of mundane reality.
And now by and by
I have betrayed my own soul.
I have yielded to the world’s cold mentality.
Beaten upon my breath in my chest until it no longer moved
And resorted to conformity.

I am left with only a ragged, dirty cloak
That use to be radiant,
That sparkled with the swirling of dreams
But they have long ceased to move me.
I yearn to fix the canvas, but don’t know where to start.
I long to believe once more in the magic of art,
But find myself a seamstress without needle and thread
To sew up these holes that life has chewed up and swallowed;
With no way to sweep out the darkness that life has let in.

-Poem written by Justin Farley

photo credit: jinterwas insomnia via photopin (license)

Brownsburg Little League Baseball Pushed Aside For “New Downtown Revitalization”

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Before 1999, few outside our neighboring towns would know much about Brownsburg, Indiana. It was a small town with a small town feel, close enough to Indianapolis, but far enough away to not feel trapped in a city. Outsiders would often ask, “Brownsburg…where’s that?” when you told them where you were from. But in the summer of 1999, a Little League Baseball All-Star Team, which included myself, changed that.

It’s ironic (or rather disgusting) that the Brownsburg Town Council has ignored the very place and people that gave them a good chunk of the means for a nearly 100-million-dollar project to begin with.

I am not insinuating that there haven’t been other factors at play over the years that have contributed to Brownsburg’s growth. A key fact remains, however, that the initial surge over the last 18 years was largely due to our team playing on national television, filling the Indianapolis Star with our successes, and was once again revisited two years later when a second team from Brownsburg went to the Little League World Series – all advertisement for the town.

Brownsburg soon became a hot spot for young families who wanted their children to grow up in an area with so much success surrounding our Little League and baseball programs in general. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Brownsburg’s population increased from 12,513 in July of 1999 to 15,086 by July of 2000, an increase of 17% – the largest by far in a single year from 1990-2016.

Hearing that a crucial part of my childhood was going to be torn down – a place where a group of 13 kids worked their hearts out practicing day after day drenched in sweat beneath the summer heat for a vision and goal that seemed so out of our league – caused quite a bit of anger, stirred past memories awake again, and also brought back joy, remembering what we accomplished and how much fun we had doing so.

All places go through change and some changes are harder than others to swallow. There’s nothing wrong with vision, there’s nothing wrong with progress, and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. We created a lofty goal for ourselves starting from the first practice…we were going to make it to the Little League World Series. We aimed much higher than I think anyone in the community, our coaches, or even our parents truly believed we’d achieve. Yet, we saw our goal turn to reality by the end of that summer. But in the process we never forgot who we were. We never forgot where we came from. We never tried to be something we weren’t. We weren’t trying to be Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, or anyone else but who we were. We were Brownsburg Little League All-Stars, and that’s all that mattered.

The loss of baseball fields is not the key issue here. Of course I hate to see them go, but if it had to be done, so be it. The real issue is how it was done and that this entire “revitalization project” reeks of money. It’s repugnant with the fumes of phoniness – a town acting like a immature high school kid trying to fit in and be “cool” like all the other towns. My anger burns because it seems a select few want to sweep who we are as a town, where we came from, and all of our history under a rug, in order to start over, without any real feedback from the community.

This is the 21st century. A Town Board meeting is not the place to ask permission of the community to initiate drastic changes to a town. Few people have the time to put their busy life on hold in order to sit through a meeting where they feel little power to change anything anyways. But it’s much easier to enact controversial change without truly getting the opinion of the people. A board meeting gives them an excuse for their actions without fear of their decisions being challenged by the entire community. Conveniently, by the time word spreads and the true nature of what the change means reaches the masses, it’s already too late to stop it.

I hope to be proven wrong, but the only thing that seems clear from the vague diagrams and plans is money. Vision requires risk, but it also doesn’t jump out on a limb with nothing to catch it if it falls. Housing. More Housing. Development. More development…with no place to hold it all. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this town wasn’t built to be a major traffic center. State Road 267 is pushing its limits as it is. But more development means more revenue and tax dollars, which means more cash flow. So who cares about the long-term consequences…

Here’s a thought: How about we fix the current problems before we add more? How about we come up with real strategies and real solutions to deal with our current issues…like how the hell are you going to build this type of development in an area that is bumper to bumper traffic everyday as it is? How about we stop wasting tax payer money on things that are a complete waste of resources and are only for show? How about finding a good solution to where our children are going to play baseball before you tear down the field? Better yet, HOW ABOUT YOU HAVE A SOUND PLAN BEFORE YOU START CONSTRUCTION?

The town of Brownsburg vaguely even resembles the place I grew up. There have been some improvements, but at a high cost. Too often I’ve seen long-term consequences ignored for the sake of short-term gains. When you let the flood gates down and let anyone and everyone move in a town without first determining whether it is realistically capable of handling that capacity and growth, you have a serious flaw in leadership.

As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau cites that Brownsburg had 25,408 residents compared to 16,960 residents in Avon. Wow…and you wonder why we have traffic problems. US 36 is able to handle Avon’s numbers; 267 is not able to handle ours. And never will be. That is unless you knock down the entire town and rebuild it, which seems like what they’d have it mind given the opportunity.

Time and time again, you see lack of vision and lack of leadership. I have a hard time believing the people elected to serve us are this incompetent and lack any insight on future consequences. I sure hope so, because the only alternative is that they are knowingly putting aside our interests for money and more income from tax dollars.

I wish I was only sad to see a historical place in the town go, but I’m not. I’m angry and left with a bitter taste in my mouth. The Brownsburg Little League baseball diamonds are just another bead on a long string of decisions made by this town that all share a consistent theme – short-term gains for long-term pains.

Change must always precede progress. But change without respect and honor for principle and history isn’t progress.; it’s chaos. Without a firm foundation to build upon, change has nowhere to stand.

 

-Written by Justin Farley, member of the 1999 Brownsburg Little League All-Star Team and 1999 Little League Baseball World Series Finalist