Get Busy, Get Moving, Get Involved

"Success is a project that is always under construction."

--Former acclaimed NCAA women's basketball coach Pat Summit (1952-2016)

By Ron Ciancutti

What are you building?

I mean--we can all tell what the things you’re working on are, but what are you building?

I’m trying to diligently go window to window in our old English Tudor home and scrape and repaint each window frame.  It is boring, tedious work but will look so nice when I am done. So what I am doing is scraping and painting, but what I am building is a better, more solid home.

My younger son is taking a math class this summer in his first break home from college.  Taking a class is what he is doing, but a better future is what he is building.

I’m finding a lot of people don’t know the difference and are losing a lot of valuable time treading water while their peers are swimming right past them.  Let me give you a good example.

Say a young woman aspires to be an architect.  She is fascinated with buildings and structures.  She notices the artistic balance in everything she encounters.  In high school art classes, her work is always complimented.  The symmetry, the balance, the consideration of space all fall into line under her watchful eye.  People compliment her work, but she explains it has more to do with her interest in architecture than art. 

Now she signs up for classes in mechanical drawing and despite the success of her artistic hand, the mechanical drawings are not successful.  They look beautiful but they do not balance mathematically.  Some angles are too extreme to support the weight of certain building materials.  Some choices of materials are too thin to endure weather factors such as steady wind.

She is discouraged and actually if she doesn’t find a better way to apply her skills, she may just give this up altogether.  Without realizing it, she is building a career in a field she loves, but she is working on elements of the job she simply cannot yet achieve. 

The world needs people that are passionate about their work, but young men and women are not trained to correct themselves and find ways to stay on track.  On her own, this girl may just give up her dreams and take an office job or something to pay the bills.  But let’s say that one of the art teachers that saw her work listened to her dreams and knew about her aspirations.  When she sees her in the halls at school she asks how the mechanical drawing class is going and notices the discouraged tones.  If that adult went home and called a friend or called a friend that had a friend and arranged maybe a summer internship in an engineer’s or architect’s office and this young girl surrounded herself with the trade and absorbed skills and understandings, the whole concept may change in her mind.  A simple contribution from a caring adult can help her build a life and stop working on killing her spirit.  It just takes a minute to change a life!  Adults can see past the obstacles while younger people often cannot.

I’ve watched both my sons come through high school sports programs and both of them achieved financial help in college due to their physical skills, but it didn’t just happen.  I taped their games, I spliced their films, I sent those films to colleges and I got their names out there.

Do you have any idea how many kids out there have skills far beyond the ones my sons exhibited who will never get a chance to “strut” their talents because no one at home is pulling for them with anything more than passive interest?   You can’t leave it to the coach, they only have time to recommend and back the cream of the crop.  When I began to detect this dilemma, I appealed to other parents and suggested they “market” their own child’s skills a little more.  I sent them addresses and names of recruiters and urged them to push a little.  I am proud to say more than a few took my advice and ended up with some fruitful results.  It’s not wrong to point out the potential of success to people who can make a difference in a young person’s life.

Their kids are now building a future at college instead of trying to scrape every dime out of a college loan just to squeeze through.  They are learning about confidence and presenting themselves in a positive light.  They also learn what that assertive kind of positive attitude can provide.  The future is always on the horizon for these kids.  They just don’t know how to focus and maximize potential.

Again, I have found that our young men and women are not prepared to see beyond the small world that they know.  They need help and encouragement to get to the next step.  I think it is our adult obligation, as we try to grow a stronger country, to look around and assist those trying to make the world a better place through self-improvement.

In any task, there are multiple steps and elements to get the job done, but it is easy to get distracted along the way and pull your attention to some wheel spinning unimportant element of the job.  The time you take away from moving ahead by becoming distracted allows others to run right by you.

Let’s teach our youth that striving for success becomes a life-changing force that brings about patterns of accomplishment and achievement.  That builds people and takes them away from working on futility.    Look around everybody!  Encourage those younger than you and make them know that their pursuit of dreams should be a life goal for them, not just a moment at a graduation party.  Help them stay on track and find their way.

This great country of ours allows anyone to achieve their dreams.  The only thing stopping them is themselves.  A little encouragement, a little “leg up” now and then could change the profile of this planet.

C’mon!  Get involved.  What does it really cost you?  Time?  We got plenty of that, no?

Ron Ciancutti has worked in the parks and recreation industry since he was 16 years old, covering everything from maintenance, operations, engineering, surveying, park management, design, planning, recreation, and finance. He holds a B.S. in Business from Bowling Green State University and an M.B.A. from Baldwin Wallace University. He has held his current position as Director of Procurement since 1990. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at