On September 25, 1954, the cover of The Saturday Evening Post featured what would become one of Norman Rockwell’s most iconic and revered paintings. It’s called “Breaking Home Ties” and it tells a poignant story:

A father and son sit side-by-side on the running board of a farm truck with a barely-visible railroad track in the foreground. The son sits upright, dressed in a suit and tie, train ticket protruding from his pocket, and a suitcase – adorned with a “State U” sticker – resting on the ground between his feet. The father, wearing blue denim work clothes, is leaning over with his elbows resting on his knees.

823581190_b52973c490_oOne of the more interesting aspects of the painting is the gaze of each person. The weary and slouched father appears to be looking down the track in one direction, while the college-bound son fixes his eyes-wide-open stare in the other direction. The juxtaposed postures and gazes speak of the past and future, of the obligations of the present versus the opportunities of tomorrow.

This Rockwell masterpiece is about more than heading off to college. It’s about that hopeful glance toward the future. It’s about the optimistic belief held by generations of American parents that their children would face a bright future – one possibly brighter than their own and one full of opportunity.

To be clear, by “brighter future” I do not mean “more material wealth.” Most parents, whether or not they can put it in words, have a fuller, more meaningful vision for the wellbeing of their children. It’s a vision that includes healthy relationships, strong families, steady employment and the opportunity to develop one’s God-given potential.

And there’s the rub.

I know you share my hope of making Georgia a state in which every single person has a real chance to prosper. And if public officials aren’t going to aggressively identify and remove barriers to opportunity, we at the Georgia Center for Opportunity will. That’s our mission. And that’s our obligation of the present.

We’ve been working hard to remove barriers to opportunity for the past two decades so that ALL have a real chance to prosper and an opportunity at a brighter future. I hope you’ll read through our initiatives page to learn more about the work we’re doing in areas such as education, family and community, healthcare access, and prisoner reentry. You can also join us in this important work by making a tax-deductible gift today.

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