Posted By: Edd Roberts, Roberts Law Office, PA

First posted on: Tenth J.D. Bar Professionalism Newsletter: August 2019

While I never have been one to sing my own praises, I was asked to write an article on “what will be your story,” a question most definitely appropriate to ponder at this stage of my life. Even though I’m nearly fifty, I consider myself a work in progress. In every facet of my life, as a spouse, a parent, a son, a professional, and an advocate, I continuously reflect on ways in which I can better myself. My two sons are constant reminders of why it is important to put forth the best version of myself and to do so daily. They are like sponges, soaking up everything I say, do, and don’t do.

Just the other day my seven-year-old, who I thought was fully engaged in playing with his younger brother in the other room, was listening to my telephone conversation with a client’s parent about her son being locked up in jail. In a way only a child would dare to ask, he inquired, “Dad, how come you help someone that did such a bad thing that he is locked up in jail for it?” Caught off guard with the bluntness of his question (if my seven year old son has a filter, he has yet to find it), it took some time before I responded with, “sometimes we are asked to do things that are not always understood by everybody, but are necessary because that is what makes our system of fairness work.” I’m not sure if he understood the full depth of those words, but the time it took me to think of them, share them, and later reflect on them made me realize that what I do professionally and how my sons perceive that aspect of my life is very important to me. I want them to see me as committed to an honorable and necessary profession. In order for that to be part of my story, every day for the rest of my life I must strive to be a better version of myself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” I can only hope that some of Emerson’s words are found living and well in my own life.