• November 7, 2017

These folks are our role models

Throughout this year as I have had to recalibrate life after my own personal tragedy, I pick up the newspaper and listen to the news each day and think, “What the hell is going on?”

The atrocious discourse and divisiveness that passes for “discussion” and leadership in our nation’s capital, mass shootings, devastating hurricanes, floods and fires that have killed and displaced hundreds of thousands, even the NFL players’ “take a knee” movement. Even as I prepare to turn in this column comes word of a deadly attack in Manhattan where a man used a rented truck to plow into pedestrians, killing at least eight and injuring many others.

What is going on? Where are the leaders who can inspire us in these times? Who are the role models for our children, for all of us?

While it may seem insignificant, I took heart to hear of Chicago Dental Society volunteers who handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Halloween festivities. I also read of dentists who are helping their faraway colleagues in Puerto Rico with donations of money, materials and time to allow local dentists to get back on their feet and treat that devastated island community.

And ISDS organized an effort to have member dentists set aside five appointments on Nov. 10 and/or 11 to treat veterans at no charge to show them they care about them and their service to our country. 

These folks are our role models. 

Not the professional athletes with their multimillion-dollar contracts who jump to the team with the biggest checkbook. Lord knows only a very few of our politicians are deserving of our admiration and esteem. Business leaders seem to be lauded only for besting their earnings targets, not leading philanthropic campaigns. Influential scholars seem to be absent from the national stage.  

Who and where are our leaders who deserve to be followed in this era of scandal and distrust of our civic and business institutions?  

So often as I sift through information to find a topic to write about for this column, I find advice to dentists on how to squeeze more profit out of their practice. Of course financial stability and growth are important, but dentists play a larger role for the rest of us: a knowledgeable, approachable, trusted person who has our best interest at heart and whose motivation is to help us stay healthy. Again and again, polls show dentists rank near or at the top for trustworthiness.

It is a tall order, but my hope is that dentists want to stand tall, to see their profession as a calling, a privilege. You are the people in our home towns -- people we know -- who calmly do great work, do the right thing by your patients and lead efforts to help needy communities, not only at home but around the world with (largely unheralded) mission work.    

My hope is that you eagerly accept the mission of role model. We need you.    

The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinions of the Chicago Dental Society. CDS presents Front Desk, a column addressing problems dentists and staff members experience in the office. Front Desk is prepared by Stephanie Sisk, a freelance journalist. Suggestions? 
Email topics you wish to be covered to the Chicago Dental Society.