Thursday, April 11, 2013

Greetings, Gentle Readers...

I've been away from this blog since the tragedy at Newtown.  I've found myself floundering some: so very disappointed at our government, our leadership.  I'm amazed at the huge divide in our society.  And it is a divide in which the chasm seems to continue to widen.

We cannot see a middle ground on anything.  Controlling arms sales.  How to teach our children.  The responsibility of parents.  The dignity of life.  

Our society is, to me, in free fall.  I'm not saying we should go back to the "good old days."  Not at all.  But there are things about the time of my childhood that I believe we have lost, and to our detriment.

We learned, as children, that you addressed adults by their last names.  Mrs. Brown.  Mr. White.  Even our grandparents addressed their peers, with whom they were not familiar, in that way.  We would never think of talking back to the neighbors.  They would tell our folks and we would pay for it with a sore backside.  Am I saying we should beat our children?  Of course not!  But I can remember a well-placed smack on the backside getting my attention.  We learned our lessons.  And we learned them well. Today, being respectful is a long-lost art.  Parents want to be friends.  No, dear readers. Parents need to be parents.  Children these days know that threats are empty.  

We learned, as children, that education is important.  We didn't disrupt our classes.  We didn't threaten the teachers.  We were quiet when we were instructed to do so.  Any disruptions were handled quickly and appropriately.  Parents had conferences with teachers and worked hand-in-hand to ensure their kids were progressing.  You want to play?  Do your homework.  School was a big deal.  And, regrettably, as our lack of emphasis on excellence in education has slipped, so has the expectation we have for our teachers.  I have friends who are educators (or who are in college to be educators) and cannot write a simple sentence nor read a book at the junior high level.  It's sad.  What happened to having pride in our education and our educators?

We learned, as children, that a spiritual life was important.  Yes, most of my friends were Christian or Jewish.  But there were others who were of other faiths.  We didn't beat each other up over whose religion was the "truth."  We accepted each other.  It was a private matter.  But everyone found their own way and respected each other.  It's unfortunate that zealots have ruined that spiritual life and actually discouraged people from the spiritual.  So many are now walking away from spiritual things. Not because we have lost the capacity for the miraculous, but because we have become weary of having to justify ourselves to others.

We learned, as children, the importance of money and the value of things. We didn't have cell phones.  We didn't have i-pods.  We had plain old dial phones.  If you called someone, you got a busy signal.  You didn't have 24/7 access to people.  And I think we were much more stable that way.  We learned that everything had a cost involved.  We learned that if we wanted something, we had to earn it.  And we learned if we didn't treat what we had with care, it wasn't just going to be replaced by our parents. We worked.  We mowed lawns.  We raked yards.  We flipped burgers.  We had lemonade stands.  We earned what we wanted.

I could go on forever.  But I believe you get the idea.  Those of you who are my age or older, are probably still nodding your heads.  Keeping up with the Joneses has become the rule of the day.  Johnny Jones has a smart phone so your kid has to have one.  No.  He doesn't.  There is still time to teach the next generation.  There is still time before we jump over the edge.

Will we be friends with our kids?  Nope.  Probably not.  But we weren't put on this Earth to be friends.  We were put on this Earth to educate and train up kids.  As the Bible states, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Everyone who knows me knows I'm not a Bible person.  But every philosophy and religion has their place.  And you can't beat that quote.  It's time to return to training.  Training is showing love.  Training is ensuring that those who come behind will treat this Earth with respect.  

Want to solve climate issues?  Want to bring our economy back from the brink?  Want to ensure all people have food, clothing, shelter and medical care?  Train up the next generation.  Teach young adults to see the global impact of what they do.  And encourage them in those endeavors.

When we do, we will find the world a new place of great value...and those responsible for it ready for the challenge.