All too often I have heard people express concern over the sad state of affairs in our society. The lack of respect for our elderly citizens, the ambivalence of our youth and their seeming lack of respect for authority, each other and life itself.
Many times have I heard someone express their bewilderment and wonder at what this country has come to. They can’t believe children are doing the (bad) things they are doing.
I watched a video on a news show recently that showed a man in a convenience store shooting another man repeatedly. Moments later five or six other people just walk on by the man who lay on the floor fighting for life. They didn’t even bother to help. It truly is a sad time we live in. But what can we do? It is out of control. Too often I’ve heard the remark that “there is nothing I can do.”
Friends, with a negative attitude there is truly nothing you can do. But what is worse is that with that kind of attitude YOU become a part of the problem. Isn’t it time you started being a part of the solution.
“But,” you say, “there is no solution.”
Ah, but I believe there is. The solution is within all of us because the solution starts with each one of us separately. The solution isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. It will take dedication and determination. It begins with “no.”
You see, every time you as an adult allows bad behavior to go unchecked you are guilty of feeding that bad behavior - that behavior that leads to more bad behavior and so on until ultimately a man is lying in his own blood in a convenience store and people are walking by him not lending a hand.
As children and young people fall prey to peer pressure, grow up in a single parent home, never go to church and are given no punishment for their actions the fault falls to us as adults.
Whether as a parent or a concerned citizen we must say NO! We must demand severe repercussions for actions that fall outside the accepted lines of decency, civility and human kindness.
We must say NO when a child or young adult disrespects authority. Whether that authority is a parent, grandparent, policeman or teacher we MUST DEMAND our youth respect authority. We must teach they don’t have to like it but they DO have to respect it.
We must as adults also teach by our example. Our youth must see that we practice what we preach. We also must show respect for authority, respect for our elders and respect for women. Our youth must see that we defer to the policeman who pulls us over for speeding. We may not like it but that does not mean we do not show that officer respect.
As I sat down to write this blog entry I had the intention of leading the reader to understand how many of our older adults, including myself, came to be instilled with the values we hold. For myself I had the triple blessing of a Christian home, a military father and the Boy Scouts. I know that may sound odd but let me explain.
First my parents are Christians and every Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday nights we drove about 40 minutes one way to worship services and Bible study. Yes, for a kid it got old at times, I couldn’t participate in some secular activities because they occurred at times when we were at church. You see, in my family God came first. That was how we were raised. That environment taught me morality, love, devotion and respect among many other things.
Secondly, my father retired from the U.S. Navy. Growing up a military brat meant we moved several times as we followed my father from station to station. In that environment I learned a different kind of respect… respect for authority, for country, and for the flag. I learned that sacrifice is good and honorable and patriotism is something to be proud of.
And lastly the Boy Scouts. I think this noble institution instilled in me the values necessary to be a good citizen and to face many of the everyday situations we encounter. From the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” to the Scout pledge which elicits duty to God, to others and to self. But it is the Scout Law with its twelve tenets which I believe can be the greatest solution to our nations problems today if it were only taught to every single child as they grow. That law is this:
A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
Such powerful words, such empowering words. You don’t have to be a scout or a boy to abide by them, any race, gender, age or religious beliefs (including atheists) can abide by them. But if you want your world to be a better place you and I need to teach them, live them and abide by them. Pass it on.