If you drive an automobile, at some time or another you probably have experienced this situation. You are driving down the road doing the speed limit when you are distracted or maybe doze off. Your vehicle veers off the side of the road onto the shoulder. In the vast majority of cases, you just firmly take the steering wheel and make the correction and soon are back where you belong.

Now, depending on how far off the road you are and how fast you are going, a more severe course of action may be necessary. It’s right here that many people over-correct and they find themselves fighting the steering wheel, trying to keep the car on the road and not in the ditch on the other side. I am sure you will agree that many accidents happen just like the scenario I have described. This can be and sometimes is fatal.

This example came to mind when a friend sent me something in the mail the other day. It was a series of scenarios that point out how many people handle problems today, as opposed to back in 1957. This may help to explain why America has been in the proverbial ditch in many ways for the past several years. To say it very simply, too many of our citizens lack basic common sense, and when it comes to solving problems they have over-reacted and over-corrected. Please read on and see if you don’t agree.

Scenario 1: Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack. 1957 — Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his own shotgun to show Jack. 2010 — School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school. 1957 — Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies. 2010 — Police called and SWAT team arrives – they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3: Jeffrey will not sit still in class, and he disrupts other students. 1957 — Jeffrey sent to Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again. 2010 — Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt. 1957 — Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman. 2010 — Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. 1957 — Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal in the hall. 2010 — The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

There is more, but I want to make a comment or two before my space is gone. I realize that we live in a different day and time. Often we do have to err on the side of caution because of the negative and often satanic forces in our society today that were not around back in 1957. Really this is about using some “common sense” and not over-reacting. Don’t be guilty of that.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark., 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project, visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com.)