The other day while reading an article in our local paper, I got a good chuckle. It was reported that some organization had conducted a study that children viewing violence on television produced more aggression when they became adults. I chuckled with the thought that I could have told them that and saved them all that time and money. Sometimes all we need is just some good old common sense and we would all be better off. Unfortunately, in some circles common sense seems to be in short supply.
If you will tune me in and not prejudge what I am saying, I have some common sense thoughts to share with you that could make a difference in the lives of some very special people. To me, and probably to you as well, some of the most important people in our country are less than 18 years of age. I am talking about our nation’s young people, because they are our future and they face more challenges than those of us in the older generation ever thought about.
My heart is deeply touched when I hear or read about some young person committing suicide. We have this tragedy here in our community from time to time. A teacher who attended one of the funerals told me that it was obvious some of the students who also attended had never been to a funeral, as some of the girls were giggling, talking and up running around, and even pulled flowers off the casket for souvenirs. The answer here, of course, is that these young people had never been taught how to have respect for the feelings of others, or how to behave.
If you agree that situations like this really constitute a very sad state of affairs, you are also probably concerned about where we are headed and what should be done about it. Is it the school’s responsibility to teach respect for the feelings of others and how to behave at all public gatherings, or should parents be the ones to do this? We know from a common sense standpoint that it really falls to the parents because our schools can’t teach everything – there are just not enough hours in the day. They can help and they should, so maybe all of us working together can do something.
While we are on the subject of young people and their behavior, if you have children or grandchildren, please allow me to pose this question. Do your children or grandchildren have a “drug” problem? Before you get defensive, let me tell you what I have in mind. A reader sent me something the other day titled, “This is what was known as the Good Ole Days.” It begins: “I and my siblings had a ‘drug’ problem when we were youngsters. We were ‘drug’ to church on Sunday morning. We were ‘drug’ to church for weddings and funerals. We were ‘drug’ to family reunions, no matter the weather. We were ‘drug’ to school when we said we didn’t feel good. We were ‘drug’ by our ears when disrespectful to adults and teachers. We were also ‘drug’ to the woodshed when we disobeyed our parents. These ‘drugs’ are still in our veins, and I believe they very much affect our behavior in what we do, say and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin and if today’s kids had this kind of ‘drug’ problem, perhaps America could be a better place.”
If you will take a moment and ponder what this article is saying, I believe you will agree that there is a real and timely message here. When it comes to human nature, we know it has not changed as long as there have been human beings on this planet. When it comes to teaching children, it is really a matter of who is in charge. From a “common sense” standpoint, at least this is something to think about.
Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in the Log Cabin Democrat in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states.