Public Speaker on Public Issues



Want to waste some time and feel good about it? All you have to do is join the ranks of millions of Americans asking questions such as how could, when did, why, who changed, where did we go wrong…the list of absurd, emotionally and intellectually insulting questions goes on and on. More importantly, however, so does the pretense of wanting to know the real answers.

The results of indulging in such dishonest pretenses continue to make headlines. These headlines can be about Columbine High School, school vouchers, gun control, increases in juvenile crime-the list goes on and on.

It is unfair and unjust to lay the blame for Columbine High School and similar juvenile tragedies at the doorsteps of the media, public education or gun owners. Yet, over and over again they are the scapegoat. True enough, they do play a role in the overall development of society. However, parents/guardians and individual citizens are where the rubber is really supposed to meet the road. Let’s take a look at why the tires of society seem to be low or perhaps altogether flat.

Why should anyone be surprised that such tragedies are happening?

The reasons are there and have been deepening for four decades now.

Parents in large measure have come to expect teachers to raise their children. They want schools to teach the "tough stuff". Tough stuff in this context refers to teaching them respect for authority, respect for other people and other people’s property. The public expects this to be achieved without the authority to effectively discipline children. Threats of lawsuits and career backlashes are constantly hanging over school systems for any actions that parents think abuse their children. Unfortunately for education professionals, the public now views the tools to teach the "tough stuff" as abusive, negative or too difficult. That a child might be wrong, out of line or lazy is seemingly beyond the imagination of many of those who call themselves parents or guardians.

Engendering kindness towards others in children is one of the greatest learning gifts elders can pass on to younger generations. But really — how can any thinking adult expect children to fill their souls with kindness and caring when they are allowed to watch violent and hateful programs/movies throughout their formative years? Why should children not settle problems with extreme violence and anger after being allowed by their elders to sit hour on end in front of video games or televisions that teach them nothing else?

The American business community knows only too well how much of a work ethic many young Americans do not have. How can any young American be expected to have a work ethic when they don’t grow up doing chores; and learning that sometimes you do things for love and not money-such as cutting your grandparents’ lawn. Good schooling can reinforce the development of a work ethic — but it should start at home.

We have allowed the deterioration of what our children learn — no one else. Just as we don’t want blame or responsibility placed on our children if it makes them unhappy or uncomfortable — so to do we not want to take the responsibility for our own actions or lack thereof.

As things have deteriorated in our school systems, many folks want to run away to some perfect world made safe and sound via vouchers. This approach is a classic example of the rubber not meeting the road. The public school system deserves the commitment of Americans to solve the problems and accept no less then excellent basic education. It’s ironic that, many who profess to want less government in their lives, seek to create another bureaucratic nightmare because they don’t want to stand, face and solve the problems.

Gun control can’t come off the lips quickly enough for many people these days. Private citizens and elected officials of both political parties are championing more gun control laws. These feel good sound bites ignore the reality that every school in this nation could be destroyed by many means other then guns. Talking gun control and passing some more laws let’s us go to sleep at night knowing we have acted responsibly. Right!

Elected officials could do this nation a great service by stating loud and clear that these tragedies are not the result of the products being produced, but the people being produced by those pretending to be responsible adults. It’s going to take this type of "hot air" to fill some very flat tires.

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