The next password is Jalapeno

No. 988



Over the years there have been thousands, perhaps millions, of people who have made this comment, “I had rather see a good sermon than to hear one any day.” If you live here in my community, I have a good candidate that I would like to recommend to you. Before I reveal his identity, if you don’t live here but reside in one of the many other markets where this column runs, I want to suggest that you think about the people you know personally, who would qualify as a living sermon. This is to say they are role models the rest of us would do well to emulate.
Now please do not misunderstand what I am saying. No one is perfect but they possess the attributes and qualities that our young people can look up to and learn from. We need that more than ever in our society today. If you know some, take time to thank them.
The person I want to suggest for your consideration is my friend, former state Sen. Stanley Russ. Stanley served in the Arkansas Senate for 26 years and is now past 80 years of age but is still very active in the life of our community. I might add very proudly that he is a member of our Conway Bookcase Project committee. He is the kind of man that you just admire, respect and look up to -- by the way he constantly serves and by his uncommon character and integrity. Again, do you know people in your community that you could nominate as a living sermon? Without asking him for anything, the other day he made a special trip by a meeting I was attending to give me a folder of information that he had collected over the years that had to do with character.
I was particularly impressed by one of the quotes he gave me, especially since we are in dire need for character training in our country. Here is the quote: “It won’t do any good to graduate young people from school who are brilliant, but dishonest; creative, but irresponsible; have great intellectual knowledge, but don’t care about other people. If we teach young people to do what’s right, to tell the truth, to help your neighbor, to work hard and follow your dreams, to try again when you fail, that is character education. These are the values upon which our nation was founded” -- Sandy McDonnell, Chairman of the Character Partnership on the Hour of Power.
As I thought about this quote and the importance of having sterling character as a basic requirement for true and long-lasting success, I went to the Internet to do a little research. There I found tons of information about teaching character in schools, classes and courses that have been developed, and some were very good. I am sure they help many students, especially those who do not receive character training at home – which is the basic root of the problem. At this point I would like to come back to my earlier point about seeing a good sermon, which is to say someone who lives it, rather than to hear one any day. While some people may disagree, unless we have men and women in leadership positions model character in their own lives, most other character training will fall on deaf ears.
As a starting point, one of the things that is very disconcerting for me is to hear coaches, teachers, parents, executives and countless others use profanity every other word in their instructions or just every day conversation. If there is any real benefit that can come from what I am saying it would be for these foul-mouthed people to work on their vocabulary so they can communicate effectively without using profanity. Only when we respect ourselves can we truly respect others.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)

The next password is Jalapeno