No. 256



The other day a friend sent me something titled Dirt Roads that was written by the late Paul Harvey. Ive always had a deep respect for Paul Harvey and think he was a great American. I know he wont mind if I share a portion of Dirt Roads with you as a means to introduce a subject that I believe is vital to our individual as well as our national interests.

He begins by saying, Whats mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved. Theres not a problem in America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency, that wouldnt be remedied if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character. People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride. That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but its worth it, if at the end is home...a loving spouse or companion, happy kids and a dog.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didnt walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they would be welcomed by five barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun. And there were no drive by shootings. Our values were better when our roads were worse because Dirt Roads taught patience.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole. At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didnt some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, when city dudes would get stuck and youd have to hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar...always you got a new the end of a Dirt Road.

Thanks, Paul, for sharing something a lot of us in this nation still believe in. While each thought is meaningful, I want to focus on one thing you said that I truly believe is vital to our individual and national interests. Its the part about bad words tasting like soap. Are you old enough to remember hearing some mother or grandmother say to her child after a curse word had slipped, Im going to wash your mouth out with soap. Well, I can and I know a few mothers and grandmothers who did. At least they made the point.

I am appalled today at the gutter language that I hear coming from young people and others in every area of society. While you may disagree, I can tell you exactly where this is leading us as a nation. A while back I saw a news report of what is happening in Great Britain, our mother country. First, church attendance is at an all time low while crime is at an all time high. And believe it or not there is a connection.

Every major category of crime was up but none more so than assault, this is to say people physically attacking other people to rob, rape or just because they disagreed with some stand or position they took. None more obvious than the riots before, during and after soccer matches, usually by drunken Brits who never lived at the end of a Dirt Road. Now, my sincere question to you is this: Is this where we want our country to go in the decades to come or do we want to teach respect for others, good manners and proper language?

The problem for them is the same problem we face. For a leader to lead he or she must have moral authority. One quick look at the Royals is all you need to understand why this nation has no moral authority and the United States is not far behind. The answer may be as simple as setting the example and teaching our children to respect themselves and others by not using gutter language. (EDITORS NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)