No. 1305



President John F. Kennedy had it right when he said, “The great danger is not that the present generation will destroy the system. The great danger is that we won’t transmit it.” Well, President Kennedy, if you were around today, you would know that we did not do our job very well.
What is happening in our nation today is nothing short of insane. The protests, riots, looting, burning and mass chaos is due, by and large, to the fact that those of us in the older generation have dropped the ball. We have failed to teach our young people the price and value of freedom, and what it took to win and preserve it.
We have to teach respect for our flag, and that love and respect for our fellow human beings is the basis for a truly civilized society. My question is simply this: is it too late to reverse course and go back to the values that were the hallmark of a time when we had respect for law and order, and neighbors truly loved and cared for each other? Because I am not dumb, I know it’s impossible to live in the past, but we can hold on to some of the traditional values that have served to make our nation the greatest in the history of the world.
There are many symbols of the past, but one that holds special meaning for me is “The Old Country Church.” I grew up in a small town and was not around when it was most prominent, but I am reminded of its virtues each time I hear these words set to music, “Oh, I’d love to go back to that old country church and to hear the songs of praise. How the people would sing … it would make the heavens ring, in that old country church.”
A few days ago I was reminiscing with a friend and we were trying to decide on an era or period of time in our nation’s history when “The Old Country Church” played the most prominent and significant role in our culture.
We finally settled on a time that was before the advent of television and maybe just prior to most people owning an automobile. From what I have read and seen on television, it was back in the days when a father would hitch up a team of horses or mules and the family would ride to church in a wagon. There were few large buildings or meeting places in those days and the church was the center of the community. When people went to church on Sunday it was an all-day affair: Preaching, singing, dinner on the grounds and kids running everywhere. Many people were married in the church, and were usually buried in the nearby cemetery.
And here is my point: During these hard times families prayed together and stayed together and the values that were taught, both in the church and the home, made it possible for us to become a great nation. These were also the people who volunteered for military service and made it possible for our nation to win two world wars, to preserve our freedom.
Now, back to reality before I close: When I see news accounts of what is happening in many of our large cities, it makes my heart hurt and I long for love, peace, law and order and justice to prevail.
My admonition to those of us in the older generation, especially our nation’s teachers, is this: Let’s make the words of President John F. Kennedy our rallying cry. Let’s transmit the system to our young people. They all need to understand what is at stake. Let’s talk with them heart-to-heart and tell them how we became a great nation and that someday, God willing, they will be the leaders who will be charged with preserving our freedom.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)