No. 401

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 and determined 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 ol' common sense and we will be a lot 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'm 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'm talking about our nation's youth, because they are our future and they face more challenges today 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 had a couple of these here in our community the past few months. A teacher who attended one of the funerals told me it was obvious that some of the students who also attended had never been to a funeral nor taught how to show respect for the family of the student who had committed suicide. She said 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 and how to behave.
If you agree that situations like this and others in different venues really constitute a very sad state of affairs, and you are also concerned about where we are heading, what should be done about it? Is it the school's responsibility to teach respect for the feelings of others and how to properly 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. While all of our children are grown, my wife and I both hope our grandchildren have a "drug" problem when presented in the following way. A reader sent me something the other day titled, "This is what was known as the "Good Ole Days."
It begins, "I, my siblings and friends 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 that 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, for as long as there have been human beings on this planet. When it also comes to rearing children, it is really a matter of who is in charge. If allowed to, children will stay home from church, weddings, funerals, and family reunions and be disrespectful to parents, teachers and other adults.
At this point I'm not talking about doing research or taking a survey, I'm just pointing out some common sense things that all responsible adults can do to influence children to grow up to be good, honest, decent and law abiding citizens of the greatest nation in the world. More and more people are beginning to realize that we have a problem and we are beginning to work on it. I just want to encourage you to care enough about our young people to "drag" them to places they need to go to have a better understanding of right and wrong and to teach them things that will help them later in life. That's the way to keep them off "real" drugs. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)