No. 552



A few weeks ago I went fishing with a friend and saw something that really got me to thinking. We were fishing in an old ox-bow lake, just off the Arkansas River. My friend, who had been fishing there many times before, took me through a narrow shoot or creek that led to the main river channel. As a result of being connected, the water level in the lake was always determined by the water level of the river. There is a reason for sharing this with you, as you will see in a moment.
As we continued to fish along in this creek that ran between two high bluffs, I began to notice the trees along the bluff, several feet above us. Every once in a while I would see a tree that had toppled over and was lying in the water below, actually impeding our way. Upon closer examination I could see why. When the river was up, the swift running water had actually eaten back into the roots to a point that the principle of momentum took over. Little by little, as the swift water had caused erosion, dirt was being swept away until more and more of the roots were exposed and then the tree would give way and come crashing down.
Now I see a correlation, and I believe you will too, of this example and what is happening in our nation. When you think about the fact that these trees did not topple all at once, but rather came down slowly over a long period of time, you will better understand the decline of our nation in many different areas over the past several decades. I might add that I am an eternal optimist and believe we can do something about most of our problems, and want to do everything possible for us to have an even brighter future than we have today.
At this point, I would like to pose a question and ask you to think with me about some possibilities. Working together, can we solve or greatly improve the problems we have relating to crime, poverty, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, the sale and use of illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol and gambling addiction? On the other hand, are we to just accept these massive problems as being normal, and there is no way we can improve or do anything about them? I don't know about you, but I am not willing to accept the latter and just throw in the towel and quit trying.
As you may know, we have a "Bookcase for Every Child" literacy project going here in my home community of Conway, Arkansas. We have built and continue to build quality oak bookcases that we are giving to children in low-income families. We are also giving these children some good "gently used" children's books, and also have a group of volunteers who are reading to them each week. Now if I could go back to the example of the creek bank that I shared earlier, here is what I would like for you to see. Quality education, along with teaching character values, manners and good morals, will go a long way in helping to solve the problems I mentioned earlier.
Working with young children in low-income families, who for the most part do not own any books, is the best way I know to shore up or stop the erosion of America's future. We, as American citizens, must do this and stop looking to the government to meet all of our needs. We only use volunteers and to not use any tax or government grant money.
Are you old enough to remember the days when someone's barn or house burned and neighbors would show up, help them rebuild, and go back home without any thought of getting paid for what they did? Neighbor helping neighbor is a spirit that is still very much alive in our nation today. If you would like to get involved, start a "Bookcase for Every Child" project in your community.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")