Written by J Walter Scott,
The complexity of who we are, as a nation, as a people, does not have it's roots in today. We all tend to think of quick fixes, easy answers, solutions that will fix whatever problem we have, as long as WE don't have to change our lives, or actually do anything ourselves.
The things that are "wrong" in our world today, have no easy answers, no quick fixes, and WE ourselves, are going to have to change in order to solve them. If we are not willing to make any sacrifice, there will be no change, and things will just continue to get worse as we go along.
HOWEVER. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to fix the issues, IF we don't UNDERSTAND what caused them in the first place. IMPOSSIBLE, THAT is the TRUTH.
When I was a kid, right here in Ticonderoga, the "Cold War" was in full swing. People built bunkers, we were taught to get under our desks and keep our heads down, don't look at the "flash" of a nuclear bomb.
If there's a "FLASH" of a nuclear bomb, looking "at" it isn't going to be your problem, but then again, we didn't KNOW that. We, as children, did what we were told to do, and we survived.....but each of us, from THAT generation, still carry those memories.
In the 1950's, this was a different landscape. People tend to remember it fondly and wish things could go back to the way things were "then."
But the 50's brought the 60's, the 60's became the 70's, time marched on, and the things we did THEN, changed the world alright, just not the way that we had hoped.
We didn't have school shootings back then, we shot Presidents, Presidential Candidates, Public Leaders, and people of color.
We treated and disrespected entire segments of society, because they were "different" from us. Some were then, and still are now, HATED because the don't look like us, act like us, talk like us, or even necessarily think like us.
And we killed them every way we could think of. Hanging, dragging them behind cars, shooting them and pushing their cars in lakes and ponds. Oh ya, THOSE were the "good old days" alright, if you were white.
Our parents, most of them, didn't go to college. They went to work. Manufacturing was huge, and the industrial revolution was in full swing. We MADE things back then, BIG things, MONSTER things....and we thought we'd just keep on building and making things, because.....well, because things would ALWAYS be the way they were, they'd never change, everyone knew THAT.
My generation, frankly, is to blame for most of what is happening today, and I'm sad to say, it's not going to get better, until and unless MY GENERATION steps up, talks about our truth, and helps.
This is where the rubber meets the road. After this, you'll probably love me, or think that I AM THE LONE NUT.
I think, most of you know, that I seek truth, always. The truth is sometimes messy. The truth often times hurts, and the truth can leave people with a certain sense of disbelief, that the truth could actually BE the truth. But it always simply IS.
And most often, we don't want to hear it, let alone bear it, or be responsible for it.
In my generation, mostly our parents were strict. If we went to school and got in trouble, then we were in trouble when we got home, and if the teacher didn't whack us, Dad certainly would. We learned.
But we failed.
The lessons that WE learned at children, were NOT just for US. They were great big life lessons in small doses that was SUPPOSED to instill in us a sense of right and wrong, and more than that, it was SUPPOSED to help us by way of you and I passing those life lessons, onto OUR children.
But we failed.
We were busy protesting. We were busy working. We were busy trying to make sure our kids had more STUFF than we did growing up. I tried to give them MORE than cardboard boxes to play with, I tried to TAKE them places I never got to go.
In the process, I forgot the primary thing that a parent is supposed to do.
And I failed.
A parent is supposed to LOVE their children. I did.
HOW did I show my love? How did MY generation express love?
We GAVE THEM STUFF. Nice toys, bigger parties, limos to the prom, expensive dresses, nice clothes, fancy electronic gadgets, computers, STUFF.
And I failed.
Nice things will never replace TIME SPENT. LOVE EXPRESSED. Flowers and Candy is a cheap imitation for holding them close and telling them, I love you. Spending more time at work so you can afford the crap in life, will never be as good as showing up to a ball game, taking time to sit on a stump and explain what life is really all about, and passing on those small nuggets of life lessons that OUR parents took the time to pass on to us. vogue chic garments for prom
And the good stuff, the REAL stuff, the IMPORTANT stuff in life, pretty much died at the end of our generation.
Suddenly the LIST of single parent homes grew like a wildfire. Divorce became an everyday fact of life. Ex's fighting over child support instead of fighting with their OWN lives to spend quality time with young children.
And so OUR children grew up VASTLY different than we did. Worse, because those little life lessons weren't allowed to take root, they weren't fed and watered in our children's lives, and so they weren't just like WE WERE, anymore.
Still good kids, sure, and we loved them, but none the less, they were different. They'd been raised differently.
Not having those life lessons, they raised THEIR children differently, and THEY were different.
You always REAP, what you SOW.
If you plant corn, you can't possibly expect turnips.
It just works that way.
WE, as a generation, were SO concerned with the political issues of our day, with the "great injustices" that we saw, with Free Love, experimenting with drugs, having beach parties, that we FORGOT to pay attention to the single most important thing in our lives, OUR CHILDREN.
Our kids were the ones that made breakfast for themselves, packed their own lunches, and found their own way to school.
We started to think that our kids needed us to BACK THEM UP, everywhere, every time. We were CONVINCED that if our kids got in trouble in school, that it must be the teacher, not the kid.
We stopped spanking kids because we felt guilty, and by a second and third generation, it's ILLEGAL to spank your own kids.
We stopped using the "N" word because it was offensive, but many didn't really CHANGE their thoughts, how they feel. It's like saying I love you every single day, but failing to actually LOVE. What's the point?
And we PASSED ALL OF THAT on to our kids. And our kids paid a price.
And it continued, only with each successive generation, SOMETHING got lost either in translation or approach.
Suddenly being unmarried with children is just ok. The Baby Daddy goes away and is replaced with another, and then another, and THAT is the NEW NORMAL.
We have managed, somehow, in our society, to take right, and make it wrong. To take wrong and turn it from getting into a little trouble at school, to taking an AR-15 and shooting the place up.
And we're surprised.
Someone is going to say, that this is the "liberalization of America" that has caused this.
Someone will want to blame this President or another, maybe even the one we've got.
This problem, started as a small seed that we were given as a child, and we FAILED to PLANT that seed.
Not all of us, Not everybody, but far too many, and the problems began to spin out of control and here we are.
With this GREAT BIG, MASSIVE MONSTER, that WE built, and we're SHOCKED.
That would be a great big NO.
Respect. Honor. Discipline. Faith. Caring. Honesty. Integrity.
Beautiful Words, that ring hollow if you don't LIVE with them as the CORE of your life. It's easy to say that you BELIEVE in something, but if you don't LIVE like you BELIEVE, then its an empty belief.
These are not just American Values. They are the CORE of American Values.
If you seek a solution to the nonsense in our lives, then COMMIT to turning those words that we throw casually around, into a WAY OF LIFE.
It's not about a church, or a town hall, or a White House.....it's about OUR house. How we treat others, what we say, and what we do.
If my father told me he was going to have a long talk with me, trust me, it was going to be a LONG HARD chat, and I was GOING to LEARN something, or there would be a price too high to pay.
Say what you mean, mean what you say.....talk the talk, walk the talk.
THOSE are the HALLMARKS of greatness, the tiny seeds that we MUST now plant, and it will take TIME for those to grow, and we must nuture them as they do.
Failing in this calling, will change America, but for the worse.
Today, in the wake of yet another school shooting, another tragedy that could have been averted and wasn't, I call on each of us, myself included, to begin having open honest town halls, together, and finding solutions, instead of problems.
It's NOT the guns that WE made, it's the CHILDREN that we made, THAT's the opportunity, and BEFORE we lose anymore, let's work together and change it.