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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Needed: A return to family values

  • Society can point fingers in almost any direction in an attempt to answer the question of why regarding the terrible December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Some say it was the work of a sick mind while others will blame it on the easy accessibility of guns.
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  • Society can point fingers in almost any direction in an attempt to answer the question of why regarding the terrible December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Some say it was the work of a sick mind while others will blame it on the easy accessibility of guns. Recent revelations indicate that the shooter that took the lives of 20 six- and seven- year old children and eight teachers and administrators was addicted to violent video games. CBS News has reported that the Newtown shooter was apparently motivated by massacre in Norway, considering himself in direct competition with a Norwegian man who slaughtered 77 people in a July 2011 killing spree. It was also reported that the shooter may have been acting out a video and was keeping a deadly score. Blaming guns and mental illness is just too simple of an explanation for our society's ills today. There are a whole host of factors involved including poor family structure, lack of parental instruction and plain and simply too much idle time. I have come to the realization that family values will never return to this country they way there were say in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Call me naïve but I believe there was a simpler gentler time in this country when every disagreement or fantasy didn't play out in violence. Whether this generation wants to accept it or not, there was a time when family households were tight-knit like the Cleavers of “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Waltons.” I do believe there is a segment of our society that would love to return to those “good ole days”. Perhaps not to the time when the man of the family worked from dawn to dusk to make a living but maybe to a time when a mom could stay at home and raise the children by teaching them the Biblical principle known as “The Golden Rule” – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The modern version is frequently referred to as the “law of self preservation” – “Do it to others before they do it to you.” The work ethic and family structure in this nation has changed dramatically in my lifetime. While most people don't hold down 9 to 5 jobs, there still seems to be a lot of idle time available. Many mommas and daddies appear to be more eager to party in their free time than raise their children. Meanwhile, the kids are left alone with all of the devices of modern technology – video games, TV and i-Pads. There's no one there to explain to them the stark difference between fantasy and reality. We do have monsters in our society and we created them. It will take more than a political hot potato called “gun control” to destroy the monster of senseless violence that our culture has brought about. I am a realist and I know that the family unit is not going to shift back to “The Waltons” era where the whole family lived under one roof and Grandpa and Grandma brought with them the wisdom of a lifetime to the clan but were not put in a position where they had to raise the kids. However, I also realize that we must get back to the basics of teaching parenting skills, particularly teaching our children right from wrong and there is a right and a wrong. There is an old African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That doesn't mean that the village carries the responsibility of child rearing but it stands behind those who have been handed the care of our children – moms and dads.

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