Dick Vermeil, football coach
I know a few outstanding young people that make me feel good about the future of our country. Unfortunately, I used the word few. Of course, I have a relatively small sample size so maybe I’m being pessimistic. When I mention the troubles of youth today, I recall this quote.
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
The author of this quote is Socrates, who lived 400 years before the birth of Christ. I bring it up for perspective because it helps me have hope. Hope that we are no different than any society who may be having doubts about our youth. And I think that is true. Nevertheless, I still have concerns about what I see and don’t think it would be wise to ignore it.
First, some good news. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high of 81%. The bad news is too many don’t know who won the civil war, or who the vice president is, but they do know the name of Kim Kardashian’s kids. Admittedly, what I just claimed is not a scientific survey, but I do believe science and history take a back seat to pop culture and other less than useful activities. It doesn’t bother me if someone loves to watch reality TV, but that person should also know a little about the more serious side of the world.
We also have issues with self-sufficiency. According to the Census Bureau, full-time workers in the US are outnumbered by those on welfare. Liberals and conservatives can spin that fact any way they want, but that is not something to be proud of. To be fair, many of those on some form of government assistance are children and senior citizens. Certainly the children are innocent victims of their situation and it is only right that the government help them. But what about their parents? Did they finish their education? Did they have problems with drugs or alcohol? Did they not challenge themselves? Or were they innocent victims of mental health, the economy, or a terrible upbringing.
What I’d like to see is the minimization of the preventable reasons so many Americans need assistance, or lack simple knowledge of their duty as citizens. Often this situation could be prevented simply by better parenting. Values, kindness, determination, empathy, responsibility and so much more of the qualities of a successful person are influenced mightily by those who raise them.
What kind of person gets a thrill out of a reward they didn’t earn? What kind of person doesn’t care if they lose? What kind of person blames others for their trouble? What kind of person takes credit for positive acts not due them? What kind of person will take advantage of those weaker? What kind of person will be jealous of those more successful? What kind of person thinks they shouldn’t wait their turn? What kind of person will not help others? What kind of person will avoid responsibility? What kind of person would take from others? What kind of person wants to be taken care of by others?
I really don’t know the answer to all those scenarios, but I do know they are much more likely to occur to those without responsible mentoring and discipline. It’s usually not the youth we need to blame when they fall short, it’s those who raise them. Parents, especially dads, we all need to step up!