Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Having just celebrated the 4th of July, most Americans feel patriotic and very devoted to this country. Well, thatís what we want to believe at least. I hate to be cynical, but the more I read and the more I watch the news, I question if the old America where people worked hard to build their future and our government promoted independence is simply fading away. For instance, there was an article recently explaining that the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of private sector workers in the United States. The fact is that one third of Americans now receive food aid from the federal government. Often a person, who gets a little aid to help them during a difficult time, will continue to receive help year after year. What starts as a short term program soon can become a way of life. And, there is nothing wrong with getting assistance; the problem comes when citizens replace values of self respect, hard work, and independence with dependency on free food, services, and their government. Itís not what the founders had in mind. And then, there was the story about the New Jersey parents at the beach who removed the bathing suits of their children (two and four year olds) to get the sand off before heading home. A beach supervisor saw the parents and called the police. When the police arrived, somewhat confused, he asked the mother if she had taken off her bathing suit. When he was informed that it was a naked two and four year old, he merely rolled his eyes and asked them not to do it again before walking away. This is a silly story, but itís just one example of how those in authority want to monitor and control parents and families.
Another interesting account I read concerned the story of a college student in California who was asked to take off her cross necklace during orientation because it might offend someone or make them feel unwelcome. The student is now suing because of the schoolís intolerance even though its mission statement includes tolerance and acceptance to all people. If this were the only story about Christian discrimination, there might not be concern, but itís only one of many. Unfortunately our community has a false sense of security about faith based issues because we still pray openly before meetings, and in public places. Faith is very important to this community and perhaps is the one issue that truly unites this county. But, who is to say our religious freedom will not end? All it will take is one complaint or one publicized law suit. The prediction is that it will happen sooner than you think since the Southern Bible Belt is not as dominant as it use to be.
And finally, last week I attended a meeting with regard to students who had participated in a national completion out west. The students had performed well, but were surprised that the contestants who received all the major awards were of Asian or Indian descent. The speaker went on to explain how this experience had motivated local students to better prepare for future contests. Following the meeting, I read several articles concerning differing philosophies between American students and students in Asian countries. The following were interesting specifics: In 1980 American students out preformed their Japanese peers in reading, while Chinese students re-ceived the highest scores. By 1990, Japanese students gained in reading scores and Americans slipped to third place. The Chinese students remain on top. (One statistic I read presently puts American students at #14 in reading.) Perhaps one reason for the decline is that while American children divide their time with many extra curricular activities, Asian students are primarily concerned with school work. In addition, Asian students are taught that if they do well in school it will help secure a bright future. Parents of these students also require children to respect their elders and their educators. On the other hand, many American families reward their children for mediocre school performance and often fear if they are too negative it will damage the childís self esteem. And lastly, American parents have tendencies to take the side of the child against the school or the teacher thus causing American schools to be cautious with reprimands and punishment. Countless American students no longer are taught to respect elders or educators. Values such as hard work, independence, strong families, faith, and education were important 200 years ago when this country gained its independence from a very powerful country. Now more than ever, these are the values we need to pursue to be the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Itís not complicated, but it is incredibly important; reallyÖ.