Saturday, December 11, 2010

As the twig is bent so grows the tree……..

We have been saddened by the actions of bullies and the toll of their harassment.

We have been angered by flag burnings.

We have been deeply disturbed by picketing and belittling signs that have appeared at funerals being held for servicemen killed in action.

Now, once again, a recent report in the Huffington Post concerning the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, brings forth these emotions and   reminds us of the malignant elements in our society.  Yes, these things grow: and they hurt, and they destroy what is civilized in our society.

The Huffington Post article that appalled so many readers quoted statements from the Westboro Baptist Church spokesperson that were both reprehensible in content and in the assumption that they were authorities in their assessment of Ms. Edward’s thoughts, wishes and final designation.

Free speech gives this group the legal right to speak thus. Good manners and a more modest assessment of their ability to judge would limit such outrageous remarks. Free speech is one of our most cherished freedoms and must be protected although its use has been challenged again and again by those who do not accept the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Therefore we must find another way to rid our society of such vicious verbal and destructive attacks.

These people have their opinions as we all do and that is not the issue. The issue is their public expression of them, ignoring all decency and consideration in doing so. Can they be taught good manners at this point in their lives? Hardly!

Therein lies the heart of some of our society’s problems: the basic rules of behavior that are being ignored by some adults and are not being taught to all of our children.

If the adults’ opinions are inflexible and there are few laws limiting their actions, what are our options? We can attempt to ignore their actions (which are only to create attention), we can limit their access to the objects of their vilifications, and we can take steps to better train our children to prevent such behavior extremes in future generations. Of course we can also choose to do nothing,

With the harassment problems, some action has been taken. Awareness of the scope of the problem aroused people into creating helpful and educational programs that may prevent many future tragedies 

But like a deep-rooted plant that when cut off, sprouts up again and again, the root must be dealt with before the growth is stopped. That takes us to considering what a child is taught and the behavior it sees all around.

There is much truth in the old proverb; It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes parents who realize this. Today’s village includes relatives, friends, educators, churches and civic organizations, and the concerns of the entire community…in other words: Everyone! 

The key word is concern. Concern is not being nosey or bossy; it is watchful and thoughtful and caring. A concerned community does the best it can to provide a good environment for its children.

Parenting is not easy. Family life has changed from that of fifty years ago and in today’s fast moving and demanding life we need the village more than ever.

 These children are the adults of our future society and the leaders of our country. We should remember the truth in these old proverbs of long ago and this one in particular:

As the twig is bent so grows the tree. takes a village to raise a child