No. 329

If you will allow me, I would like to take a moment here in the beginning to see if I can evoke a chuckle from you. If you have been married to the same man or woman for any great length of time, get out those old wedding pictures. That should do it. If you don’t fit this category you might think about the man who went to a party and after a while said to a friend, “This is a lousy party, I think I will leave.” The friend said, “That will help a little.”
In these days, if there is anything the American people need to do more, it’s to laugh. The stress we are going through getting in and out of airports, the massive number of people who are losing their jobs, the thought of paying for the “War On Terrorism” and the uncertainty of the stock market makes it all the more important that we should keep things in perspective. We still have the greatest nation in the world and our people are united.
It is in this context that I believe we should keep on doing the things that made us number one in the first place. We must keep working to produce the best products and services that we possibly can. We must work to make our schools better because our young people are truly the leaders of tomorrow and we must instill and teach them the moral and ethical values of our forefathers. We must also get or stay involved in the political process, because this is the best way to insure our freedom and to have a nation free from tyranny.
When it comes to instilling moral and ethical values I want to tell you that I see some very hopeful signs. Our young people are more idealistic and involved in more volunteer service projects than any time I can ever remember. I have also observed that players in high school and college athletic contests are displaying better sportsmanship and much of this credit goes to the coaches and the parents. We still have room to improve, which will always be the case, but these people are doing a better job and we need to tell them so. Share this column with your local coaches and tell them that I appreciate them.
When it comes to improving character and moral values, here is a cliché you may have heard before, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” While it is a cliché’ this saying actually comes from the Bible as the Apostle Paul was writing encouraging words to the church at Corinth. I say this to make the point that bad company and corruption have been around for a long, long time. If you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, teacher, community leader or someone else who is concerned about the morals of your children, I would like to share an insight with you that may be helpful.
It’s just common sense to realize that if a youngster with good character and morals begins to run around with or associate with others of low morals and character, sooner or later he or she will be negatively affected. As human beings with a sin nature, we just naturally gravitate toward the base and not the righteous. It’s like a young child all dressed up and a mud puddle nearby. It’s just a matter of time.
Here is the insight I mentioned a moment ago. A young person with good morals and high self-esteem will listen to an adult they respect who is trying to inspire them to achieve personal success. The reason he will listen is because of his “frame of reference.” The information already in his mind will compute with what is being said and it will make sense to him. On the other hand this kind of positive, helpful information will not compute in the mind of a person with low morals and poor character. This kind of talk is foreign and will usually fall on deaf ears. Have you ever heard it said that “Johnny (or whoever) won’t listen to me?” Well, his computer is simply set on another program. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)