No. 442

The next password is owen


Several weeks ago I was invited to speak to the senior citizens at one of our local churches. After the meeting a lady came up to me and said, "When I get my paper, your column is the first thing I turn to." Well, dear lady the following story is just for you. Hope it makes you smile, because we all need more of that in our lives. An elderly lady called 911 on her cell phone, to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher. "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal, and even the accelerator!" she cried. The dispatcher said, "Stay calm. An officer is on his way." A few minutes later, the officer radios in. "Disregard." He says, "She got in the back seat by mistake."

Now, if you are a young person or even middle aged, don't laugh too hard, because you will be there too, if you live long enough. Today I would like to share something that may provide some insights into what is happening to a lot of people in our country today. My hope would be that if I can get this across, we might be able to make a positive difference in the lives of many people. That is the purpose of each one of my columns, and while I'm sure that I do not succeed every time, that is my goal and it's also my hearts desire. The truth is, we cannot help other people any more than we have helped ourselves. This is why we should always be on the lookout for good ideas.

Let me begin with this statement and then amplify it. We can't live in a vacuum. The reason this is true is because when you Ôvacuum' something, you take all the air out of it. For example, just go into a supermarket some time and look in the meat case. You will find vacuum-packed meat packages everywhere you look. The reason they are vacuum packed is to preserve them for longer shelf life. For this reason they have taken all the air out of the package because air contains oxygen, the substance that will eventually breaks down meat tissue and cause it to spoil. .

As human beings we must also have air to live, because without it we will soon suffocate and die. If you will go to the dictionary and look at the various meanings for the word Ôvacuum," in addition to "A space from which air has been exhausted" you will also see this meaning: "A void; an empty feeling."Ê Now, this last definition relates to us human beings, because obviously vacuum-packed meat does not have feelings. To get to the crux of the matter, please allow me to pose this question. Why do many human beings have "A void, an empty feeling?" The answer is a lot simpler than you may realize. The reason many people have an empty feeling is because they don't have a purpose for their lives, something that causes them to get all fired up every time they think about it. Another word for void or empty feeling is Ôbored.'

When it comes to a human being, like I said earlier, we can't live in a vacuum either. That is to say, we cannot remain idle without doing something. When we quit doing one thing, something else comes along to take its place and fill the void. This is why so many young people are Ôbored' and often get into trouble. The vast majority of people in this nation do not have a purpose, that's something that comes to a very few, but unfortunately they do not have any goals either. When people get out of bed each day, young or old, without having a goal to work toward, something they really want to achieve, they are a prime candidate for all kinds of negative influences in our society.

Now, you may or may not have ever thought about this before, but the reason millions of Americans spend untold hours before the television each day, is because they don't have any exciting goals to prepare for. They are simply filling the void with all the free time they have to kill. In short, they are being entertained and you know what kind of quality they are getting. One of the reasons I have dedicated the rest of my life to helping people learn how to read is because there are few things in our society where we can succeed, without knowing how to read.

Young people can watch television, listen to music and bounce a basketball without being able to read, but the consequences of doing that for the first and most important early years of their life, will be tragic. This is why parents and grandparents need to really get involved with teachers in helping their children and grandchildren learn how to read. Turn off the television and computer for a fixed time each day and read to them. If this applies to you, it will be the best investment of your time that you have ever made. Ê(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)

The next column password is: Owen