Although this is not the usual type of post placed on the Ezekiel 33 Project page, thoughts about the event, what needs to be done, and where have we gone wrong have jumped into my head. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is another tragic event where the citizenry of our great nation polarizes, and we hear the arguments of both sides, yet when we get so polarized in the end nothing effective ever gets done. Why is this? I believe that our focus is in the wrong place. Those of both political persuasions are looking to the government to solve a problem that is so much deeper than a few laws.
There is something that has deteriorated over the past 40 years or so that has put our nation in a state of fear for our children as we send them off to school every day. What has deteriorated? Respect.
If we step back and be honest with ourselves respect is most certainly on the decline in our nation. We have lost the ability to disagree with each other and remain friends. We use social media to say things to or about people that we would never say in person. When observing what the media produces for us to consume in news and entertainment very often displays levels of disrespect. Can you name a network TV show that displays the father of a nuclear family in a positive light? Or is he the buffoon? The media has flipped the script on what we used to believe was good, not so good, and bad in our nation.
Try this, when in public with a child and if you are around a group of individuals using salty language, ask them to tone it down. What reaction do you get? In my experience with both of my children the response was less than favorable, and the language continued. Where was the respect? Try turning on your blinker in any metropolitan area during rush hour in order to change lanes. Very often that is a signal for others to move next to you to prevent your lane change rather than the signal of your desire to move over. Instead of helping someone move over, many drivers appear as if they are making it more difficult to move over. The common denominator, respect. These are examples of disrespect that can be observed as an adult. People who are at an age where respect should be well known. If this is the state of our adults, what are our children like as they are still learning?
If we continue to examine respect and its decline in America today let’s look at the fatherless homes. It can be said that a significant number of the kids who chose to shoot up their schools came from home where their biological father was not present. Why is this? Did mom and dad divorce? Or, was the child raised in a home without a father from the beginning? It would be impractical to state all of the reasons why this happens, but one could certainly say respect is a factor. The couple that gets married, has a child, and then dad runs off for whatever reason. Where was dad’s respect for the mother of his child? In single mother scenarios, did dad not respect the mother enough to either not put her in a situation to be raising a child alone, or when discovering he was to be a father decided that the child was not his problem although the child was the result of the dad’s night of partying? America, although you have resisted this fact over the last 40 years or so, there was a design for the family that had been followed for centuries, yet because of your decision to blaze new trails, today we have many misguided young men because of the lack of a father in the home. The disrespect for the traditional family is harming our children.
In the fatherless homes, who teaches the young man about masculinity? In the fatherless homes, who teaches the young man about respect for others and for human life? In fatherless homes, young men are given the remote to the TV and video games to occupy their time because mom is quite frankly worn out by doing the work of two alone. A child watching television will have seen countless murders before the age of 18. It is safe to say that the first time a child “pulls the trigger” today is in a video game opposed to on a range with fatherly guidance from an individual who loves the young man and wants what is best for him.
Most of us have seen the memes of a pickup truck with a gun rack reminiscing about how 40 years ago there were guns in the school parking lot and nobody got shot. It was far more likely that the young men driving those pickup trucks with the gun racks were all too familiar with what a gun would do as a result of a fatherly lesson. In today’s video games a young man will be encouraged by “points” to pull the trigger thousands of times without a father speaking to them about the consequences to others had the scenario played out in real life. Without dad teaching the son with a real gun at a range how to safely operate and shoot a gun, how does the young man learn of the destructive power he holds in his hand?
For too long when an individual chooses to disrespect another as a society we have remained silent, or accepted an answer of, “none of your business”. Here we are 40 years later, in a society where children are murdered in their schools and we have the usual suspects touting their politics and looking to score. When in fact it is very likely that the individual that needs fixing gets ready with them in the mirror every morning. Decisions that we think only affect a small group of people end up affecting a larger group of people. America, this is the nation you asked for as some of your personal liberties became more important than others desire for respect and civility. As the respect diminished you fostered a culture that belittles humanity. Sometime years ago, people scoffed at the thought of their momentary lack of civility would do anything but irritate somebody who would shake the insult off. Unfortunately, they were wrong, as a chain reaction has occurred, and disrespect became a part of American life because somebody had a, “right to”. We now have a coarse society in which we have fatherless homes where the lessons only a father can provide are not being taught. The level of ignorance from the lack of teaching has created an environment that many do not want. This problem cannot be legislated away or resolved quickly. A society without respect will only continue to deteriorate and in the absence of one object to inflict harm, another will be identified and implemented.
America, I pray that your citizenry longs for a return to more civility and more mutual respect for each other. Respect that will take root and cause us to look at each other differently and to be less selfish with our liberties out of respect for each other, and ultimately reignite our respect for God the Father.