Priorities

As a country, we need to think about what made us great a generation or two ago. What is it about America that caused a politician running on “hope” to gain so much ground when he really didn’t offer up much substance?

The problem is our particular set of cultural priorities. We have gone from a country that worked hard, understood devotion and sacrifice and was willing to earn our way, to a country of victims, whining about what we don’t have while not even realizing what gluttons we really are.

I know this post doesn’t seem very positive yet, but it’s because there are some really negative things taking place in our society. Our schools are becoming training grounds for entitled, self-indulgent losers that live only to mooch off the system. Universities and churches are overlooking the abuse of children to avoid a scandal and protect ball teams. Politicians pander to the lazy and to special interest groups for votes, then ignore what is right, or what their constituents want, in favor of some huge corporation that lined their pockets on the campaign trail. Some religious groups rally against freedom fighters and soldiers while others try to brow-beat people with the bible when they’d be better off appealing to their humanity.

All these negative things, one way or the other, will eventually work together to change our society: either through collapse from within or by people becoming so disgusted that they activate change.

Positivity and hope can come when we change our focus from entertainment and entitlement back to work and innovation. There’s nothing innovative about a university football team. A professor of mine said that “a university is a forum for the exchange of ideas.” I agree and I think football is not an idea, nor is it a worthy educational pursuit. This applies to all the meaningless fluff that has invaded our educational system. We would be much better-served to place those pursuits in the private sector and left to the scrutiny of the free enterprise system, while our educational efforts focus on the arts and sciences.

“Arts?”, you ask. Yes. Every tool you use to do your job, every recipe you cook, everything you use to perform the thousands of tasks you do each day was designed. It may have components that were engineered for their function, but nothing is functional without form.

If you need an explanation for Sciences, I’m afraid there may not be much hope for you.

My point is that with concentration on the right things, our society can begin to innovate again. Work has become something we do until we can be entertained again. Few people care about what they do because they’ve been raised to think that playing games is more important than bringing real value to the lives of others.

In order to make these changes we need to make changes in our systems, our politics and our way of thinking. The government leaders in charge today have a remarkable opportunity to change the way of life for every American. They can come together and change their priorities so that Science, innovation, creativity are the hot topics. NASA, a government agency, can be a key component in the change. It’s up to politicians to make the right decisions and set this country back on the course to greatness.

Each time they want to address our economy, our workforce or our place in the global economy, they need to remind Americans that NASA is a true change agent, perfectly positioned to generate jobs, new technology and subsequent markets. Americans also need to show interest in this positive change as well. That’s going to be the hardest part.

 

/rant

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Common Sense… not so common?

Here is a story about a mother who took her son to the ER because he pulled a weighted Christmas decoration and it hit him in the head.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34266493/ns/health-behavior/

From the article:

The Houston mother was out of the room Nov. 27 when her 3-year-old son, Christopher, decided to investigate the new row of stockings hanging from the mantel. But she came rushing back at the sound of breaking ceramic and the cries of her 10-month-old son, Jacob, who’d been hit in the head with the heavy stocking holder his brother had pulled down.

How much common sense does it require to keep your child out of harm’s way and harm out of your child’s way? I’ve made mistakes and my kid got hurt in the process, but they have been minor things and I understood that they were my fault for allowing it to happen.

Articles like this always make the parents to be victims to the product’s poor design or lack of proper warning labels. What ever happened to common sense?

Talk to your kids.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/sexting-suit/

I’m going to be careful with this one. This is a tragedy; plain and simple.

From the article:

The parents of a teenage girl who committed suicide last year are suing the girl’s ex-boyfriend and several other former high school classmates who circulated a nude photo of her and harassed her about the image.

The suit was filed in Ohio by Cynthia and Albert Logan who say that the students’ “degrading sexual insults” caused their 18-year-old daughter Jessica, their only child, severe emotional distress, which led her to kill herself in July 2008, a month after graduating from high school.

The suit names Ryan Salyers, Sara Jane Ramsey, Courtney Richardson and Emily Stachler, as well as a minor identified only as A.R. for severe infliction of emotional distress. Salyers is further accused of invading Jessica’s privacy.

I won’t say that her parents made mistakes or that they could have prevented this. I will say that I hope my relationship with my daughters is such that they would never see suicide as a solution to anything and would come to me for help long before it got this bad. Kids make mistakes too and they need to know that we will love them and nurture them through the worst of their mistakes.

There are so many things about this story that made me want to add it to my site and express an opinion.

1) Women typically don’t commit suicide; they attempt it (broad generalization, I know). Some doctors say their typical intention is to get the attention they need in order to get help. This girl’s pain was so serious that she left no option for survival. That’s extremely tragic. I hope my daughters never feel so much pain. I hope that if they are in a situation so dire, and before feeling so helpless, they come to me. I hope that I have instilled in them the trust to be open with me and to know that I will love them and help them no matter what.

2) Kids are ruthless in their judgment of one another. They can execute the most painful torture on their peers and it’s something we need to address as a society. Kids and teenagers need to know that every one else feels pretty much the same things as they do and they are not alone. I felt very much like an outsider in school and spent quite a bit of time uncomfortable as a result. It wasn’t until I was in college and took an elective course called “Early Childhood Development” that I began to understand that I really was normal; most of the other kids felt just like I did, they just coped differently. If we made this type of information a requirement in Junior High School Health and PE classes across the country, I think we’d have a much greater understanding of our own emotions much earlier in life and therefore have stronger coping mechanisms.

3) Given what has been published and I’ve read so far, the parents really shouldn’t sue the school. I don’t know what the school could have done to prevent the harassment. Kids don’t stop harassing each other just because a teacher tells them to or because they leave campus. I don’t understand what authority the school could have enforced to make sure the girl was protected.

4) I don’t know what to say about the “sexting”. How do you stop your kids from making mistakes on such a grand scale?  Is there anything the parents could have done after the fact to stop her from spiraling into the depression? These are serious questions that every parent should make sure to educate themselves about as much as possible. I am hopefully instilling in my kids the idea that nothing they do could possibly be so embarrassing that they can’t share it with me if it gets out of their control. I think we were fortunate enough to have had “the talk” with our oldest daughter just in time. I know for a fact that some people would have thought we were too early, and possibly too frank, but given recent events in her life, I know that we addressed it at a proper time. One of her friends was caught looking up pornography on the internet; a link that she got from a friend at school. We did not have the talk too early.

5) All parents make mistakes. ALL parents. The most important thing we can do for our kids is to pray. Pray every day. And love them unconditionally and make sure they know it. My parents have prayed for me every day of my life. They still pray for me and my children, by name, every day. I can’t tell you how I have felt the influence of their prayers over the years and I can’t tell you how important it is to me to know that they still pray for each of us every day. I know that my parents love me; there has never been a day that I didn’t know it. They made mistakes, but they did these two things right.

I hope this family pulls through and that we as a society can learn and make changes to help prevent this sort of thing in the future.

What is it with Animal lovers?

Ok. This is gonna hit a nerve with some folks.

http://www.humanesociety.org/

I don’t have what you would call a “love of animals”.  I don’t hate them, but I certainly value human life much more. I don’t understand the mentality behind those ads that ask people to give $19 a month to help save animals. The economy what it is, I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind doing this. If I had $19 a month to give, and a charity that I trusted enough to give it to, I’m gonna pick one that feeds people or gives shoes to and coats to kids.

We, in America, have too many animals like cats and dogs anyway. Many municipalities have had to create departments to track, control and “discard” the problem specimens. How much of a problem would world hunger be if humans could separate these animals from their emotions and we were to re-purpose the animal control departments for exporting the animals to 3rd world nations? We could ship cats and dogs that cause us problems to nations that would be more than happy to learn how to prepare them into meals.

I know we have a problem with that concept in general in this country; where we have substantial abundance to become obese and still have the excess to feed our pets. But in a place where meals are few and far between, how many people would be thankful for a meal of any sort? I know the answer is not this simple, but why would it be so hard to make the change in culture? If we could work on thinking this way about more things, maybe we could solve more problems.