One of the jobs I love as a grandfather is helping my grandchildren learn how to be kind, how to share and how to react when someone is critical or unkind to them as well as how to reply when they are paid a complement.
One of my grandsons got into the unhealthy habit of replying to compliments the wrong way. If I were to say, “You are very smart”, he would reply, “I know”, instead of the more socially acceptable reply of “Thank you”. He is seven years old but it is hard to unlearn bad habits.
Over the years I grew up in my hometown of Logan, Utah there were times when the kids in my peer group would develop a bad habit like cussing. When this happened, the group would issue its own measure of justice. Saying the wrong word most often would get you a punch in the arm by everybody who heard you swear and for a particularly heinous word we would issue a fine of twenty-five cents for each offense. Since none of us were independently wealthy the combination of punches and fines usually got things accomplished.
As a grown up, it is much more difficult to correct another adult’s bad behavior. I recall a golf game where a friend of mine hit one too many poor shots. His anger release came when he smacked the ground with his club so hard that it snapped in half. There was no need for me to comment on the event because he knew immediately that one stupid event was followed up by an even bigger event.
As I have observed our society gradually going off course in recent months it has made me wonder where it all went wrong. COVID-19 has definitely had some impact on the way we act, especially for those of us who have loved ones at home that would not fare very well if they were to contract the virus.
There is a group who feel that a mandatory mask in public is depriving them of their very existence on this earth. Another group is working to gain signatures so we can have a referendum on Governor Little, removing him from office over his imposing emergency measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Has he been perfect in the implementing of safety measures? Certainly not, but at what point do we get behind our elected officials and allow them to govern us?
The Black Lives Matter protests have less to do with COVID and more to do with injustice. I am an aging middle-class white man and have very little in common with a middle-class black man that could be tased simply for the color of his skin. However, I do not agree that this double standard of justice is correct and it needs to be eliminated ASAP.
I spent a couple of hours the other night going through police body cam footage in cities all across the country and saw many examples of citizens using the recent events to justify bad and uncivilized behavior. One example covered a white police officer who saw the occupants of the car in front of him swerving because they were physically hitting each other with enough force to impact the driving of the car.
When the police officer came up to the driver’s window the man began to scream that his rights were being violated. He was literally screaming at the cop using horrible language and pretty much trying to rally the support of any of the bystanders around them to join him in shouting down the white cop’s actions. It got to the point where the female passenger refused to tell the police who she was, something that she was required by law to give.
The incident concluded with both occupants being physically pulled out of their car and placed on the ground in handcuffs. The woman was screaming at the top of her voice, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” She then went limp as though she was unconscious. Not to be outdone, the man also began to scream that his rights were being violated. Both occupants demanded to go to the hospital, wasting the time of our heroes in blue as well as those in medical outfits at the hospital. Both went to jail an hour later.
This absence of civility between those in authority and the public they are protecting was repeated over and over during the two hours I was on You-Tube and it only make me angrier. If we can’t teach our kids how they should behave around strangers we are destined to see our great republic slide into widespread civil unrest.
Many a great society has collapsed over the centuries over similar destructive periods in their history. We can and should do better.