I remember a particular winter when I was growing up. We were at school when a blizzard blew in, and I had to walk home from school in this storm. For some reason, I did not have any gloves with me. That day had been a library day, and I had books to take home with me. I had to carry the books in my gloveless hands. It was so cold, but I didn't want to put the books down and get them ruined in the snow. I walked from shelter to shelter in the storm for as long as I could, then simply ducked my head into the storm to make it the rest of the way home. When I arrived, my mother took one look at my hands, and began to treat them for frostbite.
Things turned out all right, but as I think back on that event, I can't help but think how different that story might have been with the attitudes of some of the youth that I teach. We had a respect for things and authority which seems to be lacking today. I think that many of the kids today would have dropped those books in the snow, and who cares what happens to them. The same is true for the respect we used to give to our elders, or people in authority over us. When they talked, we listened, and responded with "yes sir" or "yes ma'am". Times have changed. Maybe there is a way for us to get back to those simpler times when we had that respect for people and things--I don't know. I hope so. I think it all comes down to families, and the way we are raising our children. How can they have respect for a father who is not even there, or who drinks and beats them when he is. I have heard it said that the gang problem we have in the United States all comes down to this one thing, those gang members are searching for a place to belong--where they are accepted, because they don't find it at home. Maybe we just need to show a little more love in our homes, and get back to those basic emotions and respect.
I don't want to sound too discouraging. I have some wonderful kids of my own, and teach many more who still have these important values in their lives. I just wish they all could. Maybe we need to learn to keep the spirit of this time of year--Christmas time--with us all through the year. Christ set the perfect example, and I pray we can folow it. Merry Christmas.