Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Good Judgement And Common Sense

I read something posted on Facebook yesterday about a grandfather talking to his grandson. The boy had asked his grandfather what he thought about school shootings, the computer age and things in general.

The man went through a long list of things that were not around (or not available for every day use) when he was born in 1952. (Scary that those of us born in the 50s are now old enough to be grandparents, huh?) Many are things we take for granted today including television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees, the pill, credit cards, laser beams, ball-point pens, pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, etc.

Then he began explaining more about the way things were back then. You could by a new car for $600 (if you had $600.) Gas was 11 cents a gallon. Ten Cents stores (or five and dime) really sold things that cost 5 and 10 cents. Families included both parents. We called our elders, and anyone with position or authority, Sir or Ma'am.

He went on with some other things but the ones that struck a chord in me the most were the following three statements:

"Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense."

"We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions."

"Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege."

I was born five years later, in 1957. While many of those things had been invented by then still few were available to the average American. But those three statements were true when I was growing up as well.

Our parents taught us to love and respect God, to follow the Ten Commandments, and to use our brain more than our mouths in every day life. They taught us respect for others, for our country, and our President.

I remember once as a high school kid calling Richard Nixon "Tricky Dick." My father immediately corrected me saying "That's the President of the United States you're talking about. Be respectful." How that has changed, huh? Beginning as far back as Jimmy Carter, the attitude and comments of the American people toward the President has gotten worse and worse. In my father's generation, regardless of personal feelings about the President, he was shown respect.

People criticized Presidents but not so vocally, not so wide publicly, and not in the disgusting ways that we've seen in the last 15 years or so. I believe George W. Bush was the first to be so brutally attacked by those who opposed his policies. And it seems to be that Obama is getting even worse treatment today from many on the right. 

We were definitely taught to take responsibility for our actions, to always try to do the right thing and to apologize to those we offended. We were taught to earn our own way and there was never a thought of not working and living off of the government unless we were physically unable to work. We were taught the joys that come with giving to others instead of greed and selfishness.

In today's society it seems more and more people believe they are entitled to a living rather than feeling the responsibility to earn it. Forty-seven percent of Americans are now on some sort of government assistance. It seems most of those have no plans to change their situation as long as the government keeps putting money in their pockets. Some people say "Most people on welfare don't want to be there but have no other choice." At one point I would have agreed with that. But I truly believe the numbers of those who use welfare as a career are growing.

Since the beginning of the experiment that was the United States of America, we have been one of the greatest, most powerful, most generous nations in the world. We have done so much for other countries. Yet there are those living here who hate the United States and/or believe she is evil and needs to change to fit their views of the world. These people don't seem to realize that the reason they are allowed to voice those opinions is because we are such a great nation that enjoys freedoms that many other nations on Earth do not. The freedom to say what you want is often taken for granted.

The point to all of this is simple - if we could return to living by the title of this piece (whether you believe in God or not) we'd be better off as individuals and as a nation. The 10 Commandments are great rules to live by. Numbers 5 through 10 would even work for atheists. Good judgement and common sense certainly would make life easier. Imagine, if everyone lived by these rules, what a peaceful nation the United States would be.

A special shout out goes to my brother, Mark Atterson, who provided me with the idea for this post. Thanks buddy. Keep 'em coming!

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