When Will Sanity Return?

I remember a billion years ago, when I was a student at Jefferson County High School, that many things were different than they are now. Of course, that was in the pre Columbine days when we were all blissfully ignorant of the fall out that happens when children kill children especially at school. But, it makes me wonder if we were really so different then or have we, as a generation of parents and leaders, let our shock of one tragic incident mold a generation? Don’t get me wrong. We are where we are and we have to deal with it from here. There is no do over, no going back but are we continuing to add fuel to the fire by the way we react to students and are our expectations driving this train off the tracks?

When I was in high school, many students had guns in their trucks. They also carried pocket knives right there in their front pockets, on school property none the less. Yet for all the hunting rifles and pocket knives, I was never, ever afraid at school. I had faith in our Principals and teachers and in my fellow students to manage life without prison like rules or creating deep seated fear. There was simply a measure of respect that all the rules and political correctness in the world cannot create. Were there bad people who did bad things in the world. Of course. There have always been bad people that do bad things, that is not unique to this generation. We just did not perseverate on the insanity. We lived our lives. We were treated with respect and , in turn, we treated others with respect. That does not in any way mean that we were mired in political correctness. In this age of telling all to the world via text or twitter or social media and monitoring every thought of every person to make sure that no group is slighted we have lost the ability to simply live. We do not all have to think and believe alike to exist peacefully and we should have expectations of each other because that is what holds us all to a standard that makes life livable. But, we are raising a generation with no voice. They can’t speak for fear of reprisal in the name of correctness and by whose standards? I know that I am not nearly as offended by honest speech than I am by subvert undermining.

When did it become alright to punish everyone or even establish strict rules for everyone because of the actions of a few disturbed people? So, today we can’t attach flags to our personal vehicles because it might offend someone? We can’t use certain pronouns because they might offend or assume gender because someone might have changed their minds or assume that some dude shouldn’t be in the women’s bathroom. So maybe we are no longer in the day and age when guys can have their hunting rifles in their trucks on school property. I could argue that mentally disturbed people, including students, look very different from some kid that has a shot gun because he hunts or uses it on the farm but I doubt that we will ever get back there from here. But, why do flags have to be an issue? Why do I have to accept some guy in the ladies bathroom? A regular student can’t carry a pocket knife or fly a flag but they can hang out in opposite gender bathrooms? All of this is trickle down from one incident decades ago. I just wonder if sanity will ever return.

I have raised my son. He is a grown man and I don’t yet have grandchildren. My influence on this generation is largely from the outside looking in right now. For those that now have some impact on how things are done and what is really important, please take a good hard look at where we were and where we are because the path we are traveling isn’t working so well. We don’t need more rules. We need more respect for the important things and we need to instill the ability in out children to know what is important and what is simply there for the sake of being there. We need to stop punishing before the crime and stop anticipating the worst. If we set ourselves for the worst that is exactly what we will get. And lastly, if we expect respect then we must model respect to our children. Maybe then we can get back some of what we have lost from fear and lack of forethought. Maybe.