We all felt the pain of the families who lost their loved ones in that horrific event in Parkland, FL on Valentine’s Day. I think we can all agree that we never wanted that to happen and we want to do all we can to make sure it never happens again.
Many solutions have been suggested and discussed. Some have been talked about before while others seem relatively new; such as arming teachers or hiring our nation’s veterans to protect our children.
Gun control, mental health, and law enforcement have all been hot topics for the last two weeks. But Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is the only one I have heard talk about (that taboo topic) family values.
I do believe that mental health is a problem. But I do not believe it is the main problem– not even close.
I think when we rush to blame these horrible events on mental health, or on a chemical imbalance in the brain, we ignore a more serious problem. We can’t ignore mental health issues but I believe we need to take a long and serious look at an even bigger (and related) problem with our culture. The loss of family values.
For decades, we have raised kids without fathers and taught that it is acceptable. We have taught kids to disrespect and challenge their elders, and we have introduced kids to video games, movies, and music that continually perpetuate violence. I believe all these actions, together, have led to the symptoms we see becoming a reality in our nation.
Before graduating high school in 2008, I spent four years challenging nearly everything my peers and I were taught in the public classroom. You might be asking yourself what my experience in high school has to do with the tragedies we are seeing today. It was 14 years ago when I entered high school and began to realize what I was being fed and taught in school was entirely the opposite of what I was learning from my parents.
Parenting has failed in our nation.
Family values stem from what mom and dad teach their children, what the values of the home will be. If parents are not teaching their children what they should be taught at home, their kids will learn other values through other modes of interaction. While I believe video games, movies, music and other forms of entertainment are not helping at all, I feel confident the problem is more systemic. Parents do not know how to be parents anymore.
My parents raised me to respect others and how to interact socially with others. They taught me to stand tall and be confident. They also, most importantly, showed me God.
The moral concept of right and wrong has been eroded for decades. I know parents who have let their kids do whatever they wanted when they were growing up. No discipline at all was given as a deterrent and method to teach the difference between right and wrong. As a result of this, our culture has become what Israel experienced in the Old Testament, “They did what was right in their own eyes,” and the result was what we see happening today.
Family values come from God. America’s Founding fathers believed this and taught it to their children. We have to get back to what made America great. Biblical values made America great.
We call them family values to make it more culturally acceptable, but they are the same thing. We need a return to teaching respect for others, personal responsibility, hard work, and love of country as well as yourself.
We need to re-build connections within our communities, and through our churches, especially for those that do not have a family to support them.
If we can get back to these principles, I believe we will begin to see fewer mental health issues and less of the problems we have in our nation today.
When we blame everything on mental health, we remove personal responsibility from the equation. I understand that there are people who genuinely suffer from mental illness. However, I believe our systemic problems in America stem from the heart.
We have to change our hearts.
That means beginning to take the responsibility to teach right and wrong, to let someone know in a constructive way that what they are doing is wrong, and help show them a better way.
It’s time to turn back to the same solution our Founder’s turned to when they successfully founded this great nation. That solution was then, is now, and ever shall be, placing God as the foundation of our education, our family, and our community.