I have a tendancy to try and get to the core of what causes a problem. Not just the symptoms, but the real root cause. And researching this phenomenon, it appeared that the first clue lies in the fact that these atrocities all seemed to start taking shape in the late '60's and early '70's. Before that point, for example, there were no incidents of a child bringing guns into school and killing a bunch of classmates and teachers, even though until that time, it was permissible in country schools for young men to bring their guns, so that they could go hunting after school. I often brought rifles to school for that purpose.
Having determined that the time period had something to do with the drastic, violent changes in society, I then began looking for "turning point" moments during that period, in an attempt to find some correlation.
Understand that there is nothing "scientific" about my research or conclusions. But I must say that two major issues came to the fore in the late '60's and early '70's. One was Madeline O'Hare, who hornswaggled the Supreme Court into removing religion - and therefore the Christian values - from the schools, which began the movement to remove Christianity from any public venue. I could not help but believe that the message this sends to our kids is one of, "leave the antiquated moral values of your parents at the door. They are neither appreciated nor wanted".
The other issue is perhaps the most controversial issue ever to face the Great Republic. Abortion. Now, I am not going to get into my personal beliefs on this issue - I try to remain objective. But I can't help but wonder about the message THAT sends to our children! Prior to Roe vs Wade, America stood fast on the principle of the sanctity of life - nothing was more important. Then suddenly, with the stroke of a pen, the Supreme Court turned that principle on its head. No longer was America a nation dedicated to life. Instead, it started down the road as a nation that no longer found sanctity in human life. Instead, we could now kill the unborn children - as many and as often as we chose. We could shrug off personal responsibility - if you do something, and it does not have the result you desire, you can simply throw it out and call for "do overs". And if you don't believe that this leaves an impression on our kids, think again. Just yesterday, I met a 17 year old boy who made the statement, "Whatever! If mothers can kill their children, what is the value of MY life?" Children learn. And there is no one else to learn from but us. What we do will mold them.
In any case, it seems clear to me that we are teaching our children to escape reality, avoid responsibility, disregard moral values and find little value in human life. Is it any wonder so many go awry. Did you know, for example, that the third leading cause of death among children is suicide? Life has no value to them. So how can we possibly expect them to respect the lives, or even the property of others?
One thing I am certain of - I am determined to teach my daughter moral values, respect and personal responsibility. But more than that, I impress upon her that life is not only unfair, but it is supposed to be unfair. It is nature's way to make things difficult. That is how a species becomes strong - the first law of nature is, after all, survival of the fittest. So, nature slaps us with every conceivable tribulation, for the express purpose of making us stronger.
My daughter has learned that when things get hard, or painful, it is only a test - and it is temporary. She knows that "going without" will make you stronger, if you do not give up. She knows she can have anything she wants, provided she earns it. She understands that loved ones can die, good people can have bad things happen to them, and that there are no guarantees. And she also knows that her ultimate happiness lies in her own hands, for it is whatever we make it.
For her, these understandings mean she will be far less likely to feel depression. She will be far more likely to look forward to trials and hardships, for the value of the things she will learn from them. She knows that success is a product of earlier failures - learning, by trial and error, what does not work.
And I cannot help but wonder what would happen if America were to once again sanctify life, revere personal responsibility, and learn to respect not only others, but ourselves, as well. What would happen if our children were to learn such things from us....