Forty years ago relationships were much different than they are today. People went out of their way to show generosity, hospitality, and respect to the people they cared for. The community was more unified. Like the old adage goes.... It takes a village to raise a child. This kind of community and family awareness was prevalent in the days of old, but then, so much has changed in the last 40 years. The family and community structure has diminished dramatically and this is causing our society to quickly spiral towards a potential collapse. Gun violence, gangs, AIDS, the high rate of suicides among all age groups, drug use, lack of proper education, the alarmingly large amount of people being incarcerated.... all of it has taken a negative toll on our communities.
Why is this our social structure now? How did we get here? What was broken in our recent past that left us in this state of decay and decline? In my personal opinion, people just stopped going that extra mile. They quit putting in the effort. They gave up! It's almost as if, collectively, people forgot what it meant to be a part of something like family. They traded their morals and values for the instant gratification of our current lifestyles. And it isn't that they just gave up on their families, their community, educational programs, etc., but they also gave up on themselves. They just stopped caring. We were so focused on the small picture, cutting our little piece of the American pie, that we failed to see the big picture. We missed the forest for the trees.
Today, relationships and marriages don't last longer than a couple of years. Politicians, even dirty ones, have a longer and more successful term than the average marriage. So what are we left with? Single parent households. Our youth has no leadership to look up to. They have so many mixed signals that they have nothing positive to strive for, they fall into a state of disarray and uncertainty. If we don't find a way to fix this trend we are all going to be eaten alive; not only by ourselves, but by our own children. Tell me, who's willing to "man-up" and go the extra mile? Who is going to stop, take a look around, and scream to the heavens that we are falling apart? I often wonder at times where my life would be if a few positive role models from my community had taken me under their wing and showed me a different path to travel. Just what would have become of me? There's a big chance that my life would have been totally different.
Don't get me wrong, there are people out there that do try to go that extra mile, but in order to overcome the ills of our society, we're gonna need many more. We need to get back to those days when people stood up and took responsibility for their actions, when family and respect come first and people are held accountable for their actions. At least then we'll be heading in the right directions. Who among us will stand up and look around, and realize that this isn't the way? Who will go that extra mile?