This, That and Other Stuff


Optimism can be contagious

Bob Neuman

So, you’re convinced our country is in a steep decline with no hope for recovery? The murder rate is higher than ever. Nothing but crime and chaos. The terrorists seem able to strike at will, and our own citizens walk around killing innocent people.

You’re told our president is ruining America as the government squanders our tax payments and throws trillions away, increasing our deficits.

Well, you say, at least there are our churches, but maybe your pastor embezzled church funds or ran off with the secretary. So, churches are corrupt too? And what of those terrible teenagers?

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise, disrespectful and impatient of restraint.

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs and tyrannize their teachers.” Words from Socrates, a Greek philosopher, 470-399 B.C. Therefore, negative thinking is nothing new.

Is there no end to bad news? Probably not, but the examples above and others similar do not indicate our country or way of life is terminal. There are still ample reasons to be hopeful.

Our police, fire fighters and medical respondents do fine work, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Our law enforcement agencies are dealing with the drug and immigrant problems.

Many churches are filled with caring people who do charity work. Major companies are upbeat on job growth.

We hope the majority of our lawmakers are sincere and honest. Our brave military is defending and dying to maintain our way of life.

The majority of our citizens are hard-working, God-fearing, tax-paying individuals, the type who have and will continue to make our country prosper and still worship God without fear.

Teachers say our young people today are among the brightest, most considerate and charitable ever. They are dressing better and returning to the old values of responsibility and accountability. They are less eager to mooch off their parents to save money. They are also weary of living on Facebook and no longer find it worthwhile to know what others are doing each minute.

I recently met a young man in his 20s who cleaned my carpets. He was prompt, clean-cut, energetic, polite and pleasant. He was two years married with a 10-year-old son. His wife is a nurse. John has a second job as a postal deliverer. With the two, he works 70 hours a week. I am positive there are many work ethic young people like John.

Is there hope then? I say, yes. Perhaps we would do well to focus on what is good in our lives as we thank the Lord for his care and the greatness of our country.