I never had to walk to school, uphill both ways, but I did have to earn my trophy. You see, I grew up in a time where things were considered fair for everyone. Not that it was actually fair, but if you wanted something you actually had to earn it. You didn’t receive things just to make sure that everyone was equally compensated — there were actual winners and losers. And that was okay!

If you wanted to be a winner, you either took to something that you were good at, or you had to “man-up” (yes I said it) and work harder than the next guy to become better at it. And guess what, that was okay. That made us stronger. That prepared us for life. That made us decide our strengths and face our weaknesses.

I grew up in a time when you opened a door for a woman, especially your mother. Not because she was dainty and couldn’t do it herself — for crying out loud, she gave birth to you, something a man can’t do, and wouldn’t want to do, and never asked to do, and frankly it just seems crazy to go through that much pain…to end up with me and my siblings. We did it out of respect. We did it to recognize that she works hard for us and cares for us, not just cares for us, but took care of us.

As I write this, my mind rushes to think, “Who am I offending with this? Am I using the right words to not ‘trigger’ or enflame a group?” And you know what, that frustrates me. It’s not that I don’t consider other people’s feelings, it’s just that it feels so stifling. It’s as if you can’t even just think at times without spending more time checking yourself for modern day possibilities that you may have offended some group or excited the thin-skinned in any way.

Just writing this last paragraph gave me pause, and you know what, that frustrates the crap out of me (yes, I said crap)! It’s not that I don’t recognize other groups of people and their feelings, it just takes me back to the word “stifling.” Before you go off about this, realize that in the Good Old Days there were also things like Common Sense, Common Decency, and Common Courtesy. And guess what…they were called COMMON for a reason! They were expected. It was the default nature of individuals that was expected.

There was another thing, “The Golden Rule.” Saying this nowadays endangers having yet some other group poke their heads up in opposition to a traditionally religious-rooted reference and not having their rights trampled in some way. The Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Please, tell me, how is this a bad thing?!?

The Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Please, tell me, how is this a bad thing?!?

I truly am worried that that the Good Old Days will be lost to over-political correctness. That they will be lost to the weakest moral link and the “whoever shouts the loudest” culture. My main line of defense to this? Instill in my children and grandchildren a view of the things of the past that were worth carrying-on. Should everything about the past carry on? Of course not. Duh! What things should carry into the future and make our world a better place? That’s actually pretty simple — those things that my mother originally taught me (and my father held us to).

Simple things actually. Treat others fairly and with respect. Consider that someone is acting a certain way, due to unforeseen difficulties they may be going through. Pick up trash on the ground when you see it (okay, that was my dad). Help put away chairs and tables at the end of a church function (dad again). Respect the elderly and authority. Choose to be happy. Choose to be kind. Don’t hold a grudge. It’s normal for boys to wrestle around the house (even when they’re older). Educate yourself. Be on time. Open the door for others. Always, always, watch out for each other.

That’s a pretty good list to work off. And there are more, some I probably don’t even think of, but that I just find myself living and innately adhering to on a daily basis.

Whew! Are you a little exhausted? Me too. Do you feel a little better? Me too. Now go out there, enjoy life, and make a difference!

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