Lebanon Reporter

Columns

December 5, 2013

Are we off course or on slight deviation?

We’ve made it through Thanksgiving, now it’s all downhill toward Christmas. I doubt that any rabbits will be hitting the malls since hunting season is fully underway. Ducks are pretty much safe from the hunter’s gun this time of year, but Duck Dynasty merchandise, on the other hand, will most likely disappear quicker than the dinosaurs did so many years ago. And 3X shirts seem to fly off of the shelves faster than any other size. And why shouldn’t they? Most of America has the same physical stature as many of the guys on one of the most popular television shows to hit the airwaves in years.

As I near my 60s, all of this so-called hype about Christmas shopping makes less sense to me with each passing holiday season. The merchants of America have pretty much eliminated Black Friday and replaced it with Black Turkey Day. Nothing is sacred anymore.

For many years, the family circle has been eroded by way too many distractions such as television, e-mail, YouTube, My Space, Twitter, Facebook and who knows what else. It’s getting to the point that the only faces families are seeing anymore are the ones on the Internet. How rare is it for most American families to sit down to at least one meal a day together? If parents aren’t rushing kids to sporting events, (while they are texting), children are vegetating in front of some violent video game. There are countless things to keep moms, dads and children from spending enough quality time together.

Once Christmas season arrives, I think everyone tries to make up for their lack of time spent together by spending as much as they can on gifts. Of course, we have to update all of our electronic gadgets and purchase the newest brain-frying video merchandise. The younger generation is so dependent on the digital age that if there is a power failure at the local Burger Palace, they are unable to make change for the customer, let alone keep track of the time on anything except cellphones. I must make it clear that all of these negative things should not be laid on the laps of our young children and teenagers. It ultimately rests on the shoulders of parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone else who has an influence on our younger generation. Even our churches have advanced to include modern technology in their ministries. It seems that no matter where you go, no one can escape the electronic age. Funny thing though, wouldn’t you think that church would be the best place to get away from the electronic-age onslaught? Think again.I very much doubt that we will ever return to the days of Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Father Knows Best, or even My Three Sons. What a simpler time those days were. I know many will shout out that things are so much better nowadays compared to when there wasn’t any inside plumbing, modern medicine, televisions or the Internet. Let me tell you folks, I can remember visiting my grandparents when they did not have a lot of our so-called modern doodads. Even thought they only had three local TV channels, a crank phone, a chamber pot and an outhouse, Grandpa and Grandma had a whole lot more to offer than many of us do today.I didn’t go to their home and waste time wearing my fingers out on some hand-held controller trying to reach the next level. No sir, I wore my fingers to the bone shelling corn off of the cob while sitting next to a coal-burning stove. It was the same stove that I took a bath behind, because there wasn’t any modern bathroom and it was the warmest place in the house. I received more valuable knowledge about life from watching Grandpa butcher hogs and cattle, along with observing him raising crops and studying the weather. I learned about the love of cooking by watching my grandma gracefully moving about the kitchen, frying up a meal of catfish and fried potatoes (tators). I certainly didn’t need a cooking channel to teach me the art of meal preparation. I learned much about gardening just by watching my grandma planting and caring for her countless varieties of flowers. I became proficient in the skill of skinning a catfish and butchering a fresh turtle just by tagging behind Grandpa. I must have asked him millions of questions, and he always gave me more knowledge than I could ever retrieve by sitting in front of my laptop computer.

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