I used to read the news every day and was constantly bombarded with the latest scandal in business or school shooting. DUI and divorce rates continued to climb. I read about politicians and preachers with prostitutes, conducting embezzlements, corruption, lies, etc. AAAAHHH!!! Now, I understand the news is bias towards negativity, but many of the things that are in the papers today weren’t in the papers 40 years ago. More Mom and Dad’s were staying together.
According to the Census Bureau the divorce rate has more than quadrupled since 1970 and 30% fewer people are getting married. Politicians valued their word and character. According to the worldwide statistics the U.S. Corruption index has dropped again in 2010. Kids weren’t shooting each other in school, we didn’t have to beg kids to get outside and play, neighbors knew each other, families cared about their reputations.
Something is wrong in our society. Things that were once sacred are not treated with the same weight as they once were. I was recently talking to a business partner of mine that is significantly older than me; I asked her what it was like when people got a divorce when she was younger. “People were in shock” she said. “The people getting the divorce were ashamed and would isolate themselves and in many cases move away.” Shock is good thing when it comes to things like divorce, corruption, lies, cheating, scandals, murder and every other negative character behavior you can think of.
A few years ago I decided not to watch television anymore. It took too much of my time and I wanted to read more. What I didn’t know when I made that decision was how much television affected my thinking. One day after I had stopped watching TV I was at a friend’s house and his television was tuned to a show I used to watch. As I sat there I realized the show promoted many negative things and played it off through humor. Some things literally shocked me and I kindly asked my friend to turn off the show.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out.” Unfortunately, garbage can look good and we often intake it without knowing it. Other times we know it and don’t care. I have an affinity for junk food. I like candy and cake, wings and chips, and energy drinks. The problem with junk food is it tastes great but makes you feel horrible afterwards. The pleasures are ephemeral and leave you wanting more. The body begins to crave it because of the instantaneous pleasure associated with it. When this happens a cycle begins and it takes conscious effort to overcome the cravings. If we can overcome things improve, if not the scale starts to tip—literally.
Bad character is a lot like junk food. It can provide instantaneous pleasure at times but the long term results are deleterious to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. We have to make a decision that we will live with the highest standards of character and improve the makeup of our society.