To many, Father’s Day is either a joyous occasion or a time to mourn; possibly even a time to ignore what the holiday represents. Many believe this holiday is solely connected to our natural fathers and to only focus on this aspect would not do justice to all the great men in our lives. My father is no longer with me and I cannot help but want to talk with him again. Such an impossible thing to want, but still, that is the way I feel. I also believe that this feeling is justified because I have more questions for him. I am now a father myself and from what my father taught me, my perspective on life is different. It would be easy to feel robbed of that influence in my life or feel like a victim because we all need our fathers; no matter how old we are. Thankfully, even if your father is gone or even if you never knew your him, you can still celebrate this important holiday.
The reason we can celebrate this holiday no matter our personal situation is in the hope that men will take responsibility for their role in society. The lack of virtue, discipline, honesty, willingness, determination, direction, and wisdom is at the root of all of our political and social problems. Men fill a natural role in the development of not only their genetic children, but also in the lives of others. Unfortunately, men can not avoid the impact that they have on others, so when men are negligent, they have a negative impact. Like any other responsibility this role of personal and professional development is unavoidable and is naturally first to our genetic children, but also to others in our lives. In reflecting on this fact, here are areas that I believe are important and will work on in the hope of influencing a new generation in my everyday life.
First, people hate hypocrites, so take ownership of your mistakes and do not just tell others how to live, but show them. This practice of honesty teaches those we father, mentor, or disciple that you are more concerned about honesty and consistency than about pride or appearance.
Second, exercise your natural right as a human being to teach your natural children and others in your life how to think properly. Do not leave education to the government, no matter how busy you might be. Be involved mentally, practically, and emotionally. This applies to everyone in your life that you influence no matter where they go to school; private, public, or in your own home.
Third, do not rob other people or your own children of consequences. Being “nice” is just a way of pretending that the outside world — full of natural consequences connected to our actions — does not exist. Not teaching or not speaking up about the natural consequences of immoral behavior is worse than believing gravity does not exist. One harms the soul and the other harms the body, a safe bet would be to protect both.
Fourth, teach your children and others in your life about human nature and prepare them not to be surprised by evil, but to be surprised by grace. It is natural for mankind to be selfish, it is uncommon for mankind to treat others with unmerited favor. Directing others and yourself on this idea will reveal more miracles in this world than we could imagine.
Finally, teach others and your own children that they are not victims of anyone or anything. The rain falls on everyone and hurricanes, earthquakes, and death does not choose according to race or sexual identity or religious creed. Victims need help, wait for that help, and help does not always come. The heroes I was raised to respect could have justly called themselves victims, but did not and inspired the oppressed to take action.
My intent was not to ruin this important holiday or celebration by pointing out what should be obvious, but to tell other men that as a whole, we are failing! It is time we took responsibility for our role in society and man up. There are many great fathers in this world, but none of us are perfect and I hope this will be a great reminder for not only myself, but for all of us.
The reality of my situation is that my father is gone and I will not be able to ask any questions or ask for a hug or brag about my accomplishments. On the other hand, God has provided me with so many other spiritual fathers and mentors that I would be remiss to not only thank them on this holiday, but to carry on their work in my life to others. They can never replace my father and I do not want them to, but they can continue the development that my father started. Men play a crucial role in our society and Father’s Day should be a reminder of just that.
Strobridge Elementary School in Hayward, California is hosting a gun buyback program for kids. What a great way to get unwanted guns off the street, not to mention a great way to get guns out of the hands of minors. Guns are not toys, and gun buyback programs can get unwanted guns out of homes and off the streets for a financial incentive. People participate in buyback programs because they would rather trade an unwanted gun for a one hundred dollar gift card or other incentive. The real problem with gun buyback programs is that people really bring in unwanted guns, as in guns that are pieces of junk and do not work. Like other gun buyback programs, the Strobridge Elementary School is also collecting useless pieces of plastic and metal in their very own buyback program for kids. The difference in this buyback program is that it is targeting toy guns, and children who participate are entered into a raffle to win a new bicycle.
On the surface, this program seems to be a decent deal for the children and parents in a tough economic time in that they trade one toy gun for a chance to win a new bike. The children also learn about gun safety – not toy gun safety – and bicycle safety in case they win the raffle or move to New York and take advantage of Mayor Bloomberg’s new bicycle rental program. In either event, the toy gun buyback program clearly reveals another example of public education going above and beyond its job description, while failing to educate children on how to read the labels on their toy guns or learning to count their pretend bullets, they are once again melding in childish affairs.The toy gun buyback program is not about gun education but control.
Charles Hill, the school’s principal, explained, “Playing with toys guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun.” First, there is no way to prove or disprove this statement, so it is equal to propaganda. Propaganda is the process of influencing the attitudes of a community by only presenting one side of the argument, or in this case, using political theater to steal children’s toys. Obviously, taking toy guns out the hands of children will not stop gun violence, and education by parents will have the most effect. Toy manufacturers are forced to paint toy guns bright colors, and this point was brought up to the social crusader teaching young children in California with no response to the actual question except that toy guns look real enough. So, putting the actual gun debate aside, and all good intentions of Principal Hull, this gun buyback program is about control because it is using propaganda to change the behavior of children in regards to future actions that may result from the use of toys.
This may sound extreme, but this is not an isolated case. Recently a 5-year-old child who brought a fake looking cap gun onto his Calvert County school bus was suspended for ten days after showing the orange tipped toy gun to a friend. First, the child was questioned for over two hours before his mother was even called and actually wet himself because of the of long interrogation. Other children have also received unwarranted discipline for pointing their fingers in the shape of a gun that were in first and second grade. Another child was suspended for biting a pop tart pastry into the shape of a gun, while in Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old was suspended for a Lego-shaped gun. This over reaction will do nothing to stop gun violence in schools and only shows an attitude of complete contempt for proper education of dangerous firearms. This reaction towards children also reveals a deeper agenda of reeducating children, not on gun safety, but on why guns are truly unnecessary even if they are toys.
When you combine these issues in light of the progressive transformation of public education, it is no wonder why charter and home schooling is thriving. Classical education is at an all time high, and the idea of social progress through public education versus the study of fixed human nature will only over time make public education more and more unattractive. What true education teaches us is that America was founded on the idea that the government was not smarter than the people. This is the present day assumption of not only the American government but also of public education. The reason America was not founded on this principle was that our constitution was set into place to protect us from the powers of government. Our founding fathers also understood that government not only represented the people within the restrictions set into place by the Constitution but also that our government was nothing more than a reflection of the people themselves.
James Allen is a Phoenix native who has served as a consultant on federal, state and local political campaigns and has hosted radio shows in major media markets. He’s interviewed great conservative thinkers like Walter Williams, Dinesh D’Souza, Jonah Goldberg, and Mark Steyn and partnered with organizations like The Heritage Foundation, The Goldwater Institute, and The Hoover Institute.
Allen holds degrees in Political Science, Religion and Applied Ethics as well as certificates in Civic Education and International Relations. He writes a regular column for Townhall.com and blogs at his website, JamesAllenShow.com, where he uses new media to inform and entertain.