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It's Our Turn: It's time to pull the ripcord

Things sure aren't the way they used to be.

While watching a couple of Western movies over the weekend, I was reminded of how far we've come from the values and traditions that created this country.

One movie was a story about a man who gave his word to a dying friend that he would protect his wife and ranch. The problem was that another man wanted both and would stop at nothing to get them. The star of the show fought to protect them both at the risk of almost certain death - all because he had given his word.

Although this is obviously an idealized portrayal of Western life, it does remind us of how far we've come from those times.

Nowadays, giving your word often means nothing more than trying to do something - as long as it is not too inconvenient or uncomfortable. The concept of a verbal agreement being "legally binding" is inconceivable to most people - a remnant of time long past.

Maybe we are giving up the past too easily.

Even though many people have a fascination with history and old items, when it comes to daily living most of us have an even greater obsession with things that are new. We want the latest app, the newest gadget and the newest techniques. Yet, for most of us, it only brings a temporary "high" on our journey to getting the same old results.

We need to slow down and realize that just because something is old or traditional doesn't mean it's wrong or in need of being updated.

We live in a time when anything traditional is suspect and considered old-fashioned, outdated, repressive and irrelevant. Not only are traditional values being discarded faster than yesterday's cell phones, but there is a concerted effort by many to trivialize, demonize and destroy them.

Admittedly, not all traditions are good and should be retained, but if something has worked and had a positive influence on people in the past, there's good reason to believe it's still valuable today.

Compare the ancient idea of learning from the past to today's obsession with experimentation and new ideas. Rather than emulating the things that have worked in the past we are subjecting ourselves, our families, our kids, our schools and our country to all sorts of new and bizarre experiments.

So, how are these experiments working? Are we really better off now than we were in the past? Is society stronger? Has stuff made us happy? Are families more stable? Are kids better educated? Is our country stronger and more unified? Are children better behaved? Do we have fewer social problems? Are we happier?

Some may disagree, but many people would answer "no" to all of these. Our experiments don't seem to be working, and yet rather than considering something old and proven, we constantly search for a new solution.

Do we really think we're that much smarter than the people who came before us?

Rather than experimenting - or looking for new research that just happens to support our preferences - maybe we should try something traditional.

What has worked with families in the past? What has worked for education? What has worked for raising kids? What has worked for society in general?

One thing is certain: What we are doing now isn't working.

If you're falling out of an airplane, the best thing to do is to pull your parachute ripcord; sure it's old-fashioned, but it has been proven to work. Or you could just keep saying, "So far so good, so far so good."


"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.