By Wade Christensen
I spent a good portion of my life on a farm and ranch working on a full-time basis. Today, my family and I are continuing what our ancestors started four generations ago with my younger brother still living on the farm and managing the day-to-day operations.
When I was growing up, we admired people for being honest, trustworthy, hardworking, optimistic and generous. These were character traits of individuals with whom we lived, worked and went to church. They didn’t receive any special recognition, and you did not read about their accomplishments in newspapers. They were just good, solid citizens who worked hard and lived quite lives.
In today’s world, we have become so calloused that we don’t give a second thought to news reports of a corporate leader cheating his stockholders or a politician being accused of corruption or lying. What has happened to our sense of morality? Do we not expect good from people anymore?
We hear people complaining about elected officials not doing their jobs. As a person who has always been self-reliant, there is no reason why we should continue to sit back and wait on the government or anyone else to solve the problems we face. We need to rally behind what we, as a nation, stand for, which is kindness, respect for others, courage, self-reliance, optimism and character. These alone, will take care of many of our problems.
We have a system of government that is by all historical accounts, the best in the world. Even though our form of democracy is admired throughout the world, many national and state politicians have become bound by party politics and/or are indebted to special interest groups. Because of these party or financial conflicts, these individuals have forgotten who elected them and our nation’s founding principals. Divisiveness is the norm.
Where have all the statesmen and stateswomen gone? I have seen too many good people attacked, and we, as a state, have many good elected officials.
While some are still in office, others have been forced out and many still have to fight against the big money special interest groups. We need more men and women who have the fortitude to stand up to campaign contributors when the stakes are high, whether it be at the state level or the national level. We need independent, creative thinkers who are not afraid to step outside the political box and assert their values and principles above party politics.
We don’t need elected officials who simply say what we want to hear, and then fail to follow through on promises. We need officials who don’t have ethics of convenience but instead set high examples for adults and the next generations to follow.
Families, children and marriages are also not immune from the many temptations of the new and modern world. Nowadays, families are too busy to sit down and eat together, and consequently, they miss out on the opportunity to communicate and share family values.
Technology has adversely affected many children and adults, with the constant barrage of violence in movies, video games and television. Technology has advanced to such an extent that children, parents and spouses no longer verbally communicate, but instead text or email each other. This has opened up an entirely new opportunity for spouses to be unfaithful, easy access to pornography and even scarier is the opportunity for children to become victims from internet predators. The more time family members spend social networking or texting, the less time they have to connect as a family.
I believe that we need more people with a strong work ethic to serve as our leaders. Individuals who are authentic, humble, know the value of a full day’s work and the importance of accomplishing goals, even if it involves compromise and negotiation. People who work with the soil, not just farmers, live by an honor. They stand for something, not just simple words that are easily spoken and often meaningless, but live by their actions.
It is these characteristics, honesty, courage, hard work and trust that are cherished and form the family values that make America the great country that we love. If we can regain and maintain these family values, the next generation of leaders will take our state and nation to a new level. If we lose our soul, what do we have to pass on to future generations?