John Rocker, a Major League Baseball pitcher for six years, is the author of "Scars and Strikes." After retiring from baseball, Rocker embarked upon a successful career in real estate development.More ↓Less ↑
From past diatribes I think I can safely be described as someone who is unhappy with the direction our country is heading. Every time I open my “mouth” it seems to be in an effort to bemoan, groan and complain about everything from dissimilation to the myriad battles between liberals and conservatives.
Dissatisfaction with one’s civil surroundings is certainly nothing new in organized society. I can imagine that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, etc. bickered and argued just as we Americans do. Undoubtedly, the ancients disagreed about vastly different things than currently “plague” our culture, but I perceive they debated and disputed nonetheless.
Understanding the existence of this cultural dynamic doesn’t mean I will ever succumb and accept ideals and philosophies I don’t agree with. I will always attempt to change our/my community for what I feel is the better and will always strive to alter mindsets through logic and debate. Try as I might and gray haired as I may become, I fully understand that there will always be different groups and segments of America that will simply never agree. Some of us may agree all of the time, and all of us may agree some of the time, but all of us will never agree all of the time. It’s a simple fact of life. To some degree or another, America will always be in somewhat of a fractured condition.
To observe the fractured nature of American society one needs to look no further than nightly news or daily periodicals. The debate and polarizing aspect of our culture has simply become the norm and is easily accepted – almost invited – by some. After all, where would journalists and attorneys be without conflict, disagreement and the dysfunctional?
So while most of us are fully aware that disparity in our society will always exist, only a certain amount of “fracturing” can be tolerated in a productive community. Just as with most things in nature, a certain balance must exist – and I think we can all agree that the equilibrium in America between disagreement and harmony is steadily falling out of a healthy relationship.
How are things ultimately reined in and the natural balance restored? As a nation how do we halt the inertia of conflict that always seems to be seething below the surface and return our community to a more congruent place? It must start at the most basic foundation of every community of every nation during every generation: the core family unit.
The fracturing of our great nation, which unarguably has been titling in the wrong direction for some time, can only reverse courses through the strengthening and solidification of the American family unit. For far too long the most rudimentary component of our American society has been dissolving and taking the foundation of our country with it.
Dysfunctional children grow up to by dysfunctional teens who grow up to be dysfunctional adults who have dysfunctional children who repeat the process all over again. Duplicate this process a few million times over several generations and the result becomes an American society whose foundation is rapidly deteriorating, because many of the individuals who comprise our communities also have an eroding foundation within their lives. These foundations, little by little, one by one, ultimately make up the fabric of this nation.
It doesn’t take an individual who’s keenly trained in the social sciences to detect the deterioration of many moral and ethical characteristics from one American generation to the next. As each generation passes off to the next, it’s as if certain personal intangible assets such as moral fiber, integrity and work ethic become diluted. My grandparents’ generation held fast and lived by a stricter set of values than the generation of my parents, who adhered to a tighter ethical code than my generation, who now seems to be living with more moral and ethical conviction than the generation currently maturing.
As the next generation begins coming of age, statistics of an unflattering nature are once again eclipsing the benchmark set by those who produced them. Unwed and teen pregnancy numbers are surpassing the level set by my generation, in addition to teen dropout rates, incarceration rates and academic competency levels. To put it bluntly and risk sounding like a bony-fingered granny, kids today are a starving group when it comes to crucially important characteristics such as moral fiber, integrity and work ethic, leaving the future of this great nation on extremely unsure footing.
The family structure is where America’s children learn their values. Media such as TV, radio, the Internet, etc. absolutely have an impressionable effect on a young person’s psyche – but at the end of the day the home environment will ultimately determine the direction a child’s moral and ethical compass is heading. Parents, and particularly we men, there is no more important job you will ever have on the face of this earth than to raise your child and do everything in your power to ensure their life’s journey will be a happy and productive one.
A solid family structure, although difficult to achieve at times, is an extremely crucial, oftentimes determinative factor as a child’s mental and emotional framework is being constructed on their way to adulthood. While it’s a foregone conclusion that the at large American community will always be fractured to one degree or another, we as a nation need to begin putting special emphasis on keeping the most important community that exists within these borders cohesively intact – our family communities. The future of this great nation depends on it.