There is no question that America’s youth are facing tremendous challenges that are holding them back from reaching their full potential. Risky behaviors, including alcohol, illegal drug and tobacco use, violence, and early sexual activity, are among the leading causes for unreached potential in teenagers. However, I believe the reason these problems exist for our nations youth are much deeper than the visible surface issues of just risky behaviors. I am convinced, that a majority of teenagers’ problems exist because of the steady decline of value systems, the lack of parental involvement, and the gradual move away from teaching the importance of having good character.
Studies indicate that a lot of people are afraid of the kind of society we are becoming in the United States. Many people think that there is some significant difference between kids today and kids “like we were,” and they believe things are deteriorating. Based on 14 years of speaking to more than 3 million people I am convinced that things are deteriorating and believe that most Americans are genuinely concerned by the world they see. Its almost as though we’ve lost interest in raising children in our society, and a good deal of our problem comes from that. Teenagers today are spending more time with their friends and less time with adult supervision and the results are that they have become responsible for socializing one another.
Parents and teachers see the need and feel as if they are not equipped to do a good enough job and are asking themselves, “How can we better influence the kind of people that our kids become?” Simply put, parents and teachers are desperate for help and are looking to companies like ours who provide real and authentic character development assemblies, programs and resources.
Character education is needed in every school in the United States regardless of demographics; from urban to rural, the need exists. It is vital for every student, regardless of background, ethnicity or societal status. Youth throughout America face the same needs, the same challenges, and the same realities in their lives. I believe in order to mold and shape the value systems of teenagers, we have to be willing to devote more time, effort and resources that will inspire, educate and equip them to embrace character as a lifestyle. I may be old school but I still believe that integrity, respect, honesty, perseverance, compassion and courage are the fundamental building blocks for building a better society.
Just think what life would be like in the future if teenagers were encouraged to embrace a lifestyle of doing whatever they wanted, without regard for consequences. The most important thing in life would be to get exactly what you want, whenever you want, and by any means necessary. Thus, you have the absolute right to do whatever you have to do, to satisfy whatever desire, craving, or wish you have. Tell the truth at all times, unless it’s to your advantage to lie, deceive, or tell a partial truth. Never take responsibility for anything. That way, you never have to worry that you may have done the wrong thing. Blame the misfortunes of the world, and in your own life, on the poor judgment of other people. Keep your promises, unless something better comes along. Kindness is for wimps. Let your true feelings show, no matter how unpleasant they may be. Show care and compassion for your fellow human beings, unless they’ve hurt you. In that case, all bets are off. Have little or no regard for how your actions affect other people. It’s their problem, not yours, if they’re offended or harmed by what you say or do. Never, ever cheat, unless you can get away with it. Do not, under any circumstance, report wrongdoings you observe. Don’t get involved. It’s none of your business. Always follow the New Golden Rule: “Do unto others before they do unto you.” In other words…Think about yourself, and only about yourself, and you will be fine.
Seriously, how long could anyone live this way? What would the world look like if everyone followed these rules? It doesn’t take long to realize that it’s in our countries own best interest to teach our children the importance of character and to take ethics seriously. Yes, it’s possible to imagine a world without character. But is that a world in which any rational person would want to live?