There was a time not long ago when everyday people took pride in their neighborhoods and communities.
Families and neighbors worked together to ensure that homes, schools, churches, and other community centers were safe, clean, open, and secure for every citizen to use and be proud of. Kids could play in yards, in the streets, and on playgrounds without having to look over their shoulders wondering whether some stranger was lurking around to do harm.
Indeed, there was a time when we did not have to be concerned with gangs and drug dealers taking over schoolyards and street corners, using them for illicit activities. Schools and community centers were known as gathering places for hosting block parties, festivals, meetings, and sporting events that brought people together of all ages for relaxation, entertainment, and community service.
Schoolteachers were surrogate parents for most of us because they often lived in our neighborhoods, knew our parents, or attended church with us. Pretty much every adult accepted the responsibility for keeping the children and youth in line, and making sure they were nurtured properly. Schoolchildren seemed to have multiple guardians who cared for them and wanted to see them succeed in life.
There was a real sense of community and concern for the well-being of the people, their homes, and the community as a whole. The pride and connectedness that we once enjoyed and perhaps took for granted in years gone by do not exist in some communities today. Sadly, we are witnessing some of the most atrocious and hateful crimes in and around schools and neighborhoods unlike anything we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes.
We must reverse the tide of hate and antipathy which seems to have gripped the young and the old. We can return to our best days by being persistent and committed to civil and caring homes, schools, churches, and communities. We can recapture the compassion of years past and revive the spirit which led us to take good care of neighborhood children and protect their innocence until they are mature enough to make their own decisions and choices.
Although we live in a world that is marked by heavy doses of uncertainty and hatefulness, we must not bow down or give in to the forces that are attempting to destroy our families, schools, and communities. Our immediate task is to stand up and stand tall for the sake of our younger generation and the future that we want for them.