By John Matonich
I usually try to keep my ramblings light and humorous if I can, but every now and again, I can’t help but rant a little. This is one of those times and I know a number of folks who will read this may not agree, but I can’t help but share my thoughts on the matter.
I recently read an article about a high school rifle team that wasn’t going to be able to have their team’s picture in the school year book because the team involved the use of rifles. School officials didn’t feel it was appropriate to showcase this team. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Even though it was a school team there was a feeling that drawing attention to it could cause issues in the future. Good grief, is this what our society has come to? I am terribly disappointed and a little ticked off. When are we going to learn that condoning fear is not the right approach to anything, but teaching respect is?
I know it has been a long time since I had to carry books into a school building, but I can still remember a number of students who would come to school shortly after Christmas break with their new shotgun (from Santa) under their arm for “Show and Tell”. Of course, the shotgun wasn’t loaded and it was in a case which was (and still is) the legal way to transport a shotgun. I remember the principal patting them on the back and congratulating them while he admired their new gift. No one would think of having any shells even close to them while they had the shotgun because they were taught at home not to.
I remember my father spending hours with me schooling me on the proper handling of a shotgun. How to carry it, how to load it (when it was the right time), how to make sure the safety was on even when it wasn’t loaded and so on. He was clear that if I violated any of those lessons, my hunting days would be shut off until I could prove myself worthy to be trusted once again. He taught me the importance of respecting what the shotgun could do if misused, but made sure I didn’t fear handling it.
You may be thinking that I was lucky to have a dad who spent the time with me. I was fortunate in that respect, but there are all kinds of folks who volunteer to provide that type of mentoring to those who want it and may not be as fortunate as I was to have a father wanting to spend time with me.
The correct exposure to about anything can teach respect and the importance of proper etiquette. Thinking that acting like they don’t exist is a huge mistake and I believe the root cause of many of the issues we see today. These things do exist so why not show proper care, treatment and respect.
I don’t want to get into some big debate about gun control. That isn’t the point of my rant. I am using this issue as an example of where I believe society is failing our younger folks. Hiding the realities of life is a mistake, but teaching how to handle them is the right way to go. Life is full of opportunities to win or lose and, contrary to some thinking, a participation trophy doesn’t make it any better.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
Image credit: Rögnvaldur Jónsson