Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Musings 26

Lately I have been pondering  the state of our society, solutions to problems via the government, and solutions via the gospel of Jesus Christ.  While in a church meeting this morning an interesting phrase popped into my head.  "Don't feed mediocrity".  I'm still pondering this, but so far I have come to the conclusion that many of our problems are related to this.  Our society often feeds mediocrity and starves excellence.
     It seems that since I was a child many educational, entertainment and moral standards have been steadily declining.  Results glare at me in the news headlines every day.  I also see increasing acceptance of mediocre behavior in schools, fashion, entertainment, government, the arts and homes.  I have observed, via my children, the falling standards of what is taught in public schools.
     Along with this I have observed an increasing sensitivity to individual differences.  Much of this is good. For example, many schools accommodate different learning styles.  There is increased tolerance for differences in beliefs, health, race, and  lifestyles.  While many changes have been good, I think that as we have become more tolerant, we have become less discriminating.  It seems discrimination is a word to be avoided, probably because of it's negative associations with racial discrimination.
     Sometimes discrimination is good.  Obviously it is not such when applied to race, but it is necessary in avoiding being overtaken by the mediocre in areas that traditionally have had standards of behavior or excellence.  When the best literature is commonly passed over for fast-paced thrillers or romance novels (which titillate the senses), when Youtube videos done by amateurs reign, when action, blood, violence, nudity and filthy language glut the movie market, when gossip and reality shows frequent our homes, when illegal drugs are household words, and when just about any lifestyle is accepted in the name of tolerance and equality, something is terribly wrong.  And the acceptance of mediocrity accelerates when achieving financial security becomes the most important goal within many homes and workplaces.  In a nutshell, "the end justifies the means" has become more and more popular as a primary motivation.  If  supporting something mediocre brings lots of money, then it's OK.
     Society has been unbalanced for a long time.  I see nothing wrong with occasional light reading or music, or creating a fun craft.  These kinds of things have their place.  I do them.  The problem is when they become the steady diet for most of us.  We need to spend time and money on the best books, the best music, the best way to raise our children, the best food for our bodies, the best clothing, etc.
     I think many of us have been taught the classics (although perhaps many is not true anymore....).  We at least know what they are, and could find out via the internet.  We can even choose to read or listen to them via the internet at the touch of a few keys in less than a minute.  But many of us don't bother.  We are full of excuses.
     Most importantly, what belief system do we have, and do we teach it in our families?  I think that many of us don't even bother with this.  I guess kids are expected to get this through osmosis...but that doesn't happen.  If parents don't actively teach good values and beliefs--and may I add striving for excellence--in the home, children learn by observing and listening to friends, media,  school and society.  The family becomes a place of learning how to succeed in society (maybe...)--not necessarily what will make someone happy.
     After much thoughtful consideration, prayer, teaching my children, and trying to live it for many years, I believe the teachings of Jesus Christ are the best way to achieve excellence in this life.  The gospel of Christ is the great healer, the great motivator, and the greatest source of comfort and sublime joy.  It contains the solutions to all of society's problems.  It is the glue that can hold families together.  It is hope for our country.  It is the only way to mend and grow.

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.