Letters for May 24, 2018

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We have a parent and a learning problem Shortly after I retired from the U.S. Navy (July, 1980) I attended New Hampshire College (now Southern NH University) where I earned BS and MS degrees in fields relating to mental health.  From 1982 on I was a mental health counselor and child and family therapist in New Hampshire, Vermont, Kentucky, and (to a lesser degree) North Carolina. After several years practicing conventional mental health disciplines, methods and routines, it occurred to me I was exercising therapy less and less and teaching parenting skills more and more.  Fortunately (for me and my clients) I crossed paths with the nationally known family psychologist and parenting authority, John Rosemond. I found that Rosemond’s basic beliefs coincided with what I’d learned growing up in New England in the 1940s and ‘50s.  His conviction was that raising a child is the most awesome responsibility any of us can ever take on but that it doesn’t have to be difficult, that it really isn’t rocket science.  The secret, he said, “is staying in touch with our common sense.”  Common sense (like truth) can prove elusive, one of those intangible items we Americans seem to have lost along with a few other essentials so common place three short generations ago.  Once upon a time people got married, had children, reared them, and it wasn’t something they spent a lot of time fussing and fretting over. As I matured I gradually discovered how to fit into the adult world around me, kids today envision and experience a far different domain.  My oldest great granddaughter (who will be 18 in June) informed me recently that I “hadn’t made a good first impression” on her.  Since when are parents, grandparents (or any adult for that matter) required to make an impression on children? Adults of my generation (including teachers worthy of the designation) established three understandings with kids: First, they demanded our undivided attention; second, we did what we were told because; third, adults said so. The “greatest generation” raised their children by adhering to that very basic and quite simple and successful formula.  Today, considering the myriad of difficulties we face (including in public schools) many people believe we have a mental health problem.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We don’t have a mental health problem, we have a parenting and a learning problem. We’ve forgotten how to raise and educate our children.  Having our name put on a “hit list” because we discipline a kid, that’s preposterous, absurd, and entertaining the thought would have been unimaginable in my generation. We can fill our schools with psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, resource officers, nurses, aides, health navigators, and comfort animals till the cows come home, but until we restore that which we’ve abandoned or chosen to ignore these past decades (the ability to parent and teach our children) the problems will continue and very likely worsen. The fundamental purpose of raising children is to help them out of our lives and into successful lives of their own. It’s called emancipation. In that endeavor, two things are worth remembering:  (1) Men are every bit as important as women in the raising of children so stop regarding fathers as mere “parenting aides.”  And (2) recognize that it is every child’s right to be governed well and every parent’s responsibility to provide good government. David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

Living in an era where truth is hard to find Within the confused world in which we all live, and with all the instant information we are able to receive, much of this is given with a false sense of truth. Things taken out of context only to achieve a self motive or agenda. We seem to live more in an era of manipulation, where truth is twisted and hard to find. We now openly live and justify, that evil is good, and good is evil. Our nation seems only to be running on depleted energy of the past. The full breeze that once filled our sails, now seems unsteady with conflicting breezes coming from every direction. We live for the moment in what the self feels is satisfying, no matter the cost. News anchor Lawrence O’Donnell with MSNBC, commenting on the MS 13 gang member that stabbed an individual 100 times, behead him, then cut the man’s heart out, stated this should not be referred to as animalistic behavior by President Trump, but should be deemed as a human with self worth, as Christ is the greatest example of this. This comment is totally out of context and greatly false and offensive. Christ died for all, even for the one with such behavior, but He did not die for “evil or Satan,” but died for the individual who chose to do evil and followed Satan’s calling. God is a God of true justice which includes all our injustice and untruthfullness, and is to be held accountable, but this only is set right if we reason and believe He died to set our lives right with Him. If this is untrue, tell me what hope is it that we instill into our children? How do you explain to your child the goal in life and living, and what it looks like? Is there no honor in being truthful or is it okay to be untruthful as long as we achieve what we want? God help the future of our children who are growing up in a world with nothing to guide them. Hope in hope itself is empty, it needs a foundation to be built upon. Self examination can be hard and difficult, but within our divisiveness, jealousy, excess and hoarding, we have turned ourselves and our world into something which it was not intended. God has sent many, both past and present with His calling in following and finding reason in Him; we seem to ignore this and feel it’s an annoyance and interferes with life. We may think, well, if God is who he says he is, then why can’t he just change (my) or man’s character and make us the way He wants? Apparently, He feels us worthy in making the free choice, and leaving our destinies to ourselves. Sometimes we wonder why He has done this, and some wishes He hadn’t. But if He had made us any different, as in cookie cutter machines and to do nothing else, imagine what a perfect automated world would look like. We all have faults, and we all seem to blame our faults upon others, even God. But just as God speaks, He does not speak to others, He speaks to you and asks you to follow and understand Him. The conversation starts personally, internally, within the depth and soul of who we are. A good relationship starts with honest conversation or questions, no matter how difficult, even for a misguided gang member. Given the chance, find a quite place and start a heartfelt conversation; you just may find a great friend who died, but lives to meet you, Christ. Deni Shepard – nds13@frontier.com

 

Let the investigators do their job A chance encounter between a Macon County deputy and a resident of our community during the early morning hours of April 30 has left many people wondering and speculating about what happened that culminated in the death of Michael Knibbs. A family is facing uncertainty wondering what the outcome will be and they will never ever be able to forget what took place that night. Deputy Momphard never imagined that when he put on his uniform and began his shift that night it would be one he will ever forget. Presently, no one knows exactly what took place in the brief moments that they confronted each other. Atty. Mark Melrose, representing the Knibbs family was quoted in The Franklin Press saying Knibbs was a family man, had no criminal record and “had nothing but respect for law enforcement.” Sheriff Robert Holland after arriving on scene and evaluating the situation did the most appropriate thing by requesting the assistance and expertise of the North Carolina SBI and turned the investigation over to them. Proper thing to do in an investigation concerning a member of your agency. It may take some time to gather all of the facts, interview all possible witnesses, review department policy and procedure. Once SBI completes the investigation they will forward the finding of facts to the District Attorney’s office who will ultimately review the documents and then make a ruling based on criminal law. This is our criminal justice system at work. Please wait for everyone involved in the investigation to do their job to the best of their training, ability and dedication. This organization endorses the actions taken by Robert Holland, Madon County Sheriff and stands by his staff and all members of the Sheriff’s Office. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to both the Knibbs family as well as Deputy Momphard and his family during this difficult time. Al Caiata, president, Macon/Jackson FOP Lodge #81

Let commissioners know education is important The students of Macon County need our help. The county commissioners have a preliminary budget that falls short of the needs put forth by Superintendent Baldwin. I know our commissioners and county manager to be people of very high integrity and character and we should try to persuade them that education is important enough to warrant more attention. I believe we can. You may have heard that this is all about teacher pay, but it is not. It is about school operations, teacher/student ratios, textbooks, and supplies. It is not about waste. It is about doing what is necessary to prepare Macon County children for the future. Regardless of where your thinking falls on the political spectrum, all but the most extreme think it is appropriate we spend some money on our schools. For me, the threshold of “some” is not met when teachers regularly spend their own money on school supplies. The threshold of “some” is not met when students are asked to pay a per mile fee for Activity Bus travel. This means the better our students do at sports, music, or science (among other things) the more likely they must travel for regional or state events and the more money it will cost them. If we want students to excel, we should not penalize them for excellence. The threshold of “some” is not met when many classrooms have tools and technology more than 50 years old. The threshold of “some” is not met when we reduce the number of classes even though the number of students is rising. The threshold of “some” is not met if we fail to prepare the children of Macon County for the 21st century. Many believe state government should do more. They may be right but the budget for Macon County is decided here, not in Raleigh. Our shortfall may be Raleigh’s fault, but it’s still our problem. For our elected officials to do the best job possible, they must know what the citizens of Macon County think. There are many facets to the budget and I do not envy the county manager or the commissioners this task. For every item demanding more dollars, fewer dollars must be spent somewhere else.  Or, dare I say it, more revenue needs to be part of the equation. If you visit https://www.ncdor.gov/documents/fiscal-year-2017-2018-county-property-tax-rates-and-revaluation-schedules you will see that Macon County has a lower property tax rate than 98 of the 100 counties in N.C. I am in favor of low taxes, but under the circumstances, this may be too low. Of course, raising taxes provides no guarantee that I, or anyone will agree with how additional revenues may be spent or saved unless we are successful at exercising our persuasive power. Many readers will disagree with some or all that I’ve said here. You should write the paper and tell the commissioners about it. But you should also write the paper if you agree. Do not think that if you no longer have children in school that you do not have a say. If you are a resident of this county, you have a say and I implore you to use it. David Hubbs – Franklin, N.C.

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