Vol. 10    No. 26
DECEMBER 24, 2015
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                    Happy Holidays!
It’s funny how we can sometimes reverse roles with our children. The rule of thumb — at least when I was growing up — was that as we get
older, we tend to become more conservative and “realistic.” Well in discussions with my son, at times, he often tells me that I am unrealistic
and misguided in my optimistic beliefs about people and the world. I truly think that he thinks that I am deluded and during one conversation
that we had, he confided to me that one of his responsibilities was to take care of me. And all of this time, I thought I was helping to take care
of him. Funny how that goes.

I can appreciate how my son feels. It’s hard to open up a newspaper — or get on the Internet for that matter — without reading about some
massacre that has happened near or far. Almost everywhere we turn, it seems that violence is on the rise in the world. Some of the people
who are angry are living better than 95 percent of the world’s population lives and still they feel they are being impinged on and have the right
to be angry.

From all indicators, the level of crime in America has declined over the past 10 years or so. So why do gun sales keep going through the
roof? Why are more and more people taking their own personal frustrations out on innocent bystanders? In a nation of plenty — where people
overall are living in larger homes than they did 20 years ago and who doesn’t have a cell phone — why do people feel they are so poor and
lacking and work harder to have more and are willing to elbow everyone else out in the competition for resources?

It sometimes feels that we are a nation of individuals out of control. We are driven by our appetites. Drug sales — legal and illegal — are up.
While there are several causes, obesity is up.

Children — and adults — are playing fantasy and video games with increasing frequency. The term “couch potato” takes on new meaning. And
we are getting to the point where we can have everything done for us or to us without leaving our homes. Groceries and prepared meals are
delivered to us along with medicines and paper goods. We are waited on like the Roman aristocracy.

So why are people so unhappy?

If I could answer that question, you would probably be reading it in my New York Times bestselling book. But even though I don’t have any
ready answers, I can’t help but feel that people have lost touch with their moral center and their sense of humanity.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but there is something inside of me that some call common sense and others call a guardian angel, that if I
listen to it, guides my actions. It lets me know the difference between right and wrong.

Now I might not listen to this inner voice, this conscience, but it is there. I might drown it out or learn to ignore it, but there is that innate sense
or center there where we can find a sense of understanding and peace.

We also have a social consciousness, that sense of humanity that binds us all together. But whether it is through the stress placed on
individualism, the glorification of violence or the daily televised examples of everyone doing each other in, we can lose our sense of
And when we lose our inner conscience and our sense of humanity, we can visit all sorts of horror on the world. My son might think I am
being unreal. But I just feel that I am being true to conscience and to a positive view of humanity. That is my reality and I am sticking to it.

Happy Holidays!
A Christmas Story