Living in a "World Like This"
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
An online note from a parent today has stuck in my head. Here at our school, we have been on “high alert” because of a threat made by someone, somewhere claiming there would be a school shooting in Kentucky yesterday and one in Arkansas today. Some parents have kept their children home from school today because of this threat. We all should have genuine concern and be proactive in the prevention of school shootings. The head football coach at Columbine High School is a friend. He has told me of his experiences from the horrible day on April 20th, 1999. I would like to think the shootings at Columbine and the other schools will never happen again. However, the sad truth is, it is becoming an anytime, anywhere reality. We must do our best to be prepared and ready to do what we can if it happens again.
This particular online note talked about how afraid their child was to attend school and how horrible for their child to live “in a world like this.” There is no denying our world is different since 9-11. Anytime I board a plane, it reminds me we live in a world where someone can disable the pilots and fly a plane into an office building in New York City or the Pentagon in Washington D. C. We never know what the next madman is planning this very second.
As for “living in a world like this”, I couldn’t help but think about the world my grandfather lived in over 100 years ago. He was born in Christian County Missouri in 1896. Around 1907, Homer Jones and his 16 brothers and sisters (two of his siblings died in infancy, two more died before they were 20) hopped into their two covered wagons, left Boone County Arkansas (Harrison, Ark) and moved to southern Oklahoma. Grandad’s dad decided he would rather be a poor dirt farmer in Oklahoma than a poor dirt farmer in Arkansas.
Grandad served in the army during WW I, raised his family during the Great Depression, and took his son to the bus station so he could serve in the army and fight at Okinawa during WW II. Grandad Homer didn’t have an indoor toilet until he was 70 years old. He lived during a time when T.B., polio, smallpox, and many other diseases, we have fairly eradicated in modern day, were a real and present threat. He worked like a dog for his entire life. He lived until he was 86 years old and never had air conditioning. Grandad Homer was what they called a “pumper” for an oil company in the later years of his life. On the side, he farmed and ranched raising some hogs, cattle, and chickens to help feed the family. As he got older, the family begged him to stop working so hard. He was still brush-hogging his 176 acres until he was 84 years old. He told me that during the Great Depression, he worked for the WPA for a dollar a day. I asked Grandad once, “why did you work for a dollar a day?” He just looked at me and said, “I had a wife and two kids, they needed to eat.”
I thought about my Grandad today. He lived during a time of incredible change. He went from two covered wagons in Arkansas to watching a man walk on the moon. He lived through World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. He wasn’t concerned with “living in a world like this.” He just went to work and did the best he could do with the circumstances he faced.
We all know there is really bad stuff in our world. We tell our football team on a regular basis, people or circumstances cannot make you miserable or fearful. You are in control of your attitude. We live in a time of great prosperity and peace. This doesn’t mean our world is perfect or horrible things will not happen. We have to teach our kids how to live with an appreciation of the freedoms and opportunities we have during “our time”. When we look back into the history of the world, I couldn’t pick one period of history in which I would rather be alive than right now.
The former slave, Epictetus, might have said it best. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”