The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint -

There have been a lot of ter­ri­ble events in the news lately in­volv­ing young peo­ple. When one of these tragedies oc­curs, we im­me­di­ately start to look for the rea­sons. Most fre­quently, peo­ple say it was the school sys­tem that failed these teenagers. Oth­ers say it was a lack of jobs. Some blame poor par­ent­ing. While all of these are fac­tors that con­trib­ute to one’s be­hav­ior, there is one as­pect of life that we tend to over­look: the power of per­sonal choice.

While our lives are in­flu­enced in many ways, we must re­mem­ber that suc­cess in life depends pri­mar­ily on in­di­vid­ual choices, the ef­fort we make to im­ple­ment those choices, and a will­ing­ness to think in­de­pen­dently as we work to be­come the per­son we were “in­tended” to be. What­ever our life’s cir­cum­stances, we have been cre­ated as unique in­di­vid­u­als, and it is only by us­ing our hearts and our heads to make mean­ing­ful choices do we ul­ti­mately achieve im­por­tant and help­ful things with our lives.

We have been given a life, but how we choose to live it is up to us. Al­most ev­ery­one has chal­lenges in life, even rea­sons why we shouldn’t be suc­cess­ful. But those who make some­thing worth­while of their lives are those who make good choices — but some­times very dif­fi­cult ones — to de­velop their lives in good and pos­i­tive ways — at some point, hope­fully be­com­ing the per­son God in­tended them to be.

We need to teach our youth that fam­ily, clothes, money and looks will have lit­tle to do with their ul­ti­mate suc­cess in life. That their suc­cess will de­pend al­most solely on the qual­ity of the choices they make. Maybe we should add a course to read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic ti­tled The Im­por­tance of Choices. And maybe some par­ents should at­tend too.

Michael Nel­son, Mem­phis

A plea for ci­vil­ity

This is a plea for ci­vil­ity and for all rea­son­able peo­ple to rise up in these di­vi­sive times. I know we have been a di­vided coun­try for many years now, but never like this.

With Pres­i­dents Rea­gan and Clin­ton and Bush and Obama, we have dis­agreed about poli­cies, but we tried to be civil in our pub­lic dis­course and we al­ways tried to see the good in the other. Those for­mer pres­i­dents, how­ever, never mocked a per­son’s char­ac­ter for their own ego or their own po­lit­i­cal gain. They never vil­i­fied their op­po­nents.

Who­ever you are, Repub­li­can or Demo­crat or in­de­pen­dent, it’s time to stop this mad­ness. So this is a plea to all peo­ple of faith or no faith and all rea­son­able peo­ple. We need a re­turn to ci­vil­ity, to the golden rule and to em­pa­thy.

Mathew Bowles, Mem­phis

My fa­ther’s fi­nal words

My fa­ther was an avid reader of The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal. His last let­ter to the ed­i­tor ap­peared in the pa­per July 6 and was ti­tled “Go Tigers Go.” His last words to his fam­ily came in an email on Sun­day, Sept. 23. He passed away a few hours later. I would be hon­ored, with the hol­i­days quickly ap­proach­ing, if you would please print his fi­nal words, to re­mind ev­ery­one how im­por­tant it is to spend pre­cious mo­ments in time with their fam­ily. Lau­rie War­ring­ton, Milling­ton “Pa­paw Sez” We Should All Re­mem­ber That Eter­nal Time is In­fi­nite, But Our Mor­tal Time Is Fi­nite, and Pre­cious.

As Such, Our De­ci­sion As To How We Spend Our Re­main­ing Days On Earth

Be­comes A Mat­ter Of Pri­or­ity, And We Should Al­lo­cate Them Ac­cord­ingly.

All Too Of­ten, We Al­low Out­side Me­nial Ac­tiv­i­ties To Mit­i­gate The Things

That Are Ac­tu­ally More Im­per­a­tive In Life. So, Let’s All Get To­gether

More fre­quently, Or Sim­ply Call When We Can, And Set Aside Those Re­ally

Unim­por­tant Things That Con­sume So Much Of Our Daily Lives. We Love You

All, Now And For­ever. Ma­maw And Pa­paw Hays. :-)

Bill Hays, Ar­ling­ton

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