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