By Ray Peterson
Dear Editor: Like many, I’m concerned as I read about the referee and umpire shortages for our children’s recreational activities as fewer folks are unwilling to put themselves at risk of losing business, jobs, friends, and reputation.
I’m amazed at the infighting of political parties; finger pointing and blame that seems at an all-time high.
I’m sickened by the news of another school shooting, and the short-sighted reactions and the political jockeying in trying to find solutions but only punishing those that were trying to respond.
It seems that society has some how forgotten some guiding principals that have always served me well in my life.
In reviewing the short book of Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior by George Washington, I read some great reminders for each of us.
“Rule #1, Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present. Rule #39, In writing or speaking, give every person his due title according to his degree & the custom of the place. Rule #40, Strive not with your superiors in argument but always submit your judgement to others with modesty. Rule #45, Being to advise or reprehend anyone, consider whether it ought to be in public or private, presently or at some other time, in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no sign of cholar, but do it with all sweetness and mildness.”
For me, when I read the Declaration of Independence and it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” It reminds me that all of us are indeed equal. Therefore, I respect another’s opinion and will listen with respect.
I may disagree and share my thoughts but at the end of the discussion, my hope is that we remain friends and equals.
As Americans and fellow citizens, we all need to be better at civil behavior. We need to be reminded and put into practice civility in our treatment of all others.
That it is okay to disagree and remain friends, teammates, co-workers, and fellow public servants. What good does it do to berate a fellow worker, friend or even an enemy?
We all need to be continually reminded that our perspective of what matters and what does not, needs to be clear in our minds.
If I let my emotions get the best of me to the point of being ejected from a ball game because I yelled profanities at the referee or opposing fans or players, what does that say about my character? Am I that shallow?
To me, it means that a very basic concept has been lost in a person and is put on display by their poor behavior. Respect for others is lost. With that, comes the loss of love and concern for others as well as politeness to others.
We become hardened, negative, easily agitated and ready to fight, ugly people that no one really likes to be around.
Some of us discover our lost ways and strive to improve while others become worse in their behavior until they resort to broken laws or hurting others to the point of incarceration. Selfishness is what it seems to boil down to. Pride, and arrogance are attributes of a selfish individual who has lost the common decency to, at the very least respect another.
I mention my concerns as I grow tired of the insults being thrown at each other or at the other party or opposing team. We all need to be better by remembering what is important and what is not. It is important to be respectful of others. I still try to live to the ideals of a good Boy Scout.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
It seems that we’ve lost our way, but I remain hopeful that we will find our way again and will change our course as a society, by being better parents, teachers, and leaders as we train up our young people by using these lessons of civility.
Family, home, school, church, and workplace are all places where we learn and practice these qualities and behaviors. We all need to strengthen these efforts and use these places for correct learning. I still have hope that we will reverse the current trend and that we will find our way.
I could sit back and enjoy life as I approach my later years, but I hope to assist this change in the direction I’ve mentioned.
By example, leadership abilities, love, and kindness and with the respect for others that I have, I hope to be a part of this effort as we reverse our present course and remember what makes this state the best place to live and raise a family.
Ray Peterson, Former State Senator
Candidate for Wyoming Senate Dist. 19