Out with the old and in with the new

The year in review we are seeing it everywhere we look and headlining all printed material. But what will 2012 be remembered for, really? Will it be the results of the election that was won by President Obama who ran on the promise of no tax increase for the middle class, or Mitt Romney’s loss due to his 47 percent gaffe? How about the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare, that gives added health care benefits to most but at a greater cost than expected? Or will it be remembered for the violent murder of 20 innocent school children in Newtown, Conn., giving rise to another public outcry for a revision to the current gun control laws? Maybe there will be remembrances of the Arab Spring, the deplorable massacre of thousands of innocent Syrians, or the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other innocent patriots? And, let’s not forget the ‘fiscal cliff’ or debt ceiling debates. Wasn’t there any good news in 2012 that will help us to be better individuals where we can live in a bi-partisan country with our elected officials acting like grown ups rather than bickering children? Will this year be very different from the past year?

If 2013 is to be better than 2012 it is up to you and me. It is up to each and every one of us to think about where we are today as a nation. What are we teaching our children at home? What are we bringing into our lives when we allow our brains to be occupied with violent movies and songs? Does it make murder and mayhem less real because we have become so desensitized to death and violence? When we watch movies in which people are gunned down, dead bodies rise from graves and stalk the living, airplanes crash into buildings, and blood and guts are spewed across the television and movie screens without impunity how are we, and our children, being affected? We buy video games and let our adolescent children play them for hours its fun for them; they are entertained and out of our hair so to speak. Whatever happened to playing outside, building snow forts, climbing trees, collecting shells on the beach or just playing in the parks? What has happened to sitting down at a kitchen or dining room table and eating dinner together as a family? What has happened to saying grace before we begin to pass the potatoes? What is wrong with ‘Leave it to Beaver’ or ‘Andy Griffith and Barney Fife in Mayberry’? Have we become so involved with social media that we have lost track of the goodness and the simplicity of wholesome communication?

I recently read the list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions; the last resolution on the list was to “become more spiritual”. How very sad. With all that has happened over this past year, shouldn’t becoming more spiritual be a little higher on the list? How close to the edge must we live in order to feel anything anymore? When is the roller coaster going fast enough? Do we really need to experience death-defying acts in order to be satisfied and have our needs for more thrilling or exhilarating stunts quenched? Is it really better to put the kids upstairs in their rooms with an electronic device to keep them company than have them play outside or have a conversation with us? If we keep the guns out of their minds, maybe we will be able to keep them out of their hands just a thought. We need to take control.

How about if we stop buying or paying to watch the violent movies and video games? How about if we let our television and radio station executives know that we want more family-friendly movies and music? How about if we stop throwing the “F” bomb around and don’t download music that speaks of rape and violence against women? How about if we support Paul Christopher’s idea of a gun buyback? Which, by the way, if Paul starts a petition my husband Richard says he will be the first to sign it. We need to make a difference in what our children, as well as ourselves, see and do.

The recent Sandy Hook School killings, the dysfunctional Congress, the horrible rapes and murders that are taking place in the Middle East, the crimes of hate and the children left to suffer alone up in their rooms with no one to talk to but their social media friends might go away in 2013 if each of us decide to move morality and spiritualism a little closer to the top of our list.

The year in review 2012 was a year many of us would like to start over so that we could make some positive changes, but it is too late for that but it isn’t too late for 2013 it is just beginning. Let’s make this year a better year for our children, our brothers and sisters, our parents, our neighbors and our country.

In 2013 I resolve to hold my family members closer than ever before and to do all that I can to make a positive difference in this all too fast moving world in which I live.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident and author. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com