A Matter Of Opinion

THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2008, 10:14 A.M.

Letter: Model what children must learn

I enjoyed Richard Kohles' letter this morning:

What kind of world will we leave our children? Many will say: "inexpensive fuel, low taxes and good-paying jobs." While these are good things, they don't challenge us to evaluate what the next generation really needs from us.

Inexpensive fuel implies there is no need to change ideas about transportation and energy. Walking, bicycle riding and public transportation are generally not viewed as positive means of transportation. Consequently, we aren't teaching our children by example to see them positively. If you doubt that, check out the high school parking lots in September. Speed and convenience have gone from values to dependencies.

Low taxes translate into high consumption. While capitalism provides us with a great economic system when compensating entrepreneurs for filling needs, it can become destructive when it has to create needs. There's a big difference between filling the needs of starving people and our "need" for a McDonald's hamburger.

"Good-paying jobs" begs the question of "job satisfaction." Do we, perhaps, have a large part of an older generation who worked at jobs they didn't like, looking forward to a retirement when they could "do what they wanted"?

What should we be teaching our children? Do we have the wisdom to do it? -- Richard Kohles, Coeur d'Alene

I've also always been a bit skeptical of "do as I say, not as I do." Kids are too smart not to notice when adults "get by" taking less responsibility and making less effort than they admittedly should. They will do as you do, no matter what you say.

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