The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

October 30, 2013

Primus Mootry: Learning to cope in a changing world

I have written on this subject before. It’s about “the good ol’ days,” however we may define them in our personal lives. In this time of great social, political and economic uncertainty, it seems we yearn for a time when life seemed simpler, quieter, and a lot more predictable.

In many ways, modern life appears overwhelming. Good news is rare as hen’s teeth. You can’t drink the air, and you can’t breathe the water. I remember the days when Mom would make delicious “ice cream” from new fallen snow. Not today!

Back then, kids would go out on Halloween, dressed in homemade or store-bought costumes, and wander from house to house for candy or other treats. I remember what a fun time it was for my sisters and me. The thought of danger never entered our minds. After all, we were in our own neighborhood and, for the most part, the neighborhood felt safe.

Not today. If children do go out on Halloween, they go with their parents or some other adult. Anything given to them as a treat is suspect. In fact, nowadays the trend is for children to go to Halloween parties, not wander from house to house. Whether they are friendly or not, it seems that neighbors can no longer be trusted.

Those were the days when neighborhood folk looked out for one another. Rich or poor, it didn’t matter. The pillars of the thing called “community” were the same three institutions: home, school and church. These three institutions worked together out of common concerns, chief among them the safety and protection of neighborhood children.

Nowadays, these pillars have changed. Some say they have been shattered. Of the two possibilities, however, I believe change is the more accurate. The whole world is caught in a sea change, and it is change that works itself right down to society’s most basic institutions, into our neighborhoods, and into our individual lives.

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