Strong Values Strengthen a Community

Gary WolskyBy Gary Wolsky, President/CEO
The Village Family Service Center
In May, a very quiet but remarkable thing happened in Fargo that, once again, sets us apart in a very positive way from a plague of disrespect that seems to be infecting our country. It was a simple basketball game, a pick-up game by a group of folks at Island Park and a group of Fargo policemen on bikes. The policemen were on a training effort that was canceled because of construction. So they rolled their bikes into the basketball courts and, with bulletproof vests on and pistols strapped to their hips, they challenged the players and began to have some great fun.

Although there was a good bit of apparent nervousness at the start of the game, it was only a short time before a certain amount of comradery, along with a healthy sense of competition, worked its magic (the officers won 7-5). We can assume they parted company with some of their existing stereotypes having been challenged and perhaps a new sense of respect on both sides—the guys in blue and the guys in shorts and tennis shoes.

Compare this to the recent sad, gruesome, and totally indefensible events in Ferguson, Mo., New York City, and elsewhere, where the behaviors of all concerned—including the media and our President—have often grossly distorted the behavior on the street and the role and function of our police departments, who have been cast as villains.

We live in a bizarre time when, sometimes, up is portrayed as down and left is portrayed as right. We allow this to happen at our peril. The number of violent incidents seems to be increasing in many areas. This, I believe, is partially due to our addiction to political correctness and the disrespect being showed for authority.

I have long said our corner of the world is an island of relative calm. It isn’t that we don’t have problems, but the values we have been teaching our children for generations continue to have merit. To the extent that we adhere to the values that are evidenced all around us—from the granite Ten Commandments monument in our courtyards, to the sermons, to the Bible school and catechism teachings—our health as a community will continue to be fine.

If we stray from these time-tested values, we do so at great risk. We’ll know this happens when we begin to look like Ferguson, New York City, or south Chicago.

The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of The Village Family Service Center CEO. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, staff, or boards of directors.

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