Local issues

Reg Volk is a retired teacher who writes a monthly column on politics and local issues. Email him at regvolk@shaw.ca.

The country singer Jimmie Rodgers had a popular song that went, “Oh to be a child again, oaks from acorns grew,

One and one made two, I believed it all … didn’t you? Ah, the joy of innocent childhood.

In the biblical story of creation, human beings are created from the dust of the earth. Regardless of what you believe, there had to be genetic materials kicking around to put us together. There is no time frame indicated for this.

In the same Book of Genesis, humankind is created after a magnificent Earth is already there. God, in his wisdom, sees that the male of the species is lonely and needs companionship and the female species arrives. She has very similar genetic material. There is no time frame indicated for this either.

Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden in an idyllic paradise. They are innocent of evil, hatred and free from the scourges of humankind.

But, unfortunately, they decided to try something they had been told not to do. You know this part. It was their choice. They ate from the forbidden tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and we got the double whammy! Now, God said, “Fend for yourself.”

As a public school teacher of 35 years, I watched and, hopefully, helped many young people to move along with their lives. I saw many young boys and girls who dealt with genetic, physical challenges. They all wanted just to be treated the same as all human beings. The school system has come a long way in being better at that.

But I also saw children who treated other children in a very mean fashion with cursing, rudeness and belittling others often to tears. I listened to many lectures on the influences of nature vs. nurture. Are human beings totally genetically driven or are they a product of their family/society upbringing? It seems that only a few short years in our time frame, can lead to very negative personality traits.

Recently, in the American news, but some also in Canada, we have seen some horrendous examples of hatred. One of the worst was when an American woman had what seemed to be lighter fluid flung in her face, by four white males, and then was set on fire.

There is no known human gene for hatred. No baby arrives in our world hating.

And yet hatred goes on in many forms. The Ku Klux clan still functions, mainly in the southern states, and hides behind religious beliefs by burning crosses.

No religion should ever tolerate hatred. Yet the president of the United States flippantly stated that some of these white-sheet haters were “fine people."

Haters are not fine people. They are people who have let their family nurture or society influences go wrong, often again and again, to the point that their decades of evil causes much damage to society.

Adolf Hitler hated so much he and his society created the Holocaust and evil concentration camps. And yet millions of people followed along. They made a choice that was blinded by group influence and evil nurture. There was nothing in their genes that made them do this.

As COVID-19 continues to rage in some countries, we must not be blinded by the pressure of economy over health. It is the nurture of a future generation that is at stake.

When human beings work well together, we can accomplish enormous good. By co-operating and using advanced technology, a vaccine will be found. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine against hatred or evil. We must realize that we cannot afford the price of evil if humankind is to survive.

Jimmie Rodgers had another song that was called The Child of Clay. It went "Once he was a child, a beautiful child, a child of clay. Shaped and moulded into what they are today.” And his song ended, “ Tell me who is to blame for this Child of Clay?”

It is you and I and the adult world. We must make the right choices. Keep moulding your

children as best you can in a positive way. If you do not have children ‘adopt’ one that needs help.

Mahatma Gandhi, who never held any political office, once told rioting Hindus and Muslims that they should choose to adopt an abandoned child, and then raise them in the opposite faith. Then they would truly understand each other. Now there is a challenge!

We have a great opportunity for more understanding, more compassion, more kindness, more chances to do good. We must not let hatred and evil overcome.

Reg Volk is a retired educator who writes on local issues in his monthly column. To contact the writer: regvolk@shaw.ca.