There are two words that are so powerful that they can change the world! They are love and respect.
I've been talking about these words in this column quite often and you know I lean on respect more because I believe that love without respect can't last. The other night I heard a speaker agreeing with me about these two words. Now I'm a nobody, but when I hear a man of background and authority agreeing with me, I get all excited. What can we do in our homes, our schools and our communities, our society, that can be so contagious that we can make a difference? What's so good about this is that it's not connected with religion and so no one can attack these ideas. When do we start? We can start in our homes with love and manners. We can teach our children to smile and laugh a lot. We can teach them good manners that they can bring to schools. We can ask the teachers to continue with these two characteristics.
I can continue in my columns, and tell John D'Agostino, the OBSERVER publisher, to spread the word in other newspapers and ask for input from other papers. Let's see how many other newspapers we can get to join us. We have families we can get involved from other states. Let's see how many states, people, newspapers, friends and families we can get involved!
This is something I've gotten involved in. I've made up my mind that when I see something attractive about someone I tell them. For example, I notice people's eyes, noses, and teeth. When they catch my eye, I mention one feature or all three. I also love to see good posture. I notice good grammar. Do you notice people who have poor manners and bad grammar? Of course you notice both. They both leave impressions one good the other bad. Here we have the matter of choice. We are so blessed with the privileges of choice.
I called up Dr. Ray Bellioti last night because I have great respect for him! He thought it was good and doable.
He'll work with us. Can I count you in?
The next morning (Tuesday) I read Richard Westlund's column. I always read his column because I can see he's a good person. What was his first paragraph about? His wife of 61 years and the beautiful marriage they have had because of mutual respect they have for each other! Wow! I call this a confirmation that I'm on the right track! Do you have things like this happen to you? Tell me about your experiences.
I'd like to tell you about my friend Rob. One day I was vacuuming my living room. My vacuum started smoking. I quickly pulled the plug. Now what was I going to do? I looked up at the ceiling and asked, "Where are you, Rob, when I need you?"
Just then, there was a knock at the door. I opened it and there stood Rob. I couldn't believe it! He said, "I was just going past the house and I thought, "I think I'll stop by and see if Margaret needs something." He examined the vacuum and said I needed a new belt and I had one. In no time it was fixed!
This is a true story. I have things like this happen to me. It's like magic!
Now I need some magic. I need teachers, P.T.A., organizations, newspapers, magazines, caring people from all over, send your observances to your families out of state to get the message out. We need politicians everyone. Colleges who else?
It's amazing that in Wednesday's paper, Vicki Westling writes, "Isn't it time we stop playing the race card every time it is white on black, and start looking at the way we treat one another in general?"
And in the paragraph before, she asks the question, "Isn't it time we get back to the basics of teaching our children to respect themselves and others?"
There's my word "respect" again. You'd think that Richard Westlund, Vicki Westling and I got together and decided to write on this topic. Is this a coincidence? I don't think so. It's time we started a coordinated program to change bad habits into good habits! I'll help as long as I'm around, but we need younger people to take the leadership! I'm so excited. These are all confirmations that the time is right! Don't be bashful. You don't need diplomas on your walls. All you need is a caring heart. Maybe you're not a leader, but you can be a helper. It's time. We can be better. Let's go for it! This is wonderful. We don't need money. We just need organization and effort. We need volunteers. They do the best work! Let's see what we can come up with. I'm thinking of Cathy Steger's class. I'd like to hear their ideas. I worked with them once before. They were great!
Let's hear from you!
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org