Radio’s Failures

Samsung Galaxy Tab showing its Wikipedia article.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

 

This morning as I sat in my canoe while fishing a nearby lake I placed headphones in my ears and listened to radio stations in Los Angeles, Tampa, Detroit, and Chicago on my Samsung Galaxy Tab with Android operating system. It caused me to think of the industry in which I’ve worked continuously since 1985. It caused me to think of radio’s failures.

For more than sixty years pundits have been predicting the death of radio as an information and entertainment medium. They began with the popularity of television. Predictions that radio was on its way out continued with every new audio technology that was introduced since that time. Time and again the pundits have been wrong. Radio has not only survived but thrived through all technology updates, twists and turns. Radio has also pressed on in spite of a constantly changing and finicky population that in the past sixty years grew increasingly young and now grows increasingly old.

Prior to televisions dominance radio was the medium for entertainment, news, and sports for Americans for more than 30 years.  Westinghouse’s KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania began successful commercial radio broadcasting in November 1920. And while television had many fathers, and many starts dating back to a time around 1908 the start of coast-to-coast network television in the United States didn’t begin until 1951. As late as 1947 there were 40 million radios in the U.S. and only 44,000 televisions (30k in the greater New York area). While only 0.5% of U.S. households had a television set in 1946, 55.7% had one in 1954, and 90% by 1962. And the death of radio was first predicted.

Try as it might though, television couldn’t compete with radio in two critical areas; immediacy and local community service and/or interest. A radio station could adequately serve the needs of small towns with as few as 2-3000 people. Many still do today. And radio could report the news immediately from almost any location in the world, or right down the street. As early as the 1940s all you needed was a telephone line ultimately connecting you to the radio station or radio network in order to transmit your story. The reports from England by

Edward R. Murrow, pioneer in broadcast journalism

Edward R. Murrow, pioneer in broadcast journalism

Edward R. Murrow back to the United States via radio broadcasts during the World War II Battle of Britain were so dramatic Murrow became a star and a hero. Television couldn’t duplicate such transmission capabilities until almost 10 years later when the same Edward R. Murrow in his show See it Now became the first to show a simultaneous broadcast from Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

Radio became a staple in the assembly of automobiles beginning in 1922. According to the book “Chronicle of the American Automobile over 100 Years of Auto History,” it was possible to buy a 1922 Chevrolet with a Westinghouse radio installed. But by the 60s 8-tracks and then by the 70s cassette tape players were introduced and radio’s death knell was sounded again. The tape players were small and convenient enough to fit into cars. So, of course, why would people listen to radio when they could listen to their own selection of audio tapes. Only…they did.

Portable listening devices, like the

Members of the Sony Walkman line of products; ...

Members of the Sony Walkman line of products; photo by Marc Zimmermann

Sony Walkman in the 1980s and the Apple iPod in 2001 were also supposed to provide enough listening choices to the average person that radio would not possibly survive. Only…it did. In fact, in a study published on our company website, Total Broadcasting Service, an October 2011 Arbitron survey indicates that radio is still the dominant device listened to in cars over CD players or any other device.

Sadly though, radio and the Federal Government began the slow burial of my beloved industry in the mid-1980s. Automated equipment made it easy and cheap to run a radio station. So station owners began sacrificing the live real human being radio personalities in favor of pre-recorded, pre-planned formated music stations. I worked for one myself in 1986-1988. I was News Director at KBSN AM/KDRM FM Moses Lake. KBSN was a live, local, full-service radio station with personalities, music, news and sports and it was very successful. KDRM played soft-rock, adult-contemporary music off of huge reel-to-reel tape machines all day and night. The only time the music was interrupted was when pre-recorded commercials played 4 times per hour for 3 minute breaks. Or when my own voice was inserted into one of the commercial breaks with a prerecorded newscast. KDRM was boring to the listener. But because it was so cheap to operate more and more radio station owners put-out a boring product.

By the 90s satellite technology had grown to such a level that radio networks began airing national radio programs at all hours of the day and night all over the country further eroding radio’s other advantage over all other mediums, local-community service and/or representation. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the door for corporate raiders to sweep up radio stations in small towns and large cities. Since 1934 no single entity could own more than one AM radio station, FM station, television station and newspaper in a single media market. After ’96 they could own as many as their bankrolls could allow. While such deregulation was a boon to capitalism and in line with the principle of free-markets, it was a horrible blow to democracy. It eliminated the voice of thousands of small business owners in communities all over our great country and left us with a few selection of flavors for radio listening, and news chosen for us by corporate big wigs thousands of miles away from the listeners they were supposed to be serving.

Not surprisingly the continuing elimination of people from broadcasting erodes the talent pool from which real live honest to goodness radio personalities are selected and groomed. Remember when all radio voices had a vocal quality that was special? Remember the classic full sounding, warm radio voice? Today I hear narrow high treble, low bass voices with little poetic quality. I am horrified to hear a reporter on Seattle’s KOMO AM 1000 with a lisp, a clearly audible lisp. Before the days of political correctness we called it a speak impediment.

Radio Tower Graphic

Radio Tower Graphic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even with the advent of mobile internet technology terrestrial radio (that’s a modern term referring to old-fashioned radio) still possesses the same advantages over television and even the internet that kept it alive through the past sixty years of frontal assault from technology and government. It can still be more immediate and local than any other medium. These are valuable and marketable attributes, but they’re attributes corporate owners no longer recognize and government officials no longer seem to value. Until they do I’m doomed to spend my life growing old listening to audio over the mobile internet from cities far far away on devices that cost me hundreds of dollars, rather than good quality local radio announcers bringing news and sports from my own town on radios, small convenient, quality, inexpensive radios. Radio is free and can be listened to free on comparatively inexpensive devices. Let’s hope as Americans we won’t learn to take it for granted be you a radio station owner or a radio listener.

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Mitt Romney: A Love Story video

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney ...

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A brief story of Mitt Romney by Ann Romney. “If you really want to know how a person will operate. Look at how they’ve lived their life.”- Ann Romney

It’s time that Americans get to know Mitt Romney. Take the time to watch this video. Lets learn who our next President is and decide that he will be our next President.

 

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Pinterest and the Madness that is Social Media

Red Pinterest logo

Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First there was MySpace.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2004 Facebook was created and after a few years went cruising by MySpace like it was standing still. YouTube went online in 2005. And somewhere thereafter came a host of internet social media sites like LinkedIn, Biznik, and Twitter. Internet behemoth Google is trying desperately to make Google + a player. And they have the resources to do so. For now Facebook is the undisputed King of social media; and YouTube the number 1 challenger.

But a new player on the stage has surged past Google +, Twitter and all the others. Since its launch in March 2010 Pinterest has surpassed all but Facebook and YouTube in popularity on the internet. Pinterest is an online bulletin board in which members post pictures and videos of things that interest them. It’s supposed to be a non-business site, so don’t tell them what we’re doing there. And don’t tell what Coca Cola, Starbucks and a countless number of other large and small businesses are doing “pinning” the things that interest them, including coupons, discounts, and other incentives designed to get you to buy their products.

What’s all this mean for the overwhelmed small business owner who can barely comprehend the concept of marketing at all, let alone online or social media marketing? The answer will be different for every person. But if you’re a business owner or a commissioned sales person (in which case you are your own business owner whether you know it or not) it’s not wise to ignore the potential social media and Pinterest in particular may represent.

At this time in my life and for the previous eleven years teenage kids have been part of my life since before there was social media. So I’ve known of the concept of social media for 6-7 years. But I didn’t get started on it officially until May 8, 2008 when I opened an account on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Biznik.com all in the same day. I had attended a seminar at the Master Builders Association offices in Bellevue, WA conducted by two serious networkers I’d come to know. They enlightened me to the necessity for a smart business person, especially one engaged in networking, to be on Facebook and Biznik. Sadly, while they convinced me of the need to be on social media; they didn’t tell me what to do once I got there. So I languished.

My Facebook Timeline clearly confirms what I remember. I made no posts there from May 2008 until October 2008. And then I only made three posts all month. I had almost no Friends. Then one high school friend asked me to be friends, via Facebook notification email. I happily accepted. Within days I had close to 1-hundred friends. Let the posting begin. And did it ever. Very quickly Facebook became a daily must. My wife thought I was nuts. She only joined Facebook in 2010. Now she’s on more than me.

My company Facebook page, Total Broadcasting Service, didn’t come into existence until August 2009 when continuing my networking pursuits through Biznik, mostly, I continued to learn more and more on how to make social media work for my business. When Twitter became all the rage in 2009 and 2010 I resisted. Frankly, I hadn’t seen much direct business coming my way via these venues and was skeptical of Twitter’s capacity to help me grow my business. Finally in March 2010 I joined Twitter and posted on Facebook that I had done so. In the week that followed I’d never had so many visits to my company website. Another class in March 2011 taught me about @ and # on Twitter, and how to connect them all and once again the visits to my website spiked.

twitter logo map 09

Now when I post anything to my company Facebook page it’s instantly re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Biznik, and back on my Facebook personal profile Wall.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

When I Like or Favorite or upload a video on YouTube a link to the video is immediately posted on Twitter and subsequently onto Facebook. Creating the Twitter link to all these sites makes it a lot easier to have each one regularly updated through a single post on a single site. It’s very convenient and very necessary to update your social media in order to maintain and grow your Likes, and Followers and with it your business.

After several years our efforts are starting to pay off for Total Broadcasting Service. We’re received more and more referrals and direct business from social media in the past six months than the rest of these years combined. In our dealings with customers, other business owners, I remain stunned at how few make any effort at all on social media. It’s a mistake they won’t realize fully until the economy gets up to full speed again, and those without a well established presence on the internet will be left in the dust.

Currently Pinterest membership is made up 85% by women. Of those women 77% are between the ages of 25-54. Early indications for business are than Pinterest drives more people to a company’s website than to its Facebook page. When you Pin something to your bulletin board you can attach your website to it. Then, whenever and however many times that Pin is “Re-Pinned” by others your website URL goes with it. Such spiderweb links are precisely what SEO experts will tell you are mandatory to improve your company website’s search engine results.

Pinterest still has some growing to do. You must be invited in order to join. And that can take a few days and there are some whose self-invitations are denied, for reasons that are left unexplained. Pinterest still has no mobile app for anything other than the iPhone. And I gotta tell ya, if you are not a woman…well…lets just say…I don’t get it yet. But….4 years ago I was saying the same thing about Facebook, and 2 years ago I was saying the same thing about Twitter. Maybe your interest will peak faster than mine. Then again, maybe you’re a woman.

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Our Leaders Ought to Sell Christmas Trees

A Christmas Tree at Home

When I was young I learned the basics of economics and selling from dealing Christmas trees. My Dad was a cheap son-of-a-gun and had no desire to give my older brother and I money for buying his Christmas present, or anything else for that matter. He wanted us to earn it. So in addition to the work we did for his business of renting motor homes, during two holiday seasons when my brother and I were both in High School my dad set us up with our own Christmas tree lot.

At the corner of Main Street and 148th, next to the now defunct Shell gas station I learned about the basics of supply and demand and how cash availability would drive up the prices the buyer paid for the trees. The same principles apply to all forms of capitalistic enterprise, in particular health care and a college education. I often wish our nations leaders had run their own Christmas tree lots in their youth so that they could learn what 16-year-old me found very basic.

Winnebago Adventurer photographed in USA.

Winnebago Adventurer photographed in USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Dad rented Winnebago Motor Homes for a living. At any one time in my youth he owned anywhere from six to eleven RV’s. Skier’s in the Winter and campers in the Summer paid for my modest upbringing. My Dad kept the vehicles parked next to the gas station near our home. Since the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was kinda slow for his business and since he already had the lot in which to display the trees he came up with the brilliant idea of selling Christmas trees to earn himself a few bucks and help his teen-aged sons pocket some easy money, while staying busy and out of trouble.

Anyone who has run a retail business knows the process. My Dad would pay wholesale prices for the trees from a grower, and pay to have them delivered to the Bellevue location. Using 2-by-4’s, nails, and a hammer my brother and I set up easy to construct stands in which to lean the trees. One of the larger Winnebago’s was parked beside the designated space in the Kmart parking lot beside the aforementioned gas station. There my brother and I would report after school, eat our snacks, do our homework, and watch whatever tv we could pick up with rabbit ears on a small black-and-white tv we had. We were set up for business.

We were cozy and warm inside the motor home until a family pulled up outside and got out of their cars to peruse our selection of trees. Each tree had a colored ribbon tied to it so, though our customers didn’t know, we would know how much we paid for it. My memory is foggy from over thirty years passing but my best guess is that the smaller yellow ribbons meant my Dad paid $5 for the tree, Red- $10, Blue- $15. My Dad told us he would take $10 for every tree we sold. But anything above the whole price-plus-$10 was ours to keep. Strictly cash transactions. There were no debit cards back then, or mobile electronic credit card processing. Put simply, my brother and I could charge customers any price we felt we could get away with.

Needless to say the same tree could go for $40 to one family or $100 to another. We learned to pay attention to what size and kind of vehicle a family drove as they climbed out to see the trees. A nicer car or a truck meant these people would pay more. My brother and I practically fought our way to be first out the door when a family with young kids walked onto the lot. It was those little tikes who happily screeched at their Daddy , “Oooo Daddy that’s the perfect tree can we get that one. Can we PUHLEEEEZZZ get THAT one?”, who unknowingly drove up the price of the tree. My brother was ruthless. He had no problem telling the haggard Dad that one of the $15 trees was $125. I could seldom muster the nerve to ask for $80. And if anyone hesitated on paying what we were asking, we simply offered to give them a “special” deal, and lowered the price $20 “because you look like such a nice family”. Once again, big brother remained much more rigid in his pricing than did I. He would only lower his price when the family had left the lot and was packing into their car. Selling the trees was easy. In fact, there was no “selling” involved. The only question was how much they’d pay. And if they had the money, and we could see that, they always paid extra.

An article in today’s Seattle Times Newspaper reported the fact that 1-in-2 college graduates faced unemployment when getting out of school this year. It raised in my mind the question, just how worth it is a college education anymore. The average cost of a four-year degree at a public university is now about $35-thousand; for a private university it’s almost $120-thousand. And NOBODY gets a bachelor’s degree in four years anymore. The cost of a college education has climbed 600-percent since 1980. To determine the reason for the massive increase in college costs one need look no further than our Federal Governments constantly supplying universities with an unending, unquestioning source of revenue. Our spend-happy Washington DCers have increased funding for  higher education assistance 141% since 1991. It’s like all the colleges are Christmas tree lots and our Government Representatives are parents with screaming kids who don’t know how to say, “NO”.

Health care has been similarly effected. Who truly pays health care bills? Most are paid by our Federal Government piggy bank. The rest is picked up by large, rich insurance companies or equally large and powerful corporations. Doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms and other health care providers are standing in the lot holding up the big tree with the blue ribbon on it smiling broadly. This tree will sell, and their will be a large profit. The only question is, “how large?”.

The hardest sale my brother and I ever had to make was the guy who tromped into our tree lot with no wife and no kids and interested in nothing more than getting the tree and going on with his day. Usually this guy had a station wagon, that was probably missing a hub-cap. When confronting us he’d ask “How much?” and no matter what we said, it was too much. He’d offer less and we’d happily accept.

Were the giant feeding troughs of government funds removed from the college revenue and health care equation these behemoths would be forced to deal with that one guy (or gal) who ultimately will pay the bill for the services provided. The one guy buying the Christmas tree isn’t swayed by emotional pleas that “we’ve got to have it”. And the tree seller can see the guy doesn’t have much money to begin with. So he’ll offer it for less and accept far less. He would have to, or he wouldn’t sell the tree and he’d eat the $15.

Obamacare, promising health care coverage for all Americans, was  passed two years ago. It’s laws not completely going into effect until 2114. And still, we’ve seen the cost of health care continuing to climb. The President has made a lot of news this Spring berating colleges about increased tuition costs. But colleges continue to raise fees. THIS Christmas tree salesman knows why. It’s basic.

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Seattle Mariners: No Hit.

Safeco Field in Seattle.

Safeco Field in Seattle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the 21st time in the 120 years of Major League Baseball history a pitcher threw a perfect game Saturday in Seattle at Safeco Field. Chicago White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber (pronounced um-ber) threw only 96 pitches to go through the 27 outs without allowing a single runner on base necessary to record a nine inning perfect pitching performance. It’s instructive to note who it is that did the pitching, and who this amazing feat was accomplished against. In summary it marked the death of my optimism for an interesting season of growth for my home town Mariners who I no longer feel are “up-and-coming”.

Humber should be lavishly praised for inserting his name into the same pantheon of pitchers to record such a day’s performance. Most of the 21 perfect games were accomplished by pitchers of significant career achievement. The list includes John Montgomery Ward, Cy Young, Don Larson, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Dennis Martinez, Kenny Rogers, David Cone, David Wells, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson.  All Hall of Famers or NEAR-Hall of Famers. Humber is 29 years old and has an 11-10 career record. And while he may yet develop into an All-Star caliber pitcher he is already past the age when most pitchers establish the arc of their careers. And his arc is decidedly mediocre at best.

The Mariners who ignominiously inserted themselves into the loser side of this historic story included not one hitter with a batting average above the pedestrian level of .275.

Miguel Olivo

The nine man lineup included two, Miguel Olivo and Japanese Rookie Munenori Kawasaki, hitting well , well, well below the long-established “Mendoza Line” for offensive futility. And first baseman Justin Smoak at .203 and Michael Saunders at .209 are just above the .200 level Hall of Famer George Brett named for the former Mariner shortstop Mario Mendoza 30 years ago. To say the Mariner lineup was and is weak is equivalent to saying Tom Brady is a good quarterback. It’s an obvious understatement.

Three months ago after the Mariner’s failed to sign Prince Fielder and instead traded for catcher Jesus Montero to bulk up their impotent offense I wrote of my optimism for an interesting season. A season that wouldn’t rise to the level of the Mariners being a playoff contender but would feature a lot of up-and-coming young stars who would forge a better season than either of the past two years and establish a strong foundation for winning seasons in the near future. But what has Manager Eric Wedge done since then? He inserted Chone Figgins into the lead-off spot in the lineup where he is currently hitting .226 after slapping a measly .180 last season. He has continued to use Olivo as his primary catcher though Olivo is only a .241 career hitter who hit only .224 last season and led MLB in pass-balls. This in spite of the Mariner’s acquiring not only the 23-year-old Montero but also veteran catcher John Jaso. Jaso started over 130 games for the playoff contending Tampa Rays over the past two years and in limited duty has been among the Mariner leaders this season in RBI and batting average.

Michael Saunders

Michael Saunders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fact that Michael Saunders in flounder in replacing the injured Franklin Gutierrez is no surprise. I question why he was on the roster at the start of Spring Training to begin with. This is Saunders 4th season with Seattle. He hit .149 in 2011 and a career best .221 way back in 2009. While Saunders continues to flail Casper Wells sits on the bench, presumably counting empty seats at Safeco Field. Wells is only 27 years old and has a career .264 batting average in just two Major League seasons. And he also plays above average defense.

I strongly suspect Wedge is getting strong encouragement from Mariner General Manager Jack Zduriencik to play Figgins, Saunders and Olivo in a desperate hope of letting these players revive or kick-start their careers or in order to justify Z-Man’s decision to acquire these flops. What other explanation could there be? To continue to play players with a long history of poor performance over other young players with a history of far superior performance doesn’t make sense.

Furthermore, to allow 1/3 of your lineup to be devoted to last-chance reclamation projects that appear to be failing while other parts of your lineup also continue to under perform is criminal. Smoak has started the year worse than the .234 season he posted during an injury filled 2011 campaign. 38-year-old Ichiro is hitting only .266 and showing that last seasons fall to .272 was not an anomaly, but a trend. Starting short-stop Brendan Ryan pinch-hit as the final out in yesterday’s historic game. He was being given the day off to contemplate his .200 batting average and erratic defense. And youngsters Montero and 2nd baseman Dustin Ackley  still show promise, but have started the season slowly.

All these players are hurt by two-thirds of the Mariners projected starting outfield being on the disabled list.

Mike Carp

Mike Carp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike Carp injured his shoulder in the opening game of the year. And Gutierrez injured a pectoral muscle in Spring Training. Carp has begun a re-hab assignment in Tacoma. Gutierrez has not started any re-hab and the time of his return is uncertain, though easily weeks away. Nonetheless, neither Carp nor Gutierrez were sure bets to be strong performers this year. In their careers both have longer stretches of poor-to-mediocre play than good-to-great performing.

It’s time to start wondering whether Zderiencik’s plan is working. Seattle baseball fans haven’t seen playoff baseball in 11 years, and won’t see it this season. But after two seasons of historically weak offense little has been done to make the team more capable of scoring runs. I had put my faith in the fact that Zderiencik and Wedge knew more than I did and the younger players and weak performing veterans would HAVE TO do better this year than last. Here’s the crux of this blog. I can be wrong, and few people care. After more than a decade of mostly bad baseball Zderiencik and Wedge can’t be. Certainly not when their “Plan” involves a slow, patient re-building that isn’t working.

Perfect pitching performance? Sure. Congrats Phillip Humber. Pathetic sub-Major League caliber offense? Definitely!

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The American Revolution vs. The French Revolution

Emanuel Leutze's depiction of Washington's att...

To determine what’s best for our society’s future one need only look into our nation’s and our world’s past to learn what our ancestors did. From them we can learn how to go forward because we can see where they failed and where they succeeded.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

In this new video from Bill Whittle he takes a look at the American and the French Revolutions and the results of both 18th Century conflicts.

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Kids Should be More Afraid of Their Parents than Police

I was watching some classic Richard Pryor last Friday night, Richard Pryor Live in Concert, when he started talking about kids.

In the segment above you see him portraying a little kid so afraid of getting in trouble with his parents that he lies to them.

In this brief segment, he talks about his parenting philosophy:

It was then that it occurred to me that Richard Pryor was wrong and his parents were right. Kids have lost their fear of their parents in this day and age. And it means kids have lost their respect for their parents too often as well.

For the record, I am not advocating BEATING your kids. On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with a spanking when appropriate and not done in anger. No parent should ever punish their child in anger. My Dad use to punish me in anger all the time and nearly 40 years later I still resent it. And if other kids are like I was, I often didn’t understand why I was being punished or why I was being punished so severely.

But on the few run-ins with law enforcement I had in my youth I can tell you I was more concerned with what my Dad would do and think than I was concerned with police or courtrooms or jail. They couldn’t hold a candle to my fear of what would happen at home.

My father never beat me. Richard Pryor talked about his Mama “kicking his ass”, but my guess is “kicking his ass” amounted to a switch across his backside. When I was little my brother and I got a wooden kitchen spoon across our bottoms when being disciplined. I did not want that! Thinking about it now and I can’t imagine such a device cause me any pain. But at the time, that spoon was terrifying.

And even the spoon was retired by the time I was 12 years old. By that age I was already taller than my Dad, so him getting physical with me was pretty limited. By age 16 it was non-existent. But that didn’t change my fear of him. Getting in trouble with my Dad was just about the worst thing I could do. Trouble with teachers, coaches and even police paled in comparison. And as it turned out, I grew into being a fairly successful man (I actually consider myself very successful because of the people in my life).

Being fearful of your parents does not mean you don’t love them and respect them. If you are a believer in The Bible numerous passages tell us to fear God. Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.” Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.” But numerous Biblical directives tell us to love God. Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And, obviously there are numerous others. A kids feelings toward their parents can and should be the same balance between fear and love.

Do parents fear disciplining their kids because their kids won’t like them? On the subject of discipline kidshealth.org writes: “If parents don’t stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren’t likely to either.”

As teenagers we all tried to get away with as much as we could with our parents. But the extent of what kids now get away seems to be far beyond what it use to be. Drug and alcohol use is up compared to 20 years ago. Teen birth rates climbed tremendously from 1940 to a peak in 1994 of 45.8 births per 1000 teens. It’s decline since then coincides directly with increased abstinence education; showing that teaching kids what they don’t want to hear actually works. Yet births to unwed mothers, many teenagers, has reached record levels.

On the positive side high school dropout rates have declined over the long-term. And teen criminal activity has also declined, at best, or remained static at worst. It depends on what you read.

I’ll be curious what statistics show about the past 3-5 years when such information is more readily available. Bad economic times can translate into bad social behavior. Whether that remains true, time will tell.

If you thought this blog was going to be about how bad things are compared with “the good ol’ days”, I’m sorry to disappoint. Education has gone a long way to overcome a lot of what ails individuals in society. But most of that education comes from better educated parents, and much of that education comes from good, loving parents unafraid to put the fear of God into their kids.

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