A little transparency goes a long way

Gone are the days when I could walk into any official or department head’s office, sit down and ask whatever questions I needed to ask and get answers with no ifs, ands or buts. I’ve always been trusted to be fair and have had city and county officials tell me they didn’t really trust anyone else but me. When I made mistakes I owned up to them and did the best to rectify them.
Enter the age of media bashing and it doesn’t matter how long someone has known you, now all they want to do is complain and not get the truth of the matter to the public. It was called transparency back then and until recently I didn’t realize I should have appreciated those days a lot more.
I have a job to do and despite popular opinion, I do not like all the negativity and I hate it when something has to be exposed. But the public has a right to know how their tax monies are being spent and when people are misusing their power and the money entrusted to them by the people.
You would not believe some of the things we are told by people. Used to be even officials would tell us things, but that too has gone by the wayside. Not because we ever abused it, or published something we were asked not to, but it’s just the way of the world these days.
Now days, if you want to know something, you have to send an official open records request and you had better be specific for heaven forbid they should give you the whole story unless you ask for it. When responding they also quote you back the open records law number which applies to your request.
What is really funny to me is that many of the entities think they are protecting their community’s reputation by not letting anything negative get published unless it’s discovered by a newspaper. Nothing could be further from the truth and if you ask the average citizen, you will get an earful about what they do think about the city or county government.
I have always said it was always better for an entity to be transparent and put the truth out there. People will always forgive you if you are truthful, but when you try to hide something and then it is discovered, they never forget it.
People tend to forget that this is our job, but that we are also people as well. Journalists many people think, seem to have a lot of friends. It may seem that way on the surface but that’s not the truth. There are some “friends” who call themselves that because they want to be on the inside in case their name or someone kin to them is  going to have their name end up in the police report. Or they want you to tell them things so they can go out and spread it as if that makes them important.
We have a rule in my office, anything said inside here is confidential and we do not talk to anyone about it before a news story comes out. Sometimes a story can’t be written because we can’t get to the bottom of it, or we can’t prove any allegations that were made and the information dies with the story. Also, someone’s personal life is none of our business and we do not write stories about who is sleeping with who even if they are city officials or department heads, even if there are pictures to prove it. If they get caught for prostitution, trafficking or pornography, now that is a completely different story.
If I were younger and just starting out as a journalist, I think I would seek another career. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and enjoy it most days. It has just become a lot harder to get the information you need for stories and many public officials are a lot harder to work with than it used to be. Sounds crazy in this day of social media and technology the way it is, but it’s the truth. That’s because officials do not want you to have the information. Transparency to some, is just a word they never use.
I have to say that Peach County government and Crawford County is awesome in that regard. We always get what we need and everyone is forthcoming. So is Roberta, but as you know that has not always been the case. Wish that was the case with them all, but sadly it’s not. Guess that’s not too bad considering we cover about eight different government meetings a month, sometimes more.
One person on a city council, even told another council person, not to talk with the newspaper people unless they discussed it with council. Really? Let’s just say that definitely throws up a red flag for me and I truly question the credibility of such a person. Council people are elected by the people and therefore have a right to talk to us if we question them. I have been told this council person also gets grief every time something comes out because they are sure they are in cahoots with us and that we see each other all the time to share information.
How hilarious that is to me and it’s certainly not the truth. Most things we know about come from the public who overheard it from an employee inside the entity, which makes that even more ironic to me.
When elected officials and employees are more concerned about protecting an entity’s image than truth and illegal actions, that itself is a problem. It is also a problem when they don’t give enough respect to those who serve on the same board or council with them.
Unfortunately, that’s the way the world rolls these days. Doesn’t mean it’s the right way though.©2018
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.

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Community loses champion

The people’s representative. That’s what I always thought about Robert Ray when he served as a state representative. He cared about the people and he tried to do all that he could for his district. I would call him a champion for the community.
I met him of course, through my affiliation with a newspaper. He would frequently bring us peaches and pecans just to let us know he appreciated us. That’s what he always said when dropping that season’s offering at the office. I liked him the first time I ever met him as he was very warm and friendly; of course the peaches didn’t hurt either! As I got to know him a little better, I found him to be genuine, the real thing. So rare these days.
He was probably the first Democrat I ever voted for in an election. He was a good man who will be missed by not only family and friends but the entire communities he ever served.
When he left office, he had already convinced his replacement, the late Tony Sellier to run and that too was definitely the right choice. In a serious discussion once, though he told me the real reason he had decided to get out of politics.
For one, it had become too political. It was not easy to get anything done for the district without giving up pieces of your soul and having to make concessions here and there. That takes its toll on an honest and good man. When it got to the point, he just didn’t want to deal with all of that political insanity anymore, he decided it was time to get back to doing more farming.
I appreciated his candor and totally understood. It’s something I definitely would have a hard time with as well. Political games are not my thing. I admired him for that stance as well. It had gotten to the point you had to give up five or six things to others to even get one and it was just not worth it anymore.
A testimony to how much he was loved was the number of people in attendance at visitation and the funeral. I had the notion of getting there early and apparently everyone else did as well. Sadly, you see a lot of people that you only see at funerals. Joe Collins and I talked about this at the visitation but could not come up with a solution as to not let that be case. We are all so busy.
The accolades awarded to Robert are way too many to list but last year he was presented with the Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
He and his wife, Jennifer, still lived on the farm he grew up on. Robert continued to farm that land. He was just 12 years old when his dad gave him two acres of land and helped him plant and take care of it. It taught him responsibility for the crops. He served on many boards including being president of the Crawford County Farm Bureau at the age of 19.
His first dive into politics was getting elected as a county commissioner at the age of 22. He served for eight years and went on to be elected to the school board for two terms and finally the Georgia House of Representatives where he served for 24 years. He served Crawford but also parts of Peach, Monroe, Upson, Bibb and Lamar counties. That first time he ran, he said he knocked on every door in the county.
During those 24 years, he did a lot of good including building a high school, the community college, getting grants for Roberta to address water issues, and as he once said, “paved a lot of roads”. He was also successful in getting the phone companies to eliminate long distance fees within counties. He championed the farmers and fought for their interests.
He loved Crawford County and even though he had stepped down as a representative, continued to do what he could for the communities he served as well as the people he knew. When things got accomplished here, Robert always said he felt good.
At the visitation, there were some of his sayings posted on the screen, along with photos. It was a beautiful tribute. I especially agree with the one that chocolate goes with everything.
Of his farming, he said he felt a little bit like he was always on vacation. Because peaches are so labor intensive, he mostly farmed pecans on the close to 3500 acres he owned. He was a fourth generation farmer.
One story I remember him telling was the decision he had in whether to buy a car or a tractor at the age of 16. He had saved $1500 for the purchase. $1200 short for the tractor, he asked the bank to loan him the money so he could buy the tractor. He never looked back and always said that was the better purchase.
Robert, just genuinely loved people and though he has entered his heavenly home, the home he left on earth will seem more vacant without his warm smile and enthusiasm. People like Robert leave their footprints in the communities where they live and serve and he certainly did that.
Please remember Jennifer and the rest of the family in these days ahead and offer up prayers for them. It is an especially tough road you tread after the loss of a spouse and father.©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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Sales taxes vs. property taxes

There is so much misinformation going around about T-SPLOST and E-SPLOST. Some of it is almost laughable, if it weren’t such a serious subject.
People these days just spout off about everything without knowing the facts. Then someone else jumps on the bandwagon because they think that person knows the scoop. Geeze! It’s a never-ending saga.
I’m proud of myself that I’ve pretty much learned not to respond to anyone about anything, no matter how ridiculous what was stated really is. It’s not worth the ensuing drama and some people really just don’t want to hear the truth. That’s okay with me, let them stay in their own lane and I’ll stay in mine.
Turn out for the meet and greet for candidates and information on E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST was low. Nothing unusual since it’s a primary and people don’t pay as much attention to it as they should.
I early voted last week. While standing outside talking to Kristi, a lady came up and wanted to know what they were voting on! We explained to her. She did not know there was an election for Governor, etc. this year. Then a man came up and wanted to know the same thing. Okay, people why aren’t you staying informed?
I do kind of understand. Maybe they don’t want to watch the news, any news, but you have to keep yourself informed. If those people had a subscription to our newspaper, they would have been informed if they read it. We have had information on the election, even early voting and the E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST. Not biased information, just the facts.
I have studied both E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST, even though I can’t vote on E-SPLOST in Crawford County. In listening to Supt. Brent Lowe and talking with others, I would vote for it if I could. It is only a continuation and Crawford County needs a new high school.

I followed T-SPLOST since 2010 and through the passage in some districts and not in central Georgia. That first year, I was not as well informed and quite frankly I didn’t vote for it. Wasn’t sure it was such a good thing and felt it would only benefit DOT. This year, at first, I was totally against it, but then did the research and talked with and listened to people in the know who were passionate about the outcome and got facts from people who were neither for or against.
Now that I’ve researched it and have more facts and have looked into how those districts which did pass it, have fared, I believe it to be a good thing. No one likes a new tax. But a sales tax is a way for everyone who buys anything in the county to help pay for things in the county. Sales taxes come back to the county where they are generated.
The benefits for Crawford County far outweigh any thoughts of paying an extra one cent. Roads take up about 99% of the commissioners’ time. Everyone wants their road taken care of and the T-SPLOST will help, not only with keeping roads in great shape, but can also be used for equipment and other things involved with transportation. For me, it’s a win-win.
Someone even commented that we don’t have a T-SPLOST and roads are getting paved so why do we need it. Roads may slowly be getting repaired but compared to the roads which need repairing, it’s a very small dent in a very long list. Talk to your commissioner if you need more information. Or get out and ride up and down every single road and see the problems with them. Plus, as I said the county can buy needed road equipment; anything transportation related.
Or, perhaps you’d rather that your property taxes go up even more. Counties can use the T-SPLOST monies for roads and will have to use less of its budget on roads. It will save them money and does not change funds already coming in from Georgia DOT.
Crawford County will get $8.1 million and Roberta $237,000 over the 10 years of T-SPLOST to use locally. Plus they will get $10.6 million from DOT. This comes from a formula of population and road mileage from total collected from all counties. Do the research. Crawford County would not receive that much money from sales tax on its own in 100 years. Do your research, ask questions and then decide which way to vote.
As far as E-SPLOST in Crawford County, some parents don’t want it because it puts middle schoolers on the same campus area with high schoolers. If you have more than one child at home, with one in a lower grade and one in high school, do you keep them separated all the time? I don’t think so. Plus, unless things have changed, they ride the bus together.
School officials have said they will not be together and will be segregated and it will be heavily monitored.
Remember that E-SPLOST is not an additional tax, it is just a continuation. It’s an investment in your county for education.
Just from what I have seen, something needs to be done at Eagles Nest and the high school. Extending E-SPLOST would allow for that. Yes, you would pay an additional amount of property taxes to finish the proposed plan but once completed the increased property tax goes away.
You can look it at as more taxes, or as an investment in your community for education. It’s a way for local systems to raise money without having to raise property taxes sky high and since you’re already paying it, you won’t notice any difference when you purchase something.
If you want to know more, check out YouTube and our interview with Brent Lowe from March 12. Also the school system has information on its website. Do the research and use your head when making a decision. I don’t like more taxes either but support these two this year. Next time it might be a different story, depending on what the taxes entail.

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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Mothers and daughters

When I think of my blessings, I count my mother twice. I’m fortunate to still have my mom, as well as my step-mom living.
Sadly, not everyone can make that statement. Mothers and daughters don’t always have an easy time of it. Sometimes they are too much alike and that can cause friction. Or they can be on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Regardless, the mother/daughter relationship is usually intense.
She’s the first woman in your life and that relationship has an effect on you when you become a woman. Sometimes in subtle ways we don’t really notice; other times in ways we may not like or want to admit.
If you didn’t or don’t have a great relationship with your mom, it does effect how you interact with other people. If your childhood wasn’t great, holding on to that past can have a negative effect.
If that relationship was strained, it can be mended in your adult life, hopefully sooner than later. But it takes work and effort. People do change and I’ve realized in many cases, mothers have done the best that they can do with the tools they have been given. That was the case with my mom as well as with me. No mom is perfect, in fact no human is perfect.
I determined a long time ago, I didn’t really have to understand my mom or to change her to love her. It’s a choice we each have to make for ourselves. I’ve also discovered I’m thankful for some of the things I did learn from her, whether it was what to do or what not to do, all were lessons to be learned.
Becoming a mom is not for the weak. It takes strength to be a mother and you always worry whether or not you are doing the right things. It takes perseverance for a journey which doesn’t end once your children are grown.
It’s great once they are grown and you discover that you are not only mother and daughter but friends. But that stage doesn’t come easy. In fact, if you talk to different people, you will see lots of people have conflicts with their mothers.
That can happen at times because we don’t listen to each other or respect that both are different. Even when your children are grown, there are boundaries and both sides must honor those boundaries. Mothers and daughters need to emotionally support each other as well. Doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be conflicts or disagreements, just means we should work through it and keep on loving each other regardless.
The ‘let’s be offended about everything’ also enters into mother/daughter relationships. Sometimes, we don’t need to respond to criticism or you can be nice about it and say you don’t see it that way but you appreciate the input, then move on.
Let’s face it, our generation is not the same as that of our mother’s and it is not the same for our children. Generational differences in women’s roles can sometimes cause problems.
My life and I’m sure yours too, looks completely different from my Mom’s. That doesn’t mean we can’t find some common ground to talk about to have a good time together. Now that my children are adults, I strive not to interfere or force my ideals on them. They were all raised in the church and know right from wrong.
That doesn’t mean I don’t voice my opinion from time to time but I try to add, “but that’s just my opinion and you have to decide for yourself.” Sometimes we have to bite our lip and just keep our mouths closed. We have to let our adult children make their own mistakes instead of trying to fix everything for them. No one fixed it for us; at least not me.
Each of our children are different and unique so our relationships with each one is not going to be exactly the same as the other. Wanting each relationship to be equally as good, is something most mothers want but it is not reality.
I stay in touch with my mom weekly and if I happen to not call on my regular day, she calls me. Any relationship is a two-way street. One person should not do all of the calling, but I do feel the children should make that effort if the parent doesn’t. If things are going on in my life I will call her more than usual to get input or, if nothing else, to get her to pray about it with me. That’s one thing my Mother can do, if I do say so myself.
Just hearing the words come out of your mouth about a problem, when talking to your mother, can sometimes give you exactly what you need.
Whether you have a great relationship with your mom, or whether it’s strained, always make an effort to at least tell them your love them. If you don’t you will probably regret it when it’s time for them to enter their heavenly home.
So, to all you mothers out there, I say thank you for your hard work in raising children. It’s not easy and being a mom takes sacrifice. There are sleepless nights and lots of prayer which doesn’t stop when children are grown. Happy Mother’s Day to you all. Blessings.

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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Pundits cloud the issues

A true tragedy strikes and the political pundits want to turn it into a debate to get their agenda pushed through. The depth of the tragedy falls by the wayside and everyone starts to concentrate on, of course gun control. A subject the parents who lost children could care less about at that particular moment.
It’s a sad fact that many of the politicians who spout off about gun control, actually own guns or are protected by them. If the talk is not centered around gun control, then it’s the mental health issue. Neither of these address the real issue.
When I was in school, there were guns. In fact, guys even had their shotguns in plain sight in the back of their pickups. There have always been guns and the problem is not the guns. It’s society as a whole. It’s deteriorated and getting worse all the time.
Can we reverse the trend? I believe so but it will take lots of prayer, determination and a concerted effort to do what is necessary. Most people aren’t willing to do that because it is hard. It takes getting out of your comfort zone at times.
In case after case, you hear the perpetrator felt isolated, alone and that no one cared. Sure they may have been on medications or in counseling but they went through something before they got to that point.
Bullying has gotten out of hand in our society. Not just in our schools but everywhere. Adults even try to bully the teachers these days. Children aren’t taught what they need to be taught at home.
We need to talk to those people we see who look isolated or alone. We need to teach our children to reach out and talk to the kid no one else talks to at school. Social isolation is the breeding ground which leads to mental instability in many of these shooters. Social isolation is one of the worst things you can do to a person; it’s devastating.
It doesn’t help when you have students at the high school, I’ve even heard it happened locally, laugh about the shooting. An adult somewhere should have took them to task, called their parents and explained to them it was not a laughing matter and that human life is to be valued.
It’s time we actually took a step back from being anti-social using our phones as an excuse. We need to put down the phones, look around us, see those people who are lonely and engage them in conversation.
If we don’t start trying to change things and actually do something ourselves to help, then we are part of the problem.
I’m all for the second amendment and those rights given by it. You can’t argue with those who stand staunchly on gun control, so don’t try. Instead work on doing what you can to change the current situation, starting within your own family and community.
Statistics prove that you are more likely to fall to your death than get shot with a gun. Statistics run the gamut on homicides by guns and none of them agree, but it is lower than other homicides. Guns can’t shoot off by themselves without someone pulling the trigger. As startling as it might seem, while gun ownership has doubled — thank you to the gun control crazed — homicides with a gun have actually decreased. Fully automatic guns are another story altogether and at one time were illegal.
You can’t keep guns out of the hands of someone bent on doing evil. Drugs are a case in point. If someone is bent on doing them, they will find ways to, just as teenagers who intend to get beer though it’s illegal. Nothing or no one — government, law enforcement or otherwise — can stop someone who has purposed in their heart and are bent on killing. It’s a true fact that if you ban guns only criminals will have them. They always find a way to get them illegally. Murder is illegal but people are killed every day and not usually with a gun. If you don’t understand this or wish for a world without guns, then you just don’t understand violence or evil or the second amendment for that matter either.
Gun owners also need to be responsible. They should be trained with their gun and know how to use it responsibly. Schools should also have, and I don’t like saying this, but “active shooter” drills.
Gun free zones are actually enticing to someone wanting to commit a mass murder. That means they can kill without being stopped.
If you think about it, our laws do not generally allow us to deter crime. In fact, we can’t even keep violent criminals permanently off our streets. Non-violent drug offenders sometimes receive stiffer penalties than someone who rapes an underage girl and cuts off her arm as they can get paroled for good behavior.
Continuing to talk aimlessly about gun control or even mental illness, only clouds the real issue. Instead of enacting new laws, we need a shift in our attitude toward public violence and evil. Each of us should assume some responsibility for containing it. Be aware of people around you and on the look out for the lonely. Get on your knees and pray and teach your children to pray. We need to be praying for others and we need to be resolved to changing our attitudes. We owe it to our children and future generations.©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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Queen of laughter goes home

Heaven is filled with even more laughter these days. Faye Jones went to her eternal home Saturday.
Ms. Faye, as most called her, was a bundle of laughter all the time. She lived right down the road from me. Before she had to sell her house and moved in with her daughter, I would frequently walk down to her house.
I could always count on a fresh cup of coffee no matter the time of day and would laugh until sore. I met her, of course, through the newspaper and at one time she wrote a column for the paper I published. Some days she would call and begin with “Boss Lady, do I have something to tell you.”
Though she didn’t like covering the government meetings she would do so from time to time if we were in a pinch. She could write feature stories and a column with the best of them.
Her columns were quite frequently about her handsome hubby, Doyle, who was a charmer himself. There was always some kind of dilemma Faye was getting into and Doyle having to help her out or her hoping he wouldn’t find out. Or he was getting into something and she was giving him a hard time about it.
She made the most humorous stories out of everyday things and situations. Laughter was a way of life for her and we should take her lead.
When I told Byron Chief Wesley Cannon about her death, I said there is probably much more laughter in heaven. He laughed of course and said Ms. Faye was probably leading the pack in that department. I’m sure he’s right.
The last few years were hard on her. She missed her friends she had made in Byron and most of all missed writing. Writing was not only therapy for her, it was a way of life.
She never seemed to meet a stranger and her home was always open when someone stopped by. You can be sure even if you just wanted to say hello, a few hours later you would realize you needed to go home before someone sent out a missing person report. Most everyone who knew her, loved her. What wasn’t there to love with her zest for life and laughter?
You just always felt at home and the laughter you shared, made you want to linger a while longer and enjoy the fun.
She edited a tabloid called Senior News for a long time and technology challenged her. I would get calls at different times, some even late at night. When her voice on the other end called my name with a question mark at the end, I knew she needed help. Stories would disappear from the computer, a photo wouldn’t load or she would need my help trying to rewrite a paragraph that just wouldn’t go together as she wanted.
Life with Faye, was certainly never dull. Going somewhere with her was a trip. Something crazy happened every time I decided to ride with her. On some of those times she begged me never to tell anyone. I never did, but we would laugh about it together. Some days I threatened to write a book about her adventures. I actually encouraged her to do so, or least with her columns. She kept saying one day she would get me to help her do just that but she’d probably have to change some names to protect the not-so innocent.
When she moved, I talked to her several times until her cell phone no longer worked and then could never seem to call at the right time. I kept saying I would try to pay her a visit but that day never came and now it is too late. That’s another lesson we need to learn – don’t wait before visiting someone you haven’t seen in a while. We aren’t promised tomorrow and we just never know when we will be called home.
Yes, heaven is certainly filled with more laughter with the queen of laughter, Faye there. She will be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
Speaking of laughter, our four-legged child makes us laugh at least once a day. I keep saying she can’t get any more spoiled than she already is, but she always proves me wrong.
I call her a con artist. She has learned how to get more treats in the morning. She always gets one after coming back in from outside. Now she will walk outside on the deck, turn around, come back in and sit for her treat. She will eventually go out and stay a while. I always give in to that face and give her one and so does David. So, now, instead of getting one treat she gets up to three or more in the mornings.
Roxie doesn’t like change either and David has had a change in his work schedule. For the first week she was really confused and sat at the door waiting on him the whole time, going back and forth. She has finally settled down and realizes he will eventually be home but it took a couple of weeks.
Her newest thing is that she talks more. Especially if you don’t answer her the first time. She will continue. If I ignore her long enough, she will, we believe, say “maama”. At a recent bible study, she took a shine to one of the ladies and went on to have a long conversation with her. We aren’t sure what that was all about but everyone got a laugh out of it.
Laughter is good for the soul and does a body good. It’s also good for the heart. At a recent women’s heart luncheon they explained how good it was for you. Let’s all try to have more laughter in our lives. We’ll live a lot longer if we do.©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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Human life devalued

Wow! Seems like each year goes faster than the previous one. Can’t believe we are already in February. I so appreciate all my friends who like cold weather and hope they can appreciate the fact I love warmer weather. I am so looking forward to it.
I’m ready to get back on the walking trail and  just can’t handle it when the wind is blowing, it’s raining or it’s below 48. I’ll admit I’m a wimp in that regard.
So much craziness going on in our world. Makes you want to become a hermit. It’s bad enough that so many people are dying from the flu, but we’ve got people killing other people all the time in our communities. Many times for no reason or for reasons that make no sense whatsoever. Human life has been devalued.
We have not yet reached the point that we are throwing humans into a crematorium like the Nazis thank God. But seems we are slipping closer toward it every day. Parents are killing their children by starving them or feeding them drugs or not caring for them at all.
People watch as other humans are gunned down, beat up and even raped and do nothing. The Bible tells us things like this will happen in the last days: brother against brother; sons and daughters against their parents. It’s all around us and is the result of generations of humans denying and forgetting God.
It almost seems as if our prosperity and desire for more, is causing us to strive for an ideal human population where the old, sick, disable and unwanted are often discarded like the trash. This is in many professions as well including the medical field.
I was recently told that in one workplace, the younger generation thinks anyone 40 or over should be dead and that they not only say that, they act like that toward the older person. The situation caused some to retire earlier than anticipated. The employer does nothing about it and therefore gives the appearance of being in support of the notion.
I am many years past 40 and am still a viable and productive person with many good years ahead of me. I do not intend to die until the good Lord calls me home at the time He has appointed for me. We compartmentalize atrocities and say they are, just as Nazi Germany did, that it is for the good of science; for the advancement of knowledge; for the benefit of society or for the good of national interest. And we take it as truth, many times without any questioning.
Thinking about the number of unborn babies which have been aborted is astounding. I can’t even fathom it, but it’s just another peg in the devaluation of human life. God knows us before we are born and indicates to me life begins at conception. Instead of embracing a child with a birth defect society would rather kill it before it is born.
Suicide rates are up and many people do not have any plans for the future and don’t see any reason for their existence. Young people watch society as we kill our unborn and elderly. Then they hear reports about gunfire being exchanged over a pair of tennis shoes or over a girl or boyfriend. Some grow up in homes where their parents waste their lives on alcohol and drugs and barely provide them with a roof over their heads.
Add in the fact of violent video games where characters are killed and then come back to life and TV shows where violence is the norm and you can see how and why human life is devalued today. Plus many schools teach idealism and other notions that suggest that humans are no more than just an afterthought or cosmic accident.
As humans we are more than just atoms. Humans were created in the image of God and humans, especially the younger ones, need this reinforced in their minds. Life itself is a gift from God. You see atheism not only denies the possibility of a relationship with God, but also denies the relationship between people and therefore is an affront to humans.
Life is short and gone before we know it. We are in need of revival across our land so we can return to God, the giver of life. It’s a gift that is priceless. When we value life, we do not want to take it from someone else. Everyone, no matter their status in life is valuable and God loves them all. No one is more valuable than another person.
Along with human life being devalued, values like integrity, virtue, honesty and respect also go by the wayside.
God created life to be valuable. If you ignore God and ignore His wisdom, the value of life drops. The Romans used to line roads with people on crosses and fed them to lions and watched them kill each other as sport. Christianity stopped this behavior by teaching the value of life.
If we value life, we should stand for the value of life in our church, our politics, our entertainment, our business, and our family. We should be the light of the world and the salt of the earth as God tells us. We should impact the world by changing lives.
A move back to valuing life has to begin at home and then reinforced in our churches and our schools. If we want to change our culture, it has to start with each of us. What are you willing to do?©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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