By Joe Rector

The fuel to many problems right now is anger. It is the stuff that stokes the flames of unrest. I don’t blame folks for being furious for the mistreatment of individuals in the hands of some police officers. They have grievances that need to be aired. Right now, however, the temperatures of too many factions are dangerously high. Our world is not perfect; it has its problems and always has. Three things can bring about change and a cooling on all sides.

First is education. For too many people, the outlook is bleak. They have little about which to be excited. Subsistence levels are all for which they can hope. Many of them lack the education to be able to get ahead. The reasons for that lack of learning are many. Some children were too concerned with daily existence to worry about school. Others found the curriculum fell woefully short of addressing the lives that they experienced each day. Sadly, too many children were left to their own devices and simply faded away from school. For them and their families, education was of no value and simply took up their time. Maybe some parents had too little education themselves to be able to help with homework, or moms and dads had to work in order to provide the basics of life and could not provide the support and help that little ones need as they tackle educational skills.

Regardless of what has gone on before, the fact remains that education is key to doing well in this world. Skills are demanded to compete for good jobs. Children must dedicate themselves to learning so that they can enter the workforce doing something more than flipping hamburgers. Quitting school or giving little or no efforts condemn any person to a second-class life that is filled with financial struggles.

The second thing that leads to a better world is family. Children need strong bonds with both parents. The lessons that moms and dads can teach are the foundations for a good life. Yes, that includes discipline when it is needed. Children decide what is appropriate behavior based on the actions of their parents. All of us have witnessed our children saying or doing something that is less than flattering, and we immediately know from where that word or deed was learned. Parents are busy in this world, but they must find ways to be actively present in children’s lives. That doesn’t mean running interference for them; it means just being there to guide young souls toward better ways of living.

The last thing that can help our world find its footing again is respect. Every individual of this country must begin to respect the existences of others. No one has to agree with someone else, but a man must respect the right of another’s choice. Color, religion, sexual preference, or any other thing does not cancel that. Respect includes an attempt to understand the views of another person and why she holds them. It is slow to condemn things that have been part of life for years. Most of all, respect comes from listening to another side. When the mutual appreciation for others takes hold, the tit-for-tat petty actions that we take, the names that we hurl, and the destruction that we commit will cease once and for all.

Listing three things as keys to a better world can seem overly simplistic. So many people on both sides are hypothesizing and analyzing and demanding to the point that confusion and hardening views are growing. Maybe it’s time to try a simple solution. Education, family, and respect are already a part of our lives. Perhaps what we have is the solution for what we want. All of us might do better to meet in the middle.