Large segments of the youth population no longer distinguish between their peers and the adult population. Some young people have not been taught to respect their elders. It is disturbing to hear some young people say that they only respect their parents and have little or no respect for other adults. Some parents teach their children to refrain from saying, “Yes, sir” or “No, sir.” Instead, they teach them to say “Yes” or “No” to everyone regardless of age or position. Some parents do not believe that their children should address other adults with the titles of “Mr.” or “Mrs.” The pursuit of youth is why some parents oppose teaching their children to use titles that signal respect when talking with or addressing other adults. Lots of parents compete with their children in trying to stay young. They do not want to be referred to as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” because that reminds them that they are growing older. A society that allows children and youth to lose respect for adults and the elderly is doomed to failure and despair. Some youth say, “You have to give respect to get respect.” This may be true, but some institutions demand respect, whether earned or not, such as the military and the prison system. When I was in the military, I showed respect for officers who had not earned my respect. I respected them because they represented the institution of the army. If I disagreed with a superior officer, I would always say, “Sir, I respectfully disagree.” Officers were greeted with a salute as a sign of respect and were addressed with “sir.” If a young person can learn within a short period to address a young lieutenant who may be in his early twenties as “sir,” they can respect those who are old enough to be their parents by saying, “Yes, sir” or “No, ma’am.” Young soldiers showed respect for officers in the military because they realized their lives might depend on obeying their orders in a combat zone. Certain institutions are worthy of respect, even if the men or women who represent the institutions are not worthy of consideration. Soldiers who failed to salute an officer during basic training were ordered to drop and do several pushups immediately. It was always “Yes, sir” or “No, sir” in the military, and it was “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” “Yes, ma’am,” and “No, ma’am” when I was a boy. God established the institution of the family for the nurturing and protection of children. Parents are the chief administrators of the family. The family is not a democracy. Children are to honor and respect their parents, but it is also essential for parents to love and treat their children with dignity. According to historians, the Roman Empire was not destroyed by a superior military power. Poor public health conditions, the rapid rise of disease, and the escalation of alcoholism were conditions that contributed to the downfall of Rome. However, the most devastating blow to the Roman Empire was declining morals and values. Lots of the drop was due to a loss of respect for the institution of marriage, which led to an increase in sexual immorality. Like the United States of America, Ancient Rome can trace its moral dilemma back to a failure to honor established moral laws and teachings, such as the Christian scripture that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The failure to obey the commandment of honoring parents is also a primary reason America is experiencing a moral dilemma. America is at a crossroads; respect for authority must be reinstituted. Perhaps teaching children and youth to address adults as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Miss” and encouraging them to say, “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” when they address adults would be a great start to reinstituting the importance of respect in America. Time to teach youth about the natural It is time to step up to the plate and teach young people about real life. Images of endless fun and games on television and the playing of animated computer games that simulate violent acts have lured many youths into a mode of thinking that there are no significant challenges or dangers in life and no adverse consequences for behavior. Most contemporary media outlets do not emphasize the importance of hard work, the value of delaying gratification for more significant gain, and the significance of setting goals. The glorification of crime and drugs and the promotion of uninhibited sexual activity outside of marriage with no mention of the consequences of irresponsible behavior have been a driving force behind Hollywood for years. ABC, NBC, and CBS are no longer the only players in town. Television stations no longer play the National Anthem and turn off their signal at midnight Television is now a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week enterprise. The competition for advertisers and viewers is so furious among media networks that many network executives have crossed the line in airing programs that are not family-friendly during primetime. Hollywood appears to be driven by the premise that most viewers do not want to be reminded of the consequences of irresponsible behavior. They know that some want to enjoy the piper’s music but do not want to pay the piper. This is why there is rarely any mention of the side effects of smoking, drugs, or alcohol. Broken homes, strained family relations, jail time, psychological problems, and diseased bodies are usually not mentioned when airing programs that address risky, unethical behavior. The devastating effects of extra-marital affairs, which at times lead to divorce and the psychological scarring of children, are usually not highlighted within the storylines of most television programs. The entertainment industry, in many ways, has deemphasized the natural world and highlighted a fantasy world of fun and games, which in many ways has desensitized many people to the pain and suffering of others. The lack of empathy for others has led many to devalue life, which has led to an increase in violence against innocent people. Many mass media enterprises are sending the wrong message to young people. This is why parental involvement is more critical today than ever before. Given the high number of children and young ladies being kidnapped and sexually abused, it is time to do more teaching on real-life dangers and challenges. The increased time young people spend on computers and cyberspace demands that they are given a dose of reality. They need to be taught that not every person is to be trusted because not everyone is a friend. Avoiding unfamiliar areas when not accompanied by others is also extremely important. It is time for law enforcement to work in conjunction with the schools, the home, and the church to develop a training course that can be taught in the school system to survive living in a money-hungry, crime-driven global society. Young people need to know how to manage money and avoid the trap of credit cards, but they also need to learn more about the dangers of living in a society that does not value human life in many ways. Given the increased number of crimes against innocent people, there seems to be a criminal system that preys on the young and the innocent. To combat this system, the family, the church, the schools, and all youth-friendly agencies must devise ways to educate and protect youth in a world where far too many children and youth are being physically and sexually abused. A charge to youth and students of America President John F. Kennedy once said, “Some people ask why I ask why not.” These words are viewed as a challenge for students to put forth their best effort to follow class rules, complete home, and classroom assignments, and listen to the instructions of school personnel. Students must be aware that there are many roadblocks on the learning path, for there are many challenges to overcome when one aims to receive an education. Challenges should be viewed as necessary struggles to achieve success. Frederick Douglass, a great African American orator, once said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Students who embrace the challenge of hard work and sacrifice usually view school as an ally in achieving their goals and objectives. Committed students view education as a marathon experience rather than as a sprint experience, for they realize that education is a lifelong process and not a one-time experience. We say to the students across America that their personal choices will determine their destiny in life. Robert Kennedy, the brother of President Kennedy, said this about young people, “We do the things they do; we dance their dance, we dress their dress.” Mr. Kennedy acknowledged that youth had been endowed with a tremendous amount of power and influence, for the impact of the youth culture is felt throughout the American way of life.I pray that all of the youth who are in the process of getting an education will maximize their educational experience by taking advantage of all the educational opportunities offered at the schools they attend. The most valuable resources in the school system are called teachers, administrators, and volunteers. Students are encouraged to honor and respect those in positions of authority within the system, and school officials are encouraged to be fair and objective in working with students from all cultures and backgrounds.