Bring Back Common Sense
Things I never thought I’d see: Reports on the prime-time nightly news cautioning viewers not to drive or perform other daily tasks while blindfolded (search “bird box challenge” online if you’re unfamiliar). A warning on a hair dryer that reads: “Do Not Use While Sleeping.” A public-service announcement by a well-known NFL player discouraging teens from consuming laundry pods. Listings on Wikipedia describing such nonsensical phenomena.
I tried to explain these realities to myself using the journalists’ five Ws and how but got stuck on why and how. Why would anyone need to be cautioned against such things? How did common sense get so lost that manufacturers and the media feel obliged to protect us from the seemingly obvious?
In my view, the answers lie in the tangled web of today’s society. To wit: The entitlement mentality that leads to an inclination to place blame rather than accept responsibility; an increasing disregard for authority; and a lack of positive role models coupled with an affinity for seeking guidance from the internet and entertainment world. We allow a popular YouTube post, a hot Netflix show, or a clever video game to lead us. And, in doing so, we run the risk of passing this mainstream mentality on to our children.
To create a new societal fabric,I propose a formula that aims to shift the focus from temporal influence to spiritual and personal growth—one that employs good old-fashioned common sense as its foundation: Our world needs to resurrect the traditional familial role model. Remember when we used to look up to our parents and grandparents? Bolster the bonds of the extended family. “It takes a village” is as true as ever. Reinforce the crucial role of personal accountability. God blessed us with free will, but along with that comes culpability. And
finally, reignite the spirit of faith and community—inside as well as outside the walls of the parish.
How does my proposal align with our faith? In living out our sacramental call, we strive to become ever more Christlike. His perfect example gives us all the authority we need to live a life of meaning and reach our goal of being in union with Christ. The internet, movies, and other forms of entertainment should be seen as just that—entertainment. We are responsible for our choices and actions. And we should look to God for influence. Through prayer, Scripture, and the many positive and fulfilling aspects of our Church, we have an infinite well of guidance. Let’s use it.