A worthy cause and thoughts on childhood

By Jeff Smith

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I usually don’t criticize the mainstream media all that much because it is important to let news outlets say what they want and have unrestrained opinions about daily affairs. But I was disappointed in most of the news about Melania Trump’s platform of “BE BEST.”

It tended to focus on how Donald Trump isn’t the best role model instead of the message Melania Trump wanted to share.

Trump defined the “BE BEST” platform as an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us — children. She addressed the importance of having supportive friends and adults around to help children when they fall. The three pillars to the “BE BEST” campaign are: well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. Trump expressed concern that children are not always in the right mindset to express or manage their emotions. This leads to destructive behavior like drug addiction, bullying or even suicide.

It is important that each child in the United States has an adult who is responsible for their well-being and cares for them. It doesn’t always have to be parents. There are great teachers in the Hill City School District and across the United States that play a vital role in creating successful adults who contribute to society. Churches understand this principle very well. At baptisms pastors will also mention the role members of the congregation have to keep children in the church and to be raised right. My point is that we shouldn’t scoff at anything that tries to help children.

I think caring for children is deep-rooted in the American way of life. In today’s world we need to minimize any amount of discomfort a child has. Children should be able to keep some type of innocence for as long as they can.

I miss my childhood and at the same time I feel like I wanted to grow up too quickly. But I am now able to share with others some of my life experiences. Summer wasn’t always easy but I had pigs to take care of for 4-H. In my honest opinion, raising pigs is probably the most fun 4-H project. They love to play outside and are very curious. Having something to take care of taught me the importance of hard work and what it means to take care of something. In other times of life I learned having a reason to wake up every day is important. Having lasting relationships is important. We all know this.

Everyone, remember your roots and how you got to where you are today. People rarely reach success by themselves, myself included. Teachers, my parents and siblings have all encouraged me along the way. I went to college and have been working in journalism for the past three years. Has there been pain and longing to be somewhere else sometimes? Sure. But I would rather have pain sometimes than happiness because I can learn from it. Really, life isn’t that hard.  A line from the TV.show “Scrubs” my friend shared on Facebook struck a chord with me recently. In the show “Scrubs” the main character J.D. says “I think owning your burdens is half the battle. . . still, it’s not that daunting if you look around and see what other people have to deal with.”

Most of my challenges in life are pretty easy compared to ones I’ll have to face later. Life is pretty easy, really. A lot of the times it is our bad choices that complicate things.

When life does get too hard we have the blessing of good memories. I know I like to think of ones when I was little and the world seemed full of possibilities. We don’t need to treat children like they’re criminals or that they are broken. I know it might be hard to take care of children. I might not know what that is like. But for me having an easy chore or task every day to accomplish really helped me. Once children see that they can do something simple, they will be ready to take on more grueling tasks. I believe that behavior problems will go away if children are kept busy. Even for me today, I am happiest when I am busy.

I think I can do more for the newspaper sometimes and more for the community. I also think it is important to do more than just show up at events and write articles. There is more to life than staying busy and this time of year in the Black Hills there is a lot to do and see.

It would be wise for me and others to take some time off and do some fun stuff this summer.

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