Does anybody really know what time it is?

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 9/27/19

With apologies to the music group “Chicago,” that’s really a pretty good question. Does anybody really know what time it is?

Not 9:21 a.m. Monday as I sit at my keyboard typing these words. …

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Does anybody really know what time it is?

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With apologies to the music group “Chicago,” that’s really a pretty good question. Does anybody really know what time it is?

Not 9:21 a.m. Monday as I sit at my keyboard typing these words. Not 8:11 p.m. Thursday or whenever as you may be sitting in your chair, reading them. Not any “tick-tock” time at all, whatever it may be.

Instead, I mean “the times.” That’s becoming a big area of discussion lately and it should as we consider who we are and how we should be who we are. Many are the individuals and groups who look at that. Futurists, evangelicals, average run-of-the-mill folks and others all seem to be paying more attention to such questions as “Is the end of time near?” or “Will there be an atomic World War III?” I don’t claim any particular insight on the answers but I am pretty sure they’re significant questions.

British author Charles Dickens, in his book “A Tale of Two Cities,” told us: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” And American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan told us in the 1960s that “the times, they are a changin’.”

Every day I become more and more convinced of that. Human nature itself doesn’t change all that much; people still have warts and beauty marks. We’re still greedy and giving, hard-working and lazy, self-centered and outgoing. The details of life around us, however, are different. And maybe I really am a dinosaur with enough birthdays that today’s society would consider me a relic.

There have been, and continue to be, major changes in attitudes and the bottom line is attitudes produce actions. Chief among the targets for attitudes, regardless of your position and beliefs, are children. On one hand, traditional Judeo-Christian morals and values, even if they belong to families with no active faith life, tend to adhere to the Biblical admonition to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he’ll not depart from them.” In other words, that means helping them have some sort of solid foundation to use when dealing with life and making choices.

Folks with the opposite view, however, while they may not encourage an open hostility to that way of thinking or provide an alternative of their own, may instead say something like, “I’m not going to insist on any direction.” I remember a mother and father we met years ago who had two daughters. We invited them to worship service where we were attending church, to which the mother said, “We’re not going to force religion on our children. We’re going to let them decide when they grow up what they want to do.” Had I been bolder then, I would have said, “I notice you didn’t let them decide if they wanted to take piano lessons, go to dance classes, be a school cheerleader, take pony riding lessons or play soccer.”

So, obviously, this is still a free country with all sorts of choices and Mama decided that was hers. But still the pressures and influences on children are enormous. In my career as a grandfather, I’ve watched more Paw Patrol and Puppy Dog Pals than I really want to but someone else likes them, so we watch. As I see some of the commercials during those periods, I need someone to explain to me the benefit of creating and marketing a toy dog who, when mashed, will “poop” on the floor or table and then need to have his deposit reinserted so he can do it again. There’s also a game where you attach tools to a plumber’s belt until the game loser puts on one that causes his pants to fall off. And I’ve seen another which maybe hopefully has run its course, where the game centerpiece featured a head with a very runny nose that produced enormous amounts of goo, much to the delight of the game players, at least those on the commercial.

Is there a moral benefit here? Or do we need at least some guidelines?

Does any of that play into the question “Does anybody really know what time it is?”

Or are we dinosaurs on the way to extinction?


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