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Hitting the reset button

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

While spring always seems like the beginning of new life, after a long cold winter, fall too is another time of rejuvenation. It seems when school starts it is like we all hit the reset button of life, and we take on a new look about our place in the world and our surroundings.

It's hard to think that as we move into a time when plants will begin the shrivel, days become shorter and within a short couple of months we may well be scraping snow from our driveways, that we see the fall as a new beginning. But I think for each of us, our many years of conditioning about starting school in the fall has done that to us. And as we moved past that period of our life we still see it that way. It is a time for a clean slate, time to start from the beginning, time to make up for the past with a clear path forward.

But for many in today's society this idea of a restart button holds true for a lot of things. People are always looking for the restart button. Get divorced, get remarried. File for bankruptcy, get a fresh start. Move somewhere else where no one knows you, and they will not know your past. The list can go on and on.

People should be able to get a fresh start when they have had bad things happen to them, whether it be self created unhappiness or that put upon them by someone else.

Remember the old adage about "I think I will join the French Foreign Legion?" It was always used in conjunction someone who wanted to get away and have a fresh start, hoping, particularly when they have lost love, that they can forget about the past.

But, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Unless somehow a person can clear their mind of thoughts that made them what they are today, they will remember. And people leave wreckage behind them that often even moves into that fresh start. Bankruptcy often leaves creditors holding the bag, something that brings on higher prices for everyone. Divorce can be fairly clean if there are only two people involved, but often there are children, and that goes on for the rest of a person's life. Moving somewhere else can work for awhile, but in my years of travel and having moved around a bit, no matter where you go, you eventually run into someone that lives in the new place that you moved that knows about you or your past.

So that is life, But what I worry more and more about with our society is the "reset button" mentality. We see it in people all the time. It shows its worst face when it comes to crime, particularly amongst young people. When I was a kid I loved comic books and I don't know how many times some of the main characters in the books would be killed, and then somehow miraculously come back to life because of some super scientific potion, ray or procedure. I remember thinking at one time "Could this happen?"

Today, in video games in particular, but on television too, we see people killed or maimed all the time. Hit the reset button or watch next weeks episode and suddenly the person is back like nothing ever happened. This happens all the time.

I once counted how many times, in a favorite detective show I used to watch. The hero was either shot or hit over the head in 10 episodes. My count during that half of that season was shot once, hit over the head with a gun butt, baseball bat or vase, five times. Yet he never seemed any worse for the wear. Sure it was just a television show, but to the immature mind (and not all those minds exist in children's heads) it may seem reality. Hurt someone and they will spring back. Kill someone and they can be resurrected.

I remember when I was in college I had this psychology professor that told the tale of when he used to sit down with his kids to watch the show "Combat!" which his kids wanted to see. It was the story of a squad of American soldiers in Europe during World War II. He told us that as they watched the show, every time a man got killed, American or German, he would tell his kids "Now remember that man has a family and people who love him. He is now dead and he will not be going home. He suffered great pain. Now his family will be without him." Then he would ask them what they think of what he said.

After doing this for about two episodes, his kids didn't want to watch anything with violence on it at all. Certainly evenings with "Combat!" was out.

Everyone in the class thought he had gone a little far. But after seeing the violence in our society today, it has to make you wonder if what he said was prophetic.

The reset button is okay for a lot of things, as long as we keep it in perspective.

With fall coming and school starting, let's all help our children and grand children to hit the reset button. But let's do it with a little conscious effort to help them realize, you can't erase what has happened, and you certainly can't change it.




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