Pride is missing from today’s communities

Rick Stanfield
Walton Sun

I remember sitting in my father’s office when he was chief of police of the small Missouri town in which I was raised. I didn’t think much about it back then because it was just normal, but now those memories are vividly clear because they molded me into the person I would become.

I recall watching my dad, always dressed impeccably in a perfectly tailored uniform, and the mayor, who would walk by with a suit and tie, speaking politely to each person he encountered. Our local grocery stores were run by gentlemen with ties and ladies dressed flawlessly, greeting each and every customer that came inside.

There was no such thing as a self-service gas station, because your tank would be promptly filled by a well-mannered technician in a clean, pressed uniform with his name clearly embroidered on his shirt. Not only did he fill your tank, he’d clean your windshield and check your oil.

Being polite, respectful, and well-dressed is not a sign of weakness, but an outworking of the excellence of God in you. In James 3:13-14, the Bible says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”

It seems as if we’ve strayed from those old habits that I thought made our culture better. Now, we have CEOs wearing hoodies and community leaders dressed like juniors in high school. Those things can be tolerated, but what I miss most are the manners that are a distant memory as folks barely speak to each other, and when we do, we are becoming more and more disrespectful.

I miss the pride that our communities had in not only our appearance, but the admirable qualities that were simple and normal back then. I worry about what we now accept as tolerable behavior and what will be acceptable in future generations as we move steadily forward into the “new normal.”

What do you miss about your childhood?

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, professor, motivational speaker and author. His latest book is “I Can and I Will.” For more information, visit his website at