What happened to people of character?

Randall Franks

When I was a child, my parents instilled in me a lengthy list of expected behaviors for a man in training. Behaviors such as stand when shaking a man’s hand and look him in the eyes, a woman’s hand is taken not shaken, a promise made is a promise kept, speak truth and dispel lies of others, secrets are meant to be kept; and stand against a bully and protect those they seek to harm. These are just a few of years of lessons intertwined in my raising to adulthood. I was also a devotee of the Arthurian legends and codes of honor adhered by early knights and heroes who were inspired by those stories. Ultimately, I discovered many of my ancestors were among those inspirees. In addition, a great influence were the films and television shows of the 1940s-1960s which taught us lessons and provided models in life to inspire us to be more than we are such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” “The Rifleman,” and so many more. With each passing year, I look out upon those who find their way into our view, so-called celebrities, politicians, athletes and so many whom this world now places upon some kind of pedestal. I have to shake my head as I see images, films and tv shows, hear comments they say, see actions they do, and wonder what has become of the men and women who once inspired us, who led us to greater heights in life and various fields of endeavor. I know there are many good and decent people who live their lives and make a difference in their communities. I have met many. As a journalist, I have tried to tell their stories. Unfortunately, those are not the people who our culture uplifts onto pedestals. I long for the days of heroes who strived to lives of character. No matter what the reality, the public face was kept appropriate so not to destroy how the public perceived who they were. We have actors, singers, and social media celebrities who wallow in excessive behavior that reflects an inability to understand right from wrong, indulgence in sin, and existing in pettiness. I have seen elected officials whose deeds are not honorable, words are not true, who are accoladed in their efforts as their actions hurt those they serve. I do not know what the answer is, except, the future of character is within our hands. We have the ability to make ourselves better in how we carry ourselves and interact with other people. We can raise the next generation with better role models and stronger life influencing guidance that uplifts others rather than tearing down. We can turn off the movies and television shows that degrade the quality of our lives and not support the advertisers which make those possible. Any who feel they are among those whose character reflects all things good and inspiring, should place themselves in situations so others can see their lives and be inspired. Run for political office; become involved in major activities and events in your community; take on a community problem and solve it; and mentor youth and adults in talents where you excel. Modern culture is only our friend if it reflects our expectations of what life should be. Shape it, don’t let it shape you and yours.

Actor/entertainer Randall Franks is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993 and now on MeTV and other channels. He was part of cast of three other TV Series including Robert Townsend’s “Musical Theater of Hope” which aired on UPtv (Gospel Music Channel). His latest film is “The Crickets Dance.” In the film “Broken,” he stars with Soren Fulton, Felix Ryan, Bailey Borders and Joe Stevens. In another film “Lukewarm,” he starred with John Schneider, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bill Cobbs, Jenna von Oy and Jeremy Jones. He starred with Natalie Grant and Billy Dean in the teen drama “Decision“ and in “The Solomon Bunch,” a children’s adventure, Randall does a comedic cameo.

He is also friends with Courier publisher Jim Clark.

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