The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." In case you don't know, anthropology is "the study of human behavior and why we do the things we do."
I hope you will read and listen with both ears today, as I have something really important to share with you. I am only one of millions of Americans who are sick and tired of the direction our country has been going for the past several decades. We are tired of the rancor and discord in politics, the terrible hurt and pain caused by violence, and the fear of older adults who know, unless there is a change, the kind of future we are leaving our children and grandchildren.
To say it very simply, we must change our culture, and with God's help, that is what I plan to do. My approach is very simple, but I will need the help of every American who shares my concern. I grew up in the 1950s, an era when you did not have to lock your doors at night or take the keys out of the car, and a man's word was his bond. This was a time when you did not need a contract or a lawyer to seal the deal -- all that was needed was a handshake.
I am going to give you my plan and then break it down a little. First, illiteracy is killing us, as children in low-income, single-parent homes have no books in the home for their children to read, and they are already candidates for drop out when they enter school.
As you may know, I am the founder of a literacy project called "Bookcase for Every Child" that started here in Conway, Arkansas, in 2005, and we have had great success. We have now given more than 800 bookcases and a starter set of books locally, and more than 2,000 nationwide, as we are now in six states. After 16 years as Chairman, I have turned the project over to our local Conway Kiwanis Club. They will continue for many years into the future. However, we need hundreds of bookcase projects all over the country, as this will make a difference in the future of these wonderful and deserving children. Kiwanis Clubs and others can do this.
Over the past 40 years, I have written 10 books, but I feel my last is by far the best. It is titled, "Your Future Begins Today." Because of the era in which I grew up, this book is laced with 1950s values. Due to a plethora of reasons, many younger Americans did not receive these kinds of values growing up, and this has resulted in a change in our culture. If we want to see the results, all we have to do is watch the nightly news on television. Make no mistake, what I am saying will be good for everyone, and our children will sure have a better future.
The reviews of my book have been terrific. We have a fantastic county judge here by the name of Jim Baker. He wrote the Preface for this book and has already purchased 55 copies to give to family and friends. My plan is so simple, and it will work: when a huge number of Americans buy my book and then learn or be reminded of 1950s values, we will use the profits to fund grants to begin new bookcase projects to help preschool children being reared in low-income families. Now that is a lot to digest in one reading, and I hope you will read this column several times.
This is a big but doable project, and in time I will contact all governors, members of Congress, educators, members of the media and leaders all across the nation to help us. If you want to be one of those thoughtful, committed citizens, drop me a note and let me know.