How Hartselle can be different
By By Jack Greenhill
The on-going swirl of controversy surrounding the conduct of Hartselle school administrators unfortunately is a reflection of a deeper problem in Hartselle.
Hartselle wants to be perceived as a proper, wholesome, family-oriented, small-town. A safe haven for all its residents.
The truth of the matter is that Hartselle is exactly like every other small southern, northeastern or midwestern community. It has its good and bad.
Is there a drug problem at Hartselle High School? No more than at any other high school in the land. Is there an unequal application of standards at Hartselle High? No more than there are prejudicial standards applied in any place there is a human community.
Would some in Hartselle subscribe to the methods portrayed in "The Stepford Wives" to maintain the town's image of "proper." Probably, as long as they were calling the shots. Would some like to stir up trouble to uncover all the "dirty little secrets." The answer is "yes," if they think they can gain some advantage from it.
Hartselle's problems are just human problems. The idea that "it's not happening here" is folly.
Here's another example of the "dirty little secrets" that run under the surface in Hartselle and every other little town in America – everyone who thinks their community is "above all that," is hiding their head in the sand.
I overheard statistics on a morning news program that 50 percent of the teenage girls in America are sexually active.
After hearing these statistics I had occasion to quiz some young people who attend Hartselle High about these figures.
"I wouldn't be surprised," one of them replied.
So I took it a step further and asked about another scary fact the news program revealed. "What do people your age consider sex?" I asked.
It seems that our younger generation subscribe to the Bill Clinton definition of "sex." If it's not the actual act, it's not "sex" and therefore OK.
This is in Hartselle and that points to the underlying problem. The kids are just doing what they've seen their parents do. When they are 40, they'll handle problems just like their parent do, whether good or bad.
I can understand how we arrived at this. My generation, now in our mid 40s, was coming of age in the early '70s.
My guess is that a large portion of my generation doesn't consider illegal substances like marijuana "wrong." The same attitude probably applies to these "quasi-intimate" relationships today's kids don't consider sex. And if a large portion of the parents don't consider it "wrong," what are their children going to think?
But is constantly stirring the pot and bringing "new revelations" to the surface the answer for Hartselle or any community? Yes and no.
In 44 years I've been nave and some would say I still am. I've learned some things I'd rather not know. And I've learned some things that all need to know.
While you can't ignore a problem and hope it goes away, peeling the cover off and yelling "corruption" in human strength only breeds more corruption.
Only when corruption is revealed by the Holy Spirit of God, in His love, His mercy and His justice does healing and cleansing come to a situation.
Until true Godly revival transforms this town, it will continue to be just like every other small town. It will have its good and bad.
Without revival, we'll change the players, but not the problems and a few years down the road the winds of controversy will howl again, but nothing will have changed.
If you want Hartselle to live up to the image it wants to project to the world, pray fervently for revival.
Only hearts transformed by God will transform this town.