One day when I was a kid I was riding my bike in the neighborhood. I tried to fit between two cars and the end of one of my handlebars gouged one, a new black station wagon. I saw it, gulped, and left. I didn't say anything about it to anyone. But, the owner of the car had seen me do it.

He called my parents, and I was summoned to the kitchen table. My father was upset about the damage, but I think he was more upset about my deception. I was clutched by an upper arm and marched across the street, where I was made to apologize. I was grounded.

I'm glad for that lesson, although it seemed harsh at the time. If you cause damages, confess, and make it right. Respect other people.

Now I'm one of the grownups and officially a cranky one because I rarely see those values being instilled in the kids these days. Case in point: I'm in line at Walmart. There's a woman behind me seated in one of the battery-operated carts, with a boy in her lap. As she chats on a cell phone, the boy fools around with the cart controls, and runs it into me.

I turn around, give him a stern look, but he does it a couple more times. I decide to interrupt the cell phone call. Excuse me, I say to the woman, but your boy keeps running the cart into my legs.

And this is what she announces to the store. "Some people!" she says. "Some people just aren't kid friendly!"

I leave the store dejected, and later think of all the snappy comebacks I could have made. Plus I was thinking, what is it with kids these days? What's the future for that kid? Nothing is ever going to be his fault. If he does poorly in school, it will be the fault of teachers and administrators. If he gets cut from a sports team, it will be because the coach had favorites.

Still disgruntled, I drive to downtown Tamaqua, where I have a newspaper assignment to attend an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for a young man named Connor Veglia. To be honest, I'm not happy about a Sunday afternoon assignment and after my encounter in Walmart, not in the greatest frame of mind.

During the ceremony I realize that Connor Veglia and other young men become Eagle Scouts because the adults in their lives teach them the right way to conduct themselves. They hold them to a higher standard and they respond.

I realize that it's wrong to complain about "the kids these days". It's really not their fault that there is no discipline in their lives, no direction, no aspirations. That fault lies squarely in the laps of their parents.

When I leave the Eagle Scout ceremony, my mood is much better. The TIMES NEWS ran my article and picture. But I just wanted to take this opportunity to say something I couldn't say in a "regular" newspaper article. Thank you to all the Scout leaders and parents, who are putting hours of time into the kids these days.