If you sit in an empty bathtub and run water slowly into it, letting it get warmer and warmer, when will you begin to scream as it burns you? Chances are that you won't notice the heat until it's too late because it crept up on you. If you stepped into a bathtub full of boiling hot water, you'd quickly step back out.

Society in 2010 reminds me of a very hot bathtub. Over the past few decades, we have been sitting in the tub, running warmer and warmer water into it. I, for one, am ready to scream. I'll give you a few reasons.

· When I started teaching school in 1962, students didn't curse out loud in school. They knew they would be in deep trouble if they did. Today, you can hear four-letter words regularly in schools. Part of the problem is that parents curse at home or the child hears this language through music, TV, or movies. We have become too used to hearing profanity.

· Back in the 1950's, teenagers hid the fact that they smoked and drank alcohol from their parents. Mom and Dad would have been furious if their kids used illegal substances. Today, adults hold beer parties for their children and buy their cigarettes. Also, most parents excuse themselves from this behavior by saying that they'd rather have their son or daughter drink at home rather than elsewhere. Parents also feel lucky if their child drinks beer and smokes regular cigarettes instead of taking drugs.

· Not too many years ago, if a child was doing poorly in school, the parents got upset at him. Today, the parent usually blames the teacher and the school first. Overprotection and excuse-making for our children is out of control. Parents fight battles at the drop of a hat and sometimes without knowing (or wanting to know) the other side of the story.

· When a town set a curfew years ago, the parents of that town also set a "home curfew" that guaranteed that their children would be home when the deadline came. Nowadays, when a policeman brings a child home after curfew, parents get annoyed with the cop and yell at him "Go catch criminals and stop harassing my kid."

· In days past, a high school diploma meant something. Today, some children who get a high school diploma can't even read it.

· Schools were founded by men and women who knew that God had to play a part in education. In today's schools, we're not even allowed to mention His name without fear of being sued by the ACLU.

· The Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at the halftime of a Super Bowl is a perfect example of this phenomenon. I heard a newscaster say, "The cover came off the sewer…." when MTV showcased its down and dirty type of entertainment. Too many parents and children who aren't used to seeing MTV trash were understandably shocked by the spectacle. Maybe now something will be done by the FCC to guarantee that garbage will not be unwittingly allowed in our homes.

My husband and I often sit and talk about our modern world. Both of us agree that we wouldn't want to be teenagers in 2010. We fear for our grandchildren and wonder what kind of world we'll be leaving for them.

What can one person do about this "hot bathtub" in which we live? There's only one thing I know of – control your little portion of the world. Make your family rules to follow your beliefs and ideals. Make sure that your kids have a daily diet of healthy experiences. Keep the trash away from them. Create a safe, nurturing environment in your home.

When the rest of the world makes you feel like screaming, you'll have a haven of security and peace in your own home with those you love.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANOTHER EDUCATION AND FAMILY ISSUE WITH DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: jsmith1313@cfl.rr.com [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.