Saturday, May 13, 2023

D.L. Gardner: Overcoming Difficult Times

 At the beginning of every semester I call the roll and ask students to tell me what name they preferred to be called and why they are famous. Answers about their fame provide insight into their personalities, interests, and self images. Their answers also give them the opportunity to give their first speeches introducing themselves to me and their classmates. 

Recently, students have been famous for saying the alphabet backwards, walking and eating in their sleep, being a ninja with a soul, and winning various state, regional, or national championships. I chat with each student to help me remember their names.

After calling the roll, I introduce myself saying I love each one of them and telling them I have prayed for them all. Love is not a feeling. Rather love is an act of commitment to another’s wellbeing. If I can help them in any way, they should feel free to contact me any time … before 9:00 at night. Surveys show speaking in public is likely the number one thing people fear most.

Last week I wrote a column about rising levels of fear, anxiety, and depression in students the past two to three years. Dictators have always used the power of fear to force people to comply with “ordinances.” We’ll never know how much damage fear has done from the cradle to the grave in America over the past two years. “You will die or spread the virus if you don’t wear a mask, social distance, isolate and educate virtually, take the vaccines and boosters, and cancel anyone who disagrees … for the good of the people.” 

My earliest memory of government-induced fear was in first or second grade. U.S.S.R. was threatening to launch atomic bombs at us from Cuba. We had drills in our elementary schools where we would get under our desks for protection. Fear made us stupid. 

College students away from home for the first time face many fears. “What if I…?” “What if they….?” What if….?” Fear attacks our innermost feelings and conquers rational thought.

Fortunately, at many of our best colleges and universities faculty and staff, students and organizational leaders listen to students who are struggling and help them cross the bridges they fear.

In these times of increasing anxiety and depression, we need to cancel irrational fear with a little bit of common sense and a lot of real care for those around us. Since the turn of the century those seeking power and control over the masses have used fear to gain their ends. Too many of us have been living with unfounded fears both large and small.

Americans need another revolution for freedom. Our founders had it right. The First Amendment guaranteed the people freedom of religion, speech, the press, to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. Unfortunately, corporate media, social media, and cancel culture warriors have attacked all five of these freedoms with irrational fear. 

In the third chapter of II Timothy, Paul writes, “In the last days difficult times will come.” And, men will be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We can overcome difficult times by following biblical teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and perseverance, especially during times of persecution, and suffering. 

Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at


Anonymous said...

Pure Boomer: Fix everything we screwed up.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, corporate media, social media, and cancel culture warriors have attacked all five of these freedoms with irrational fear."

Amorphous enemies, never any "morphus" ones. Of course, being specific would be racist. Or sexist. Or misogynistic. Or nationalistic. Or fascistic. Or conspiracy theoristic. Or hatefulistic. Or microaggressivistic. Or antigenderaffirmeristic. Or even -- horror of horrors, worst of all -- anti-emetic or ignorant green-toothed redneckeristic.

Anonymous said...

Column is full of good stuff. Can I assume this gentleman is a faculty member at MSU? Can't get over the number of libs who read his stuff and offer objections and snarky comments out of (far) left field.

Such as...'boomer'.

Everything that has ever been created was, sooner or later, created by a 'boomer' or 'boomer generation'. Even the smart-ass young of today will soon be boomers drooling in their pudding and screaming 'get the hell off my lawn!'

Anonymous said...

OK Boomer. Ask not for whom the pillow comes; it comes for thee.

Anonymous said...

“ After calling the roll, I introduce myself saying I love each one of them and telling them I have prayed for them all.”

This can’t be real, is this satire? I wouldn’t be able to make it through the first day of his class, this is just too cringey. These are college students Daniel, not 4 year olds in Sunday School.

Anonymous said...

No lib here. This is like wading in waist deep sludge.

Anonymous said...

I contend the reason so many young people have such issues as fear, depression, anxiety (and the suicides that result from these) is a lack of emotional maturity. Instead of parents teaching their children to cope with difficult situations, they are focused on making certain the child is entertained. So few teenagers have part-time jobs or household chores these days. Basically nothing other than school is required of them. They never have to make the tough decisions or deal with difficult situations, so it shouldn't be surprising that they can't cope. They are emotionally weak. I have a neighbor who has a 16 year old son. Who cuts the grass? Old Dad. Who takes the trash cans out to the street? Old Dad. Never seen the kid lift a finger to do anything except play sports. And it gets worse with each generation.

Anonymous said...

6:31 AM Starkville has a hard time getting the good teachers. It is worth a few extra dollars to send kids to Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

6:31 Attacking someone because they show concern, empathy and who offers to be a helping hand? I'm glad you don't live next to me.

Anonymous said...

4:42 is right.
Parents have shielded children from all consequences, decision making and responsibility.
I find nothing shocking about the endless waves of youths who are incapable of being productive members of society. It is the parents fault. Like it or not, they failed.

Anonymous said...

@8:16 - he is a professor who the kids paid to teach them a speech class. Treating them like little babies isn’t helping anyone and isn’t what the students paid for.

Anonymous said...

@10:59 And yours is the type of mentality that has led the world into such a lack of concern for humanity and your neighbor. Nothing demonstrates he's treating them like babies. I couldn't imagine not caring for the people who make up my community. Teachers' relationships with students can radically change lives for the better, and all you see is a business transaction. What a sad worldview.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS