July is National Make A Difference to Children Month, a time to think of how we can make a difference - and better the lives - in the children around us.
Oh, that doesn't mean me, you say? Maybe you're an adult without children or an empty nester and you don't think you could ever make a difference to children? Well, we all do.
We make a difference by the examples we set.
A good example of how that could go either way is in athletics and the entertainment industry. Some may ask why we hold athletes and entertainers to a higher standard that the rest of us. Is that fair? On the surface, many would say no. But when you consider the impact entertainers and athletes have on our youth, the answer should be a resounding YES.
Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 21 months in prison after he pled guilty to his role in a dog fighting ring. He was released by the Falcons, but picked up later by the Eagles. While 21 months might seem like a severe sentence, it sent a strong message to anyone thinking of doing anything remotely like that.
The same goes for Lance Armstrong, stripped of seven Tour de France titles for doping offenses.
And, of course, the same goes for entertainers held to a higher standard.
So, yes, by setting examples, we all make a difference to children. And that brings us to another question - what happened to heroes?
You know who they were - John Wayne and the Lone Ranger, those heroes from our childhood past (at least for some of us) who set an example. They were our idols, our mentors.
Something happened, though, when American turned cynical. It was probably sometime between the assassination of the Kennedys and King, the proliferation of drugs and antiwar protests, that heroes became outmoded, dull and "uncool."
We need them back, though. It's been far, far too long since kids have been able to look up at the silver screen (yes, that's about how long it's been - since movies were in black and white) and say, "Yeah, I want to be like him."
Maybe it's time to make heroes cool again. Soldiers and doctors, lawyers and police officers, moms and dads. If we allowed them to be "cool," would our kids think about them differently? Would they think about themselves differently? Would they think about how they would live their lives differently?
It's worth a thought.