Houston E. Mull rides again
By Trent Loos
Once again the Houston E. Mull Memorial FFA Scholarship Cattle Drive was not only fun but a truly inspiring event to be a part of. As a brief reminder, on June 30, 2004, Houston, the son of Robin and Brenda Mull of Malta Bend, Mo., was in a pickup accident that claimed his life. This young man, in a short 15 years, had positively affected the lives of so many people and for the last eight years his impact has continued to grow through this wonderful event.
Randy Plattner, FFA advisor of the Marshall High School FFA Chapter, announced Nov. 3 that over $82,000 in scholarships have been awarded to more than 100 agricultural youth thanks to the Houston Mull Scholarship Fund. That is a direct result of the type of positive person Houston was every day of his life. Brenda told me that every single day before Houston left the house, he would give everyone a hug. Family was the most important thing to this young man.
I realize by now the elections are over and I had no problem deciding which person to vote for. However, I do wish we had someone in the public eye that would take more of a stand about the traditional sense of family that built the United States of America into what it is today. I am not foolish enough to believe that farm families are the only ones in the country who start the day at the breakfast table with both a mother and a father, but I believe it is easier to find than in non-farm families.
I understand that economics are important and that more people need to be employed, but I also believe that if one person would just take the lead and endorse family values, the economic woes that came about because of those without integrity would be much less significant. I am talking about a man a women being married and raising their children together. Instead we are at the point where nearly half of all births in the U.S. are to unmarried women. Where is this heading?
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that should be troubling to all of us. In 2011, 1,606,087 babies were born to unmarried women and 2,347,506 were born to married women. That is 40.7 percent of all babies born to unmarried women.
Although the percentage of babies born to unmarried women was highest among teens, the percentage of babies delivered by unmarried women of older ages also increased from 2010 to 2011.
In 2010, 33.9 percent of the babies delivered by women 25 to 29 were born to unmarried women. In 2011 that increased to 34.4 percent. In 2010, 21.1 percent of babies delivered by women 30 to 34 were to unmarried women. In 2011 that increased to 21.6 percent. In 2010, 19.6 percent of babies delivered by women 35 to 39 were delivered by unmarried mothers and in 2011 that increased to 21.1 percent. In 2010, 21.7 percent of babies delivered by women 40 and over were delivered by unmarried mothers and in 2011 that increased to 22.4 percent.
To be honest I am not sure what troubles me more, the actual numbers or the fact that if the one candidate for president that I believe shares my view on the family would have actually included it in his campaign platform, it would have been the end of his chance to ever win anything. How does a nation that was built on family and Christian values get so far off center that you cannot even talk about these values without being labeled "the worst of the worst"?
I recognize that we are all human and humans make mistakes but what I am talking about is that we have a new generation of humans who do not know the difference between what is traditional and faith-based and what is a mistake. This group of kids are going to grow up thinking it is perfectly normal to have a single parent and the does not bode well for our future. The strength of the family unit is built upon being able to support and provide for all the needs of your family--physical, mental and spiritual. While it can be done in other scenarios, this family unit was designed to be made up of two parents who can work together and share both the burdens and joys of the raising a family.
Children need their parents and surrounded by the love, support and discipline of those parents they are able to achieve great things in their lifetimes. We do need to recognize all of the young people among us that do extraordinary things to improve the lives of others. We also need to thank their parents for giving them the kind of strong family life that supports and encourages them in their endeavors. Houston E. Mull is certainly at the top of that list of young people who deserve our recognition and for that we honor him and praise his parents for providing him with a life that will sustain his generous, loving heart in heaven as it did on here earth. Thank you, Robin and Brenda and all parents who are dedicated to raising strong families.
Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.