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Focus on families to help heal America
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

All my life I’ve been accused of over-simplifying things. My guess is it is my way of coping with the many challenges and details one faces each day.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of South Florida studying to obtain my teaching credentials, we had a common saying in the education department: Keep it simple, stupid! This was called the "KISS principle" and we applied the acronym routinely to various teaching situations.

As a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960, the KISS idea states that most systems work best if they are kept simple. rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson, who was an American aeronautical and systems engineer and a pioneer in advanced aviation systems. He is recognized for his contributions to a series of important aircraft designs and "Aviation Week & Space Technology" ranked Johnson eighth on its list of the top 100 "most important, most interesting and most influential people" in the first century of aerospace.

The term "KISS principle" was in popular use by 1970. Variations on the phrase include: "keep it simple, silly," "keep it short and simple," "keep it simple and straightforward" and "keep it small and simple." It should be noted that I had my own version of the KISS principle: "keep it successfully simple."

Hey, if it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for me.

Our country is facing so many challenges today. Politics aside, it’s time to get back to the basics and simplify our solutions to what ails us. As I listen to all the rhetoric regarding the problems of our society, I notice one common denominator that appears to be missing from most of the conversations taking place today — family.

Our politicians talk about their own family and they readily credit their family roots, upbringing and key relatives for all their success and wisdom, but then forget to insert a foundation of family into their treatment plans for America. This is where the present dialogue really falls short. Politicians describe family values in terms of family assistance and conservative proclivities, but the ideal of family is an empty vessel politically unless it is linked to a relevant policy. What a shame.

Policies really aren’t relevant to family because to date our policies have failed to keep our families whole. In my "keep it successfully simple" opinion, focusing on the family is where we must begin our work to heal and restore our nation.

I love this quote from Theodore Hesburgh: "The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." Hesburgh was a priest and among many of his appointments was as the president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years. He died last year at the age of 97 and left a legacy of accomplishments and efforts to make the lives of others better.

What we need for our families are more fathers to uphold the value espoused by Hesburgh. No policy, program or politician is going to fix that. Only prayer, petition and an ongoing belief combined with effort that focuses on building families will help. Want to help? One way you can get involved is to join the efforts of Family Promise. You can learn more about Family Promise by calling them at 912-388-6522.

Focus on the family, my friends.

Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at

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