Community Issues or People Issues? You decide…

I have continued to listen to the comments on the blogs, calls I receive, emails and various conversations over this past month.  I see a continued theme in Rockford…”Blame”.  I continue to ask myself as a newcomer to this community as to why people comment so negatively about their community.  I ask myself is it the community or is it the people that have the issue?  Everywhere I go I am surrounded by a pattern of blame and anger that has resulted into a negative feeling about the place we live.  So which is it folks…are we the 7th worst city (community) in the Nation OR do we have the 7th worst attitude (negativity about our community) in the Nation?

I just don’t see how we have become a people that play the blame card for everything that goes wrong.  When will we come together and begin supporting each other to solve the various issues we face.  Children are growing up in a community that spews a negative feeling. So why would they be motivated to think any different?

I have worked for the YMCA for 20 years in 4 different communities and through my experiences I continue to see us live a selfish life that fosters an attitude of negativity.  As a result I talk to students who take on this same attitude and grow with the repeated cycle of blaming everyone else for life’s problems or community issues that we face.



  1. Cathy Johnson

    I have read this post four times now, and gone back and re-read the two prior to this, and the comments. I find nothing helpful in this latest post. It seems to me that you are “blaming” the Rockford community for “playing the blame card for everything that goes wrong.” This useless circular pattern of blaming does need to stop somehow, but how is that going to happen? Not by people in positions of power and influence lecturing to those who are not. In my comment to your post on the divide created by the Rock River, I suggested that churches might be tapped into as a source of coordinating community efforts to tackle some the problems that people continually complain about. If not churches, some other entity is going to have to take this on. General, diffuse challenges to the community to think more positively are probably not going to have the effect you are hoping for. Specific plans, tasks and direction is needed for people to rally around. Without that, I would not expect significant change in this “blame game” anytime soon.

  2. Cathy… I couldn’t agree with you more. It does need to stop. My hope is to encourage conversation and through this conversation develop reasonable solutions. We have a great community. My family loves Rockford and I continue to believe that everything we do can and will create change.

    I have met great leaders and individuals that care deeply about our city. When asked to write about community issues my reason for accepting is in hopes that we will all realize the personal power we have to assist or lead the kind of change we need. I have been confronted with so much tradition, lots of negativity and continued reminders of crime, education, politics and poverty that leads people to quit. I agree whole heartedly that our churches, our leadership, and our community need to rally against change. And I have been involved with many leaders who are working countless hours to do just that.

    In trying to figure out the reasons for the negativity I have discovered that so many talk but not walk in their persuit to make changes. The kind of change that will solve problems long term and not the kind that only prolong the inevitable. The first change is the attitude that comes so strongly from people who have quit and ignored what we all see right in front of us.

    We have 600 homeless children in our school systems, unemployment that sky rocketed when businesses chose to leave our community, education that fails our children and islands of people left without transportation. This is only a few of the issues we face but we cannot move forward if we do not come together. My hope is to bring out this need and continue in my prayer that we will not ignore our own responsibility as individuals to assist for what is right.

    I may be a fool as some have called me, or in la la land as one caller insist… But I believe that if we don’t all get involved by mentoring students, teaching the hungry, caring for our neighbor, supporting our leaders or rallying behind our education system that we will continue to breed the negativity that I hear from so many.

    I am excited and honored to be apart of this community and hope to be apart of Rockford for many years to come.

    Thanks for taking part!

  3. It seems to me that the biggest part of the problem is that we all tend to look at every problem as being too big to solve, so we chose to do nothing. What we need to see is see the small role that we can play in making change happen. The first task is to take responsibility for yourself and your family, beyond that, you can find small ways to help the community. For example, I cannot fix the education system, but I can chose to mentor and tutor one student. It seems like a small thing, but to that student, it is huge. If enough people determine to make a small difference and take action, big changes can and will happen.

  4. I have been involved in both community service as a community member who cares and in community service through ministry…and I can tell you it does not matter how many churches or organizations try to help or get out there and change things if the community doesnt stand behind them and get out there with them. I have had numerous events, projects, ministry opportunities in this city and opened them up to the community for thier help, ideas and service and I usually get no response. The crazy thing is these events draw 1,000 plus every single time. What better opportunity to help change things when you are among 1,000 plus other community members…being the change is harder than being part of the problem which seems to be the mindset here….denial is huge in Rockford, I ask people why they arent involved they say “It doesnt matter if I show up or not it will have no impact on the community” Yet these very people will not miss voting for thier politicians for the world…that to me makes no sense….you think your vote counts in the country but your help toward change in a city of only 150,000 wont make a difference…well Mike listen, I got your back, you are one of the leaders in this community whom will take the most heat of anyone this community has seeen in a long time because you have a heart for change, for people and for this city and you are not even from here! Stand strong, stay in the word and stay commited to change. When enough people see your heart for thier children and this community they may just want to be the “Change”

  5. Elizabeth

    The constant negativity is a major problem. Selfishness is another one. Just read the comments on this paper and in other media. We all need to make an effort to make things better and not to continue wringing our hands and complaining. Rockford has many good aspects to it. However, it seems it is always let someone else do it or give it to me without my making any effort. Everytime something new is started there are many naysayers. Take some personal responsiblity and do something to make things better for everyone.

  6. Karen Lyddon

    I have lived in Rockford over 55 years. I too, am sick of the negativity! I think people would be less selfish if they knew exactly HOW to help. In small town newspapers, it is common to have a “community needs” column…..everything from a family needs a washer/dryer to a wheelchair. Although these are small requests, they do get people involved! …..I often think of the number of homes just sitting there for sale, and empty. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a request for a donation of a HOME/HOMES……and see if someone would donate one? I think it would happen. The plight of those 600 homeless children might be reversed. Hence, my plea to the newspaper is to consider a NEEDS column…..DAILY!! A column like this could also include “services needed.” ……another word about negativity……I am really trying not to judge…..but, I’ve never met so many mean, ornery, cheap, seniors as in Rockford! Some people blame it on the stoic Swedes. I don’t know where to put the BLAME! But, bad attitudes are pervasive!! Okay….now, you can bash me for my politically incorrect statement about seniors.

  7. There’s an old parable that feels relevant here. It goes like this:
    Back in the days where people mostly walked or rode horses from town to town: there were two villages about a days walk apart, along a major trail that connected regions. Travelers from all around often passed through these villages, sometimes over-nighting or staying a while to rest and rejuvenate, and even engage in local commerce.
    A man departed the first village for the second. About half way he encountered an old man resting on a bench. He stopped to chat with the man and asked: “How are the people in the next town?”. The old man responded “How were they in the town you just left?”. The young man paused for a moment and responded: “They were horrible. Crooks, liars, bad people.” The old man then responded: “I think you’ll find about the same in the next town.” The young man departed. About 5 minutes later another young man came along the old man. The young man asked the same question as the last. “How are the people in the next town?” and the old man responded, “How were they in the last town?” The young man answered “Great people, I really liked them. People I would enjoy calling my neighbors someday.” The old man responded “I think you’ll find about the same in the next town.”

  8. AmazingScott

    I’d be interested in knowing how a change in my admittedly bad attitude will stop our elected leaders from taking bribes- it doesn’t matter WHO, I believe they’re ALL crooked, every last one. This is the single most corrupt state in America, yet our local leaders have the media wrapped around their fingers and there hasn’t been a single report of malfeasance in over 20 years.

    And how will a change in attitude make those same officials stop lying to us about crime being down when we can clearly see that it is up and a lot of it is being suppressed or ignored by the media?

    And the local media is so lame that a friend who reviews TV for a national publication just chuckles and shakes his head. Should I continue watching the slow-motion train wreck that is Gatehouse Media (6 cents a share, what a bargain!) as it crashes and burns (billion dollar balloon payment due in 2014) or should I just walk away?

    I just want to live my life and be happy; I don’t want to spend the next 20 years like I did the last 20 trying to fix it, only to see it was all wasted effort. The simplest and most cost-effective solution is to get out of Rockford, period. Which is what most people are doing, obviously…

  9. Scott,
    Unfortunately you seem to run from problems…and if you move your problems will follow…I think there is something deeper going on in your head, maybe you have been hurt in the past and dont trust people…but none the less, our city may be corrupt, there may be a lot of things that you cannot change…but your outlook on the city, the people in it and how you react can be fixed…the way you react and the rest of us act and the way we treat topics like this are being observed…probably by kids who will one day being running this town…do you want them to see men like you and others giving up hope? Or do you want them to look at your comments and be inspired and may be take action…the thing is we all have a bigger impact on others than we think we do, people are always watching our character, our attitudes, our reactions…you may not care what others think and sometimes that is valid but on the internet, the news, the paper, you really should think about how your negativity may change a kid’s view on this city…just a thought

  10. Rachel

    If you continue to have an attitude like AmazingScott maybe you do need to leave because, while I understand his frustration, I don’t get how you can’t find ONE good thing to hang on to -there’s always hope. You can’t fix the entire state of Illinios or city of Rockford’s problems but why don’t you “do for one what you wish you could do for everyone”? This eliminates the excuse of “I just don’t know how to help” The Rockford Rescue Mission puts out a newsletter that regularly list their needs – every single church or social service agency probably has the same kind of list. There are so many volunteer opportunities in Rockford- just call the United Way, Salvation Army, Rockford Rescue Mission, Rockford Sharefest….there are 4 to start with. Just do it!
    Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.

  11. Being a (white) native of Rockford and having moved to LA 10 years ago after forty years of giving Rockford a try, I look back with some perspective.

    It is amazing and sad to me how stuck in small mindedness toward all types of minorities Rockford people are. It just must be a hold over from the days of previous genreations. In LA, there is so much diversity that one just has to geow into a new attitude. I had to unlearn my majority status and accept all type of diversity. In our operating rooms we have a huge variety of people and we are all e richer for it.

    Sadly, I just think Rockford has a long, long way to catch up to reality. I hate to say it, but I can hardly go back to my old home town now that my eyes are open.

  12. I am very cautious to take a stance on Rockford, IL as the city itself. Its easy to go one way or another, and it will waver — so I don’t really care to engage in that conversation. However, I believe in the people of this community, and that is something that is not constrained within the boundaries of the city limits because the impact of our city reaches the world over. Posts like this, gives credence to the people who feel our problems are unique to us: stifled by manufacturing loss, infrastructure woes, crime, etc.

    If we continue to debate if we’re good/bad, that’s a cyclical debate. Don’t engage in it. What we need to do, is raise our eyes a bit and look towards the horizon of where we want to be. Embrace our youth and know that our young professionals are the future of our city — engage them early, and re-enforce the strengths we have now, and empower them build upon the successes of our past.

    Its not hard, but if you continue to raise these discussions, even trying to charge yourself with lifting a community, there will always be people there sweeping the legs out from underneath you. Blanket statements can have holes torn in them with a single cut; it’s a lot harder to defeat an army.

  13. SureThing

    If you want change in Rockford you better grab a snickers. I don’t want to sound like Nancy Negative here but Rockford just isn’t offering much anymore. In my opinion, Rockford died when the industrial jobs left. People became bitter and with no money, no jobs, property taxes going up, crime going up, it just became more an issue. To me it’s like finding an old car in a junk yard that needs pieces to get it’s life back. The engine we need is jobs. Jobs will get Rockford going again. There has to be a change from industrial into some other service though. The parts we need are a good leader, better property taxes, better roads, and schools. This pieces our classic but nothing is finished until we get some paint on her. When you have those other things done everything comes together. You get a better shine to your situation here. More jobs, more money in the community, more affordable living, more for our kids to enjoy, and we can see the bright colors the city offers. These steps will help. Right now we have a frame with no wheels. Rockford is a dying town and the people died long before it.

  14. Paul77

    Attitude and inaction are the biggest problems we have as a community. We have a “can’t-do” attitude and we tend to be a very risk-averse community. I am pretty conservative but realize that unless we dream big and act boldly, we will always limp along. We have tended to invest too little into too many things and never attempted excellence in a particular area. Of course the half-done efforts of the past have failed! We were too conservative to go for it!

    As for accusations of bribery and corruption by our elected officials: produce some real evidence of misconduct and push for prosecution or keep quiet. Without proof, it is just more justification and excuse-making for doing nothing. “The system is corrupt, so I won’t even try.” is a lame excuse.

    We have people who are working to make things better, trying to be leaders, taking risks and that’s what it takes. More and more people are doing this each day and each day Rockford becomes a little bit better.

    Rockford’s past is one of hard-working, blue collar folk making a good living working for a few strong local industrialists. They kept us fed, housed, working, and stable if not happy. They were our leaders- almost like feudal lords, and we citizens never learned to lead or solve problems. We were happy to be provided for and were comfortable not having to make tough decisions. The strong men got old, sold out to larger corporations, or closed up shop in the ’80s, and here we are. A generation or so later and we are just starting to develop our own citizen-leaders. We hold our community’s future in our hands. We can work to make it better or we can sit and sulk, making excuses for our own inaction.

    I have gotten off my a** and since I have, I find that I like Rockford more and more. Do I wish there were more to do? More economic opportunities? More educational opportunities and achievement? Sure! BUT we ARE making progress one person, one small business, one project at a time.

  15. Nancy in Rockford

    Mike, I’ve been reading your blog and just have to comment. As a resident of Rockford for over twenty years, I feel qualified to give an opinion. Firstly, the sense of entitlement is not unique to Rockford; it is like a cancer growing all throughout America. People have lost their appetite for hardwork, becoming victims of the social programs designed to help them get a head start. You see, the head start has turned into a lifestyle. The jobless rate is high here. Shockingly so. The unfortunate thing is that the real problem is not in being unemployed, but in being unemployable. Less than 19% of our residents have college degrees. Our leadership has turned a blind eye to the true needs of this city. A riverwalk would be a delightful thing if the roads you drove on to get there weren’t falling apart. Too much nepotism has cost this city dearly. The sense of despair comes from people not kowing where to start. I am a little offended by your blog. Really, people are still talking about the river being the great divide? I dont’ belive it. Negativity? Live here longer than a year, then have something to say. Although you may never feel the growing pains most Rockfordians do. Many people would find this city and their lives far more palatable if they made $135,000 + as you do. Don’t judge us until you really have walked a mile in our shoes. As CEO of the YMCA you have the perfect leadership opportunity to enhance our city one event at a time. So, what have you got? If you build it we just may get involved.

  16. I have to agree with Scott. I moved out of there over a year ago and it was the best decision I ever made! Is rockford 100% bad? No there are some good things, but the bad FAR outweigh any of the good. The schools are so horrible that you cannot send your children there. So much crime. Crazy high taxes! I have a house double the price and size I had in Rockford and the taxes are a third of what they cost in Rockford! I also am able to send my child to our neighborhood school. So between property taxes and private school education for 2 children that was a huge savings. Gas is also always between .50 and .70 cheaper a gallon than Rockford. The roads are not falling apart. We have a downtown that you can actually go down and enjoy without fear of being robbed or worse! I do not know a single person who has moved away from the Rockford area and missed it or wanted to go back. The people are also much friendlier and happier in general here. It seemed like everyone walked around with a chip on their shoulders in Rockford. Mike I am sure that soon you will get sick of all your wasted energy in trying to do what so many before you have tried and failed at….trying to make Rockford great! Also you cannot fix the ghetto mentality that so many have in that town. Even with education, which they have access to, why work for anything when you can live for free off the good ole state of Illinois! Free housing, utilites, food, cash assistance, free school lunches, free cell phones, disability etc. Too many loopholes that so many people take advantage of. I am all for helping someone out, but when generation after generation live off of the welfare system things have to change.

  17. Nancy,
    Awesome post! I agree!

  18. Gary Cecil

    Actually, there is not much going on in Rockford except a lot of decay and just the same old things to do and not much new. That’s not to say that city leaders are not trying hard…they are. I was raised and attended school in a small town in southern Illinois (Edwardsville) and things were great in every way. Education, sports, city pride, weather, low cost of living, low real estate taxes, almost non-existent crime, etc. Almost the exact opposite in all areas as is in Rockford. I moved to Rockford and finished high school (Auburn) in the early sixties and things seemed pretty good except for the weather. But as I got older and really started paying attention to things it became apparent that Rockford just wasn’t progressing but regressing instead. I think a lot of the ‘togetherness’ as a city went away when downtown disappeared as malls started to take over and downtown ‘makeovers’ failed one after another…after another and caused residents to lose confidence in city leaders. Then the Corporations stated leaving, then the jobs left with them, then the economy went south while crime, cost of living, taxes all continued to rise…and still are. I lived in Rockford for fifty years. My sister lives in southern California, her house is worth over a million dollars and her real estate taxes are less then a third what mine are (were) in Rockford and conditions in her city are just the opposite as they are in Rockford. I now live in Tampa, FL. and things are great here. The economy is buzzing, home prices are increasing, the demand for housing here is approaching being more than the supply and of course the weather here is always sunny and warm. It seems that a great majority of Rockford residents are lifelong residents and since downtown went away along with the other good things about Rockford back then without other good things replacing them they got a bad attitude. And who could blame them??

  19. Rachel

    Lots of people willing to complain and move out of Rockford but no one willing to take any action to do something positive. Most of these posts are part of the problem….selfishness….”what is Rockford going to do for me? not “what am I going to do for Rockford?” If you’re not part of the solution (even in the smallest, most inconsequential way) you’re part of the problem.

  20. JGordon

    How about worst people? Is worst people an option? I vote for worst people.

  21. I was in downtown Rockford today for automobile service and decided to walk around. It was difficult to find a place to buy a coffee to go. A good percentage of the buildings are vacant and run down. My guess is entrepreneurs will not open stores downtown because there is no foot traffic for fear of being robbed and/or customers robbed going to and from their cars. Although the robberies are now spread throughout the greater Rockford area along with the home invasions and drive-by random shootings. The central bus station was the only area where there were people moving about but maybe that is because the police station and court were generating most that traffic. There are jobs available to those who WANT to work. The jobs are not necessarily top paying, easy work or perceived as glamorous but jobs none the less. Folks won’t go to work unless they get paid $25 for little or no effort. Why work you can get by on public assistance? I agree with the above comment addressing the need for jobs. The place to start to fix the problem is at home.

  22. AmazingScott

    @DanP: “Unfortunately you seem to run from problems…and if you move your problems will follow.” Actually that’s not true- I moved 20 minutes away and I now live in a town with wonderful neighbors of all types, many of whom hold advanced degrees, elected leaders who are everything that one could hope for and not the least bit corrupt, almost zero crime, plus top notch local schools. It’s like heaven, a whole different world than Rockford where I have my workshop in a building that’s worth less now than when I bought it 17 years ago and the taxes are more than double what I pay here at home.

    What you don’t realize is that I spent 15+ years working for a better Rockford and supporting the music and arts scene; I even have a RAMI Hall of Fame award on my wall that I cherish deeply. Rockford has so much going on in that area, and very few people in Rockford support it. All of our best musicians have to go elsewhere to make a living; we cheer Cheap Trick not because they succeeded but because they came BACK (at least 3/4 of them did) and gave a lot back to the community, yet not one single media outlet even mentioned that Miles Nielsen won an Oscar a couple of weeks ago- this is a guy you can catch in the bar for a $5 cover, and people ignore him. No wonder all the intelligent, talented people are leaving as fast as possible.

    And to those who are saying ‘Oh Scott you shouldn’t feel like that’- you sound like abuse victims trying to justify staying in an abusive relationship when it is clearly the wrong course of action. Mike, if you’re earning 135K then you are completely out of touch with most Rockford residents- try living here on 25K and see what your experience is like…

  23. AmazingScott

    @Gary Cecil: “But as I got older and really started paying attention to things it became apparent that Rockford just wasn’t progressing but regressing instead.” Your words echo those of John Reynolds, first governor of Illinois, who wrote in 1852: “The Winnebagoes, or “Puants,” as the French called them, from their unsavory and “ancient fishy smell,” inhabited the country west of Green Bay. The old French maps often call this bay “Le Bait fa Puants” for these Indians.

    These Indians occupied a section of the northern part of Illinois, on Rock river; but their country, for the most part, lay north and east of that in Illinois. They were a tolerably large nation ; but dirty and savage in their habits. If we can say anything of the Indians—that they advanced in civilization—it will be nearer true to say: the Winnebagoes advanced backwards.”

    Things never change.

  24. Deb Spears

    My husband and I moved to Rockford 28 years ago and it has been a great place to raise a family. Two of my four children have stayed in the area and begun to raise their own families. Here’s what we enjoy about Rockford: We’re close to major interstates and a major airport that make travel easy. There are 2 major universities as well as several smaller educational institutions within an hour. We have a tremendous access to quality health care. A thriving arts community exists in Rockford. The downtown area possesses a number of locally owned, fabulous, small restaurants. The park district programs, Discovery Center, Burpee Museum, Rockford Art Museum, and Anderson Gardens are worth your time to visit over and over. If you like sports (and we do) there’s the Ice Hogs, River Hawks, and Foresters. There’s plenty of high school sports available (and usually plenty of room in the stands) to watch and plenty of opportunity to participate in park district leagues for all ages and ability levels. I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you can’t find something to do in Rockford, it’s your fault, not the town.
    The public schools are what you make of them. There are a multitude of great teachers killing themselves to educate your children. If you want a good education it’s there to be had in every single school.
    There are well paying jobs available. Take the initiative to find out what they are and get yourself employable.
    Bottom line, if you look at Rockford as a half empty kind of town that’s what you’ll find and you’ll be miserable. If you’re a half-full kind of person you’ll see and embrace the positive and help to make it even better.

  25. monkey

    Well said Deb Spears! We need more people with that attitude because everything you said is right on. Most of the problems that Rockford has are found in other communities as well.

    AmazingScott: Judging from your description of where you live (20 mins away), I’m going to assume Roscoe/Rockton is where you’re living, unless perhaps you’ve gone south to Byron. In either case, you understand, don’t you, that as Rockford goes, so goes Roscoe/Rockton/Byron, etc. Rockford is the hub of this regional wheel and the small towns are simply bedroom communities that only succeed if Rockford does.

    My family is thriving in Rockford. We have far more house that we would in the overpriced markets of R/R and Byron. My wife and I have advanced degress, good jobs, and our kids have excellent teachers in the public schools and are thriving. We are active in the community and look at our role as to give something back to our community, not to bury our heads in the sand and complain. If more people did the same, our community might be able to overcome some of these longstanding issues.

  26. AmazingScott

    Sorry monkey- we’re farther west than that. Judging from your description it sounds like you’re in the same boat as Mike- completely out of touch with the average Rockfordian. My guess is that neither of you will stay here; in order to advance in your personal lives it will be necessary to move elsewhere, probably in the next 5-10 years. Good luck with that…

  27. 1sweetswede

    I can’t help but wonder why our community leaders were against a gambling casino which would have provided jobs, tax dollars and overflow to the local businesses and yet allow strip clubs and massage parlors and so called lingerie modeling businesses all over town. In family neighborhoods. Blocks away from a grade school for convenient recruitment of further daughters to demogogue. What type of people are we attracting to our community with those types of businesses? Are there tax dollars being collected from the strippers underwear or the lingerie shops or masage parlors? I think not. How many of our elected officials and community leaders and employees are profiting from and/or patronizing these places? Is that why they’re here? Does no one else realize that such is not the case in most communities? Sex addicts and pedophiles love our community. There is a direct correlation between the fact that we allow these businesses to thrive and the fact that we have one of the highest rates of sex crimes in the nation!

  28. monkey

    1Sweetswede: First of all, find us some stats on that statement about sex crimes at the end of your rant? Hard core crime stats from a legitimate source, please. If that’s true, then back it up with a source.

    Secondly, for the record, community leaders, with very few exceptions, are all in for a casino. Where have you been lately? Check out the website; rockfordcasinocoalition.com and learn a little bit more before you speak. Our community is lobbying hard for passage of the gaming bill and, should the bill pass, Rockford will get a casino.

  29. 1sweetswede

    According to statistics the national rate for sex crimes, specifically rape is .27 per 1000, in Rockford it is .72 per thousand.

    Yes, now finally we have some working hard to bring a Casino here. My question still remains why was no one protesting a strip club on the then main drag of Rockford. State Street Station used to be a Diner. Then one day it became a Strip Club. Right in the middle of Rockford, near families. Why was no one upset about that element? Why is that acceptable? Rockford accepts the belittling and degrading of our daughters. What does that teach the young girls growing up here? What is their value? Especially if they know their father habitually patronizes such a place!

  30. 1sweetswede

    One of the reasons for a high crime rate is the lack of opportunity. Unemployment rates directly correlate with crime; as does a pay scale which does not allow a person enough income to have shelter food and essentials. If families are spending all their time surving there is little time left for their own children let alone to be supportive of anyone else’s. I believe in the old addage it takes a couple to have a child, it takes a community to raise a child.

    The top executives have a comfortable income, beyond comfortable. Do they not realize that they have nothing without the hard work and dedication of everyone in every position? All are neccesary in order for a business to thrive. All are necessary in order for a society to function. There is a huge disparity between the top income earners and the rest. At the YMCA does your pay scale reflect equal importance? Do you give equal opportunities to women as men? If you prefer experience and education for a particular position, does it pay accordingly? I do understand that the higher up the position, the more skills, education, intellect, responsibility and stress is incorporated into that position and compensation should reflect that. I do not think that the everyone else should have to work two jobs just to survive. That is part of the problem with the children of this community as pertains to lack of discipline. If both parents do nothing but work and take care of the everyday responsibilities and no time left except to sleep, when do they have time or energy to spend time with their children?

  31. 1sweetswede

    I will have to say that I also noticed a phenomena in Rockford which was foreign to me prior to living here. There is a culture of parents who brag about how they spoil their children. I never really heard anyone bragging about how they spoil their children prior to living in Rockford. Not all parents of course, but too many. Spoil them by lack of expectations, through spending lavish amounts of money on them even if they can’t afford it (at the expence of perhaps a college fund) and laughing at undesirable behavior when they are toddlers and preschool. Then they get into school and the rest of the world and guess what, the rest of the world is not going to accept undesirable behavior and is not going to buy you gifts you did not earn. I also see a lot of grown ups working very hard to have the appearance of wealth. Over extending themselves finacially just so the can go out into the community and appear to have more money than they do. Who cares?! Why try to impress others in such a way?

    This also leads into the crime rate. Unrealistic expectations of being deserving of things you do not work for, and an expectation of acceptance of behavior which is unnaceptable.

  32. JGordon


    You complain about employment, but you could always go to work at State Street Station. They probably make pretty good money there.

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