Recently several landowners in the Mahoning Valley received large checks from gas-drilling companies for mineral rights. I'm sure these folks were not only elated by the money, but by the thought of having such a potential energy source right in their back yard.
These folks have been sitting on a ''gold mine'' without realizing it. Of course, the acquisition of the natural gas will depend on the effectiveness of the drilling or ''fracking'' process. I'm happy for these residents, and the anticipated economic boon to this whole region.
It causes me to be thankful for the unlimited natural resources contained in the earth. Before thinking of drilling for natural gas and / or oil, we've been able to drill for water - the basic sustainer of life. How amazing that water is attainable to all on this planet, but there's not a drop available on the moon.
Could not this same principle apply to human resources as well? There are hidden qualities in every human-being waiting to be ''tapped.'' The media is replete with violence, sex and foolishness, overshadowing these inner qualities. There's an epidemic of sensual frivolity and pleasure-madness. Just look at the present investigation of the alleged prostitution activity in some eight so-called ''Health Spas'' in our area.
Somehow we need to find our ''soul and conscience'' again - that character training we used to know. Remember when ''drilling'' had other meanings besides boring a hole in the ground? It involved ''training by repetition,'' by parents and teachers. What about the ''flash card'' drills in math, or even the Catechism at church?
Ask anyone with military experience to describe a ''drill instructor.'' Some of us had elementary school teachers that fit that description - remember? These were the teachers you hated at the time, but afterward you loved, because they ''dug'' the best out of you. They knew how to ''drill.''
Recently, Ray ''Boom-Boom'' Mancini addressed the Friends of Scouting breakfast in Howland. The Youngstown lightweight boxing legend extolled the high standards of the Boy Scouts, and their role in developing future leaders. He said, ''Faith, honor, perseverance and responsibility ... you have to be responsible for your actions in life. Everything you do you will have to answer for. ...'' He further expressed concern for young people who were seeking instant gratification without exerting the ''sacrifice and dedication'' needed to achieve their potential.
The Scout oath requires a young man to pledge his honor in doing his best ''to do his duty to God and his country, and to be reverent.'' Actors John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, both Scouts in their youth, were honored by President Ford at a benefit dinner in 1980. Mr. Stewart, who had earned Eagle Scout rank as a boy, received the Distinguished Scouter Award. Both of these men recited the Scout law without a hitch - they had been ''drilled.''
Commenting on ''Duty to God,'' Mr. Stewart said it was recognition that there is someone above this universe, who watches over it and us. It is a ''lifetime thank-you note our hearts send out in appreciation for the life that has been loaned to us here on earth.''
After John Wayne recited the Scout law, he commented on ''Reverent.'' To ''put it simply,'' he said, ''Believe in anything you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you're just biding time.''
While we're drilling for ''riches'' below the earth, let's not forget the wealth residing in individuals on the earth. We must return to the basics of ''duty'' to God, family, school, church and society. We cannot survive as a country apart from embracing the principles that made it great. We must not only drill for natural energy sources, but there's a desperate need to strike the depths of moral consciousness, producing a ''geyser'' of spiritual awakening.
Finnigan is a Howland resident.