Fifteen years ago our family moved to Missouri. It was fall and the colors were beautiful. We moved from Arizona where year round, it was dry and yellow. I had missed the season change from Pennsylvania. In Missouri, I felt like I was home.

Fifteen years ago our family moved to Missouri. It was fall and the colors were beautiful. We moved from Arizona where year round, it was dry and yellow. I had missed the season change from Pennsylvania. In Missouri, I felt like I was home.


I was thrilled to have green grass in our yard. We couldn’t grow grass in Arizona, even with an automatic sprinkler system watering the lawn every day. We’d cut the trees back, so the sun could help with grass growth. But it didn’t work. We could only grow cactus and rock, not grass.


After a few months in Missouri we learned that growing grass was easy and nice. We didn’t have to water or fertilize. Grass just grew on its own.


Anyway, we were living in Missouri about a year when I noticed this funny colored grass in the backyard. Up close, it didn’t look like grass. I supposed it was some kind of weed, so I tried spraying weed killer. It didn’t work, and the funny grass continued to grow.


Next, I tried the shovel and dug it out. Within a week it was back again. The boys suggested that the new grass or weed didn’t look too bad, and “at least it’s green.” I think they didn’t want to help me or miss the game.


Within a short time, the funny green grass was taking over the back yard. I tried adjusting the mower, fertilizing, and hand pulling. It didn’t work.


I bought all kinds of chemicals. They didn’t work. Some left brown spots in the lawn and some appeared to feed the funny green grass. I was stymied.


One day, while attempting to dig out the funny green grass, I motioned to my neighbor, Paul, and asked him what he thought was growing in my backyard. He smiled and answered back “crabgrass.” I thought Paul was calling me a name.


Paul smiled and suggested a specific chemical, one which could rid me of my crabgrass. He told me where to buy it and how to apply it. I was grateful.


It worked. I couldn’t believe it. I had to get to the root of the problem with the right stuff. Crabgrass is very resilient.


I began to read about crabgrass and this is what I learned.


Crabgrass is a major weed infesting the lawns of our communities. It has a tremendous survival reproductive capability. It can smother the health and well being of a beautiful lawn within a short period of time. A gardener can adjust his mowing, fertilize, hand pull, or topically treat with numerous chemicals his crabgrass and find very little success. One learns quickly that crabgrass cannot be eliminated until you get to the root of the problem.


Now, what is all of that about? Well, let me explain further.


Our communities are being infested with a similar weed. This weed is spreading rapidly and its growth is thick with crime, alcoholism, drugs, pornography, violence and declining moral standards. It is similarly smothering the health and well being of our homes, schools and communities.


Schools are purchasing metal detectors, surveillance cameras, security systems, canine patrol and police protection to lock students in, in hopes of locking problems out. Billions of dollars are being spent by our cities on the same topical treatments in an attempt to deal with the “crabgrass” in our communities. But “crabgrass” cannot be eliminated until you get to the root of the problem, the family.


So, what are we doing to eliminate the “crabgrass” in Jackson County?


Strengthening families through education, activities and support – and we’re about to begin on April 22.


We, through Jackson County Family Week, acknowledge that families have the primary responsibility for their children’s physical, intellectual, mental, social and moral development. As communities, we must share the responsibility with families to ensure that every child can succeed.


Along with the funny green grass, the community problems will fade when you get to the root and reinforce the family.