Parents. Please read and join this conversation.

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Blogging, Community, doing good, Family, Life, Relationships, School
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***This one is for parents and other adults out there.  If you are a parent or adult, please read this, join the conversation, and share this with as many people as you can.***


This isn’t the post I had planned on doing this week.  I had planned a post about advice and the sources of that advice.  I might still do that post later, but this is too important.  This isn’t going to be one of those fun posts with pictures and music videos.  Sorry.


“You sit down and they have one of those revolvers on the table.  They put one bullet in and spin the thing [cylinder].  You pull the trigger.  If you win, you get $4,000.00.  If you die, your family gets $3,000,000.  $4,000.00 is a lot of money for me.”

“Sure, if I need to buy some X [the drug MDMA, also know as ecstasy] I can give a bj [oral sex] or a hand [manual stimulation] [for the money].  I’m not hurting anybody, and I can’t get a job to pay for it.  [You] do what you have to do.”

These are actual conversations I’ve heard from children as young as 14 this week.  The bracketed and italicized entries are mine, designed to clarify what was actually said.  Pretty shocking stuff.  The most surprising thing about all of this?  That I wasn’t surprised by hearing any of this.  Sure, maybe these kids were lying, but they really had no reason to do so.  Nobody was impressed, intimidated, or proud.  Besides, I’ve heard these same claims before from other kids.  Eventually you have to stop calling our kids liars and start addressing issues.

This is the reality for many young people out there.  Somewhere along the line, we have allowed our children to believe that this type of behavior is okay.  We have allowed our kids to believe that money and drugs are important enough to do anything for.  We did this.

In talking with those students, I questioned them on why this behavior is okay when it wasn’t  for generations before theirs.  I wasn’t making any judgements.  I really wanted to know where this idea came from.  The second student had a mother who prostituted herself for money and drugs.  The first student believed that they were trying to help the fam in some way.  If they won, four-grand pays a lot of bills.  If they lost, the family would be set for a while.

Of course, when dealing with criminal elements, trusting them generally proves to be a bad policy. 

I’m pissed here.  I don’t even know where to begin on how pissed off I am.  And I hope you are pissed off too.  But what are we going to do about it?  What can be done?

I don’t know if there are any answers that will absolutely answer those questions.  I’m not even sure of all the questions.  See, I don’t have any kids.  That is a choice.  But I deal with kids every day at various levels of maturity and development.  I deal with the hard kids.  Also a choice.

So parents and adults, what can we do?  How can we make sure that we don’t have to hear these stories anymore?  Here are my thoughts:

  • It starts at home, but it doesn’t end there.  This is a bigger issue.  Leaving the issue at home stops any chance that the problem will be stopped.
    • At home, teach your children about what is important and what isn’t.  What is important?  That’s something that you have to decide for your family.  One suggestion is that kids need to be taught that certain things, once given, can never be regained.  They need to know that giving a bj or a hand-job puts an absolute value on something that is irreplaceable:  innocence.
    • At school, the place outside of home where kids spend the most time, hold the employees feet to the fire to make sure they are teaching the values that you hold as important.
      • I belong to a system where many are fighting against the people over money.  That system is called the public school system.  You need to make sure that the system stops putting money in front of doing their jobs.
  • There is right and wrong.
    • We live in a society where everything is okay.  We are permissive for everything.  “Hey!  I’m not hurting you, so what’s the big deal?”  The big deal is that what you are doing is wrong.  It’s wrong and I don’t want my kids around it.
  • Fear can be a great motivator.
    • When I was young, when I was doing something wrong, I didn’t care if the police found out.  I was terrified of what would happen if my parents found out.  Kids today have no fear of either police or parent.  Kids with no fear have no problem putting a loaded gun to their head and pulling the trigger.
    • Kids need and want to be punished for bad behavior.  Society wants you to leave the kids alone.  This society is the same one that tacitly approves of many of the things that hurt kids.

Finally, the next time you are in a store or mall and see a parent striking or yelling at a misbehaving child, don’t approach to tell them how they are wrong.  Also, don’t avert your eyes and pretend nothing is happening.  At some point, after the situation is dealt with, go and tell the parent that you understand and support them.  This person isn’t abusing their children.  Nobody decides, “I haven’t abused my children today, and I need milk.  If only there was some way to solve both problems…, I know, to the grocery store!”  These people are trying to make sure that their children never end up in my classroom.  They are trying to make sure that their kids aren’t selling their bodies for drugs later on.

I’m sure there are other things that need to be done, I just don’t know what they are.  As I asked before, please share this with parents and other adults.  Put your two cents in as well. 


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