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Restoring our Young People

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Once upon a time long, long ago, children were to be seen and not heard. A bit harsh maybe, but you can bet your sweet patootie there were no kids telling their mamas and papas what they weren't going to do.

A little time went by, and the sweet darlings were no longer required to be mute, but it was still the stringent policy of speak when you are spoken to. Yet again though, children exhibited acceptable manners and civility. So far, so good.

More time passed, and children began to be encouraged to participate in conversations as a part of their learning to navigate the ever enlarging world in which they would need to move and navigate. The youngsters still were admonished to stay out of grown folk's talk. (If you're of a certain age, you probably remember that phrase with smiling fondness.) We wanted our children to be erudite and confident in themselves. There was still a loose tether to keep them from getting too big for their britches, though.

And then I woke up one morning, and a mother was sharing with me that her nine year-old was telling

her what she, the child, would and would not wear. The mother was so distraught and told me that she didn't know how to handle the situation. I was speechless for about half a second before I asked that mother who was the parent and who was the child? That incident opened my eyes and ears, and I realized that the inmates had begun to run the asylum! We had somehow allowed ourselves to believe the idiocy put forth by experts (who had no children) that discipline infringed upon a child's creativity and expression. I think that the parents rather than the children were the true subjects of that experiment...to see how gullible and just how far afield we would go. Responsible parenting is hard work, and it feels good to be able to lay down a heavy load; and that's all well and good, but the parents forgot/chose not to pick the heavy load of good parenting back up again.

 

Well, we're way past reigning it in time, now. We have babies having babies on a regular basis; and parents trying to be best friends with their children and gain the child's approval. Say, what? Being an effective parent is no walk in the park, and sometimes you feel that your children don't like you... So? Look, there are enough kids of the appropriate age for your child to be best friends with; that is not your role. If you need a friend, join a bowling league, go to church, or hang out with the co-workers whom you like after office hours once or twice a month. Let's once again begin parenting so that our children can read at or above grade level. Have you ever considered how deeply ashamed a child who has a high school diploma, yet cannot read, is? That bravado they display is false, and something as elemental as being able to read can stir a positive spark that can lead a child away from the feeling of hopelessness that allows the deplorable state of kids killing kids with no compunction, whatsoever.

Your children are not on loan to you for you to try to be their friend, or to treat them as little adults (that means you don't curse your children out because they display childlike behavior). Your parental assignment is to raise them and teach them. Yes, shower them with love, but also include a healthy dose of discipline so that they will be equipped to become productive and proud members of society.

If we remember what real parenting is, we won't have to worry so much about pre-teen and teenage abortions. Getting patted down and not being allowed a purse on visitor's day at the prison won't be an integral part of the parenting experience. Unscheduled and unwelcome visits to the funeral parlor because yet another child was gunned down or beaten by peers will no longer be a common occurrence

Sometimes it's difficult to put the jack back into the box, but there are times when it's more than worth the effort. As stated earlier, we're way behind, but I refuse to believe that it's too late. We have lost so many children; let's make the choice that losing our children because we refused to do the hard thing is no longer an option.