We have many social issues here in America…big news….I know? (sarcasim) To me, one of the most disturbing is our youth today.
I look at children today and I am absolutely convinced that we as a nation have gone astray. It’s an odd position to be in at this ripe age of 27 to talk about the youth, when in many ways I still consider (more like cling on) to being a youth myself.
However, when I look at my childhood in the 80’s and 90’s compared to children in the last 10 years I almost marvel at the difference. I am convinced I am part of the last generation to know what it means to “clean your plate” because of starving kids in Africa, or to “be home before the street lights come on”, as an indicator of what time we should come home. Those cultural and generational understandings have more in common with my parents and their parents childhood than the children of today.
I reflect on these things because I believe that it highlights a stark difference in the mentality and behavior in children today versus those of yesteryear i.e. pre-nintendo….. Children then were more creative and optimistic about life, we had structure, and most importantly parenting, even those like myself who came from a “broken” family.
The lack of these things today has created a generation of children who are no longer children except in age, are not creative as the TV tells them what to do, and are very pessimistic about life (not that our society helps change that much) and parents are just not parents anymore, but then again, if momma had you when she was 15 and dad isn’t around and grandma is only 35 herself….well….
At any event the point of this rant is that there have been two recent news items that have crossed my path one I posted yesterday on my articles of interest writing for 11/19/07 and the other I plan to post later today. The disturbing link between the two that sparked this diatribe is the subject matter and the subjects more importantly of these news items. In both articles rape is the topic, which in of itself unfortunately is almost as American as Apple Pie these days, but the jaw-dropping part is the fact in both cases the accused are young boys between 8 and 13!
This is a very troubling situation because the victims are also young, one is 6 and the other 11.
What is happening to our children that has their minds focused on such things? I have 6, 9, and 11 year old all boys, and to think that there are boys their age that are going around doing these things is almost unbelievable.
I use the word almost, because I understand cause and effect. When you have such a moral breakdown in society where sex is the number one agenda and the value of women is non-existent it’s not that hard to imagine why these young minds are geared toward such behavior. Add in the toxic mix of the breakdown of the family and lack of parenting and it really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
I look at my boys who are homeschooled and have strictly monitored television (no more than a couple of hours a day) and I can see a stark and pointed difference between them and their peers. Now I’m not trying to engage in the homeschooling versus public/private school debate, however I can see that when my boys interact with other children, it’s like apples and oranges. My boys love to read and discuss science and Islam, others talk about the latest music video on BET, my children have never even seen BET (thank God) and really don’t have a clue about music in general except what I let them hear which isn’t much (I’ve become a little prudish 🙂 ).
My point is that I believe my mantra throughout my blogging “career” is still true: Images have effects. When these boys and girls see nothing but sex and adult themes all the time, when they have to “grow-up” in order to survive, it should be of no wonder that they pursue carnal desires instead of those in which God intended for us.
This is where my obvious religious bias comes in. This is why I know the Bible is correct when it talks about as parents we are tasked with raising our children according to the path in which they must go. This is why as a Muslim I believe our teaching that we are all born sin-less and learn to go against God also rings true. These children didn’t learn these behaviors through osmosis. If their were situations, institutions, and parents that nurtured the submission to God present in their beings since birth, then I wouldn’t be writing this right now, however when there are images contrary to that, which guide and teach them adversly, we see the results of which I am writing today.
The solution resides with us as parents, a community, a nation, and ultimately the world. We have to reach down and utilize the discipline necessary to help raise these children. We have to seek guidance from our Creator and leaning on that as our bedrock seek to change this situation. Practically, we need to restrict television and movies, encourage reading, embolden our teachers and institutions toward uplifting our children, create substantial after school institutions, and not be afraid to mentor, teach and guide these youth, especially the at risk children and teens.
Now we have a situation where two little girls have been robbed of their innocence, a 13 year old who is being treated as an adult and has lost his life to the system, and 3 other little boys who’s childhood and teens will be tainted as criminals. It’s sad on so many levels. I believe these girls and their families need counseling and mentors and so do these boys. I hate that we live in a system that wants to lock children away rather than help them. These boys don’t need jail, they need help, counseling, and proper guidance. But to tell a 13 year old that he won’t have another chance at freedom until the age of 51 is disgusting IMHO. I believe in justice, but it should be JUST. These children are already destroyed, instead of complete annihilation, we should be trying to repair them.