Friday, January 10, 2014

Slogans don't save kids from bullets....better parenting does!

“Good night. Don’t be rude. Say it back,” followed ten hours later by, “good morning,” followed by a gun shot at 3 pm the same day, that will be followed by nothing else.
These were the last Facebook posts from a 13 year old boy shot on his way to school.

What morbid curiosity led me to even look at these posts? What was I expecting to see?
Something…….something to offer an explanation or to stop my heart from breaking at the senselessness…..but really…..would anything be an answer to a life ended before it began?

The news is full of stories like these so why my outrage at this story? I didn't know this child or the shooter…..another life over for all intents and purposes.

I am outraged not by the senseless shooting……….but our community’s commitment to being trifling.
Let the backlash begin. I do not care. It needs to be said. And I am clearly not talking about every single person in the community, so stop….before you even start. But instead of saying NO to guns we need to be saying YES to parenting.

Wrong is the new right. Trifling is a way of life. We even have funny names for it…Ghetto...or Rachet; as if changing the name makes it something to aspire to. We have become entertainment. We post fight videos of our children and populate urban websites that do the same. We tune in to reality TV that tells of a reality I don’t see in the hard working folks I know.  We have allowed the story of brown people to be told by the most slovenly of our race and that is the story that is repeated. And that obscure story is quickly becoming the truth for far too many.

I know the many perils of our communities and won’t diminish them. I know that drugs and poverty have taken center stage and are the star in many a show. I know all of this but I still find no reasonable excuse for the blatant lack of parenting going on and anyone highlighting this issue getting torn down with all of society’s woes and excuses. So instead of saying no to guns (really….this should not even have to be in a normal conversation) let’s try saying yes to some of the basics:

  •             Say YES to monitoring your child’s social media pages. 13 year-olds talking proudly about not going to school, smoking weed, having sex…….where is the parent?
  •       Say YES to some sort of structured religion. Along with the liquor stores and check cashing joints we have churches…….not a bad place for Sunday morning and definitely better than the streets
  •       Say YES to READING! Before any video game, cell phone, boot or sneak….can I see a BOOK?
  •      Say YES to curfews. Ummm……sorry, this whole idea that 10, 11 o’clock is an ok curfew? For who It’s not. Come on people
  •       Say YES….my child did it. Because they all do….make mistakes, cheat, bully…’s how we approach correcting mistakes  that makes us into responsible adults or adult bullies and thugs
  •       Say YES to modeling decent behavior yourself. "Do as I say, not as I do," is a great saying but it does not work. If you are a laid up, lazy, weed smoking, Jerry Springer watching, cussing someone out at the store parent, chances are your child will follow suit
  •       Speaking of Jerry Springer……Say YES to turning the channel. I know we all have our guilty pleasure shows but can we agree to a lil less TV
  •       Say YES to getting some help….we all need it sometimes. A mentor, a confidante…..someone to ask question about how to do this parenting thing better
  •        Finally…we all need to say YES… you are worth having, loving, LIVING! The amount of negative commands and comments our children hear are as deadly as some bullets. They don’t show immediate, bloody wounds but the pain can be terminal and the aftermath just as deadly.

Forget about saying no to guns. Children shooting each other on the way home from school is a symptom of what is happening every night and day in the home they were headed to.  We need to focus on parenting…..our parents and their parents did better with less.

Only then, maybe, can this child’s words make a little bit of sense to me.
 “Good night. Don’t be rude. Say it back.”

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