Back a lil’ spell, I wrote a post about correcting other people’s kids out in public and y’all ... well, some of y’all basically tore me a new one. Guess what? Hasn’t stopped me not one lil’ bit from keep on keepin’ on in what I consider my personal, civic, and communal duty. And when I see crap like this in the news, it confirms my mission.
There is something deeply wrong when such a large number of kids feel collectively so unafraid of authority, punishment, and just flat-out doing the wrong thing that they can pull a mob hit like this. It’s like something out of a sci fi movie. It’s freakin’ scary.
First things first: if you ever, ever see my daughter out there among that foolishness, you have my expressed permission to physically detain her. Don’t kill her — I’ll do that. But please feel free to put her tail on ice until I get there. I would hope a parent or guardian for every one of those kids would be making a similar statement.
What is going on with each of those out of control children that makes them think they are entitled to behave like that? Is it peer pressure? Is it bad parenting? Is it a sign that the rapture is indeed upon us? I mean, I know it got pushed back until October and all but dang, this does feel quite Armageddon-ish. When the youth are terrorizing innocent citizens, I feel like Bruce Willis should swoop down out of the sky somewhere and blaze them with some futuristic artillery.
What makes me even more pissed is that far too often in far too many of these news stories, it’s a bunch of unruly black kids. There’s no question that I am in love with my people. I say it all the time. But dammit, can we get ahold of our children?
When I was young (I know, I know, here we go — cue the eye-rolling), my cousins, kids who looked like us, and I? We were all mannerly. Even the little boys and girls who were clearly from the ‘hood were bad, but they knew blatant disrespect would not be tolerated, so they pushed it only but so far. There was still a certain degree of fear for adults and definitely for their parents, usually their mothers since a majority of us came from single-parent homes. I knew my mom was not the one to mess with, which is why I kept my portly tail out of trouble 99 percent of the time.
I think the source of this wild teen epidemic is the result of a combustible fusion of a few things. Excuse me while I break out the bullet points:
* This generation is born from a plentiful proportion of mothers who were too young to be having kids and either weren’t able to fully commit or weren’t mentally equipped themselves to dole the amount of discipline that needed to be wielded in their homes.
* We've vilified corporal punishment when some of these children needed a good ol' fashioned spankin' and a hug ages ago, both by the hands of someone who cares about them.
* There are too few fathers active in these kids’ lives and the ones who are there are often (not always, but too often) too busy patting themselves on the back for the little bit that they do rather than being completely effective.
* Community members are too afraid to speak up and check a 12- or 15-year-old child (because they are still in fact a child) when he or she is acting out of order. The fear is apparent all over their faces, but since when is it normal for grown people to be held hostage to kids’ bad behavior? It’s nuts.
* Lastly — and non-believers can click the red X in the right hand corner at this point — the further we get away from faith, the less of a point of reference these kids have and the less of a responsibility they feel when they do wrong. Ethics are best applied when they come from a spiritual base. So I don’t care if it’s a non-denominational prayer, a Buddhist chant, or making salaat in Islam: a connection to God will cut down on this brand of rampant, animalistic stupidity.
Why do you think this kind of scene is happening more frequently? And what can we do about it, both as parents and as community members?