Conflicts exist between what people think of other people and who they think should be versus who they are. I hear conservatives rant and rave about kids who commit crimes but won’t help come up with any solutions to stop them. More often than not the people I’ve talked to in government positions in Cedar Rapids who don’t think tax payers should be held responsible for juvenile delinquency. They believe other people’s children are “not their problem” and that those young people committing crimes should be paid for by their parents or guardians.
Where do we draw the line with the finger pointing so we can get a good look at the bigger picture? Parents are blamed and charged for the actions of their children while they are in the custody of a school. As many of us know things at the work place could be fine while things at home are shaky or vice versa. If a child becomes volatile in a classroom setting is it something that happened at home? If a kid acts out at home is something going on at school?
As a parent of four children I am well aware that there are laws that require parents to send their children to school. Seven out of 24-hours five days a week are spent in school settings for nine-months of the year. Parents are not the only authority figures in their lives for the first 18 years. Teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses, and even store clerks and those they see on television and the internet play important role in our young people’s lives. I recall several adults that I share traits with that are not in my genetic pool.
When will we hold the next generation responsible? Since we have made the determination parents aren’t responsible for every aspect of whom their children become we must question liability. Who should be held accountable for our next generation? When will we as a society realize those things we blame on other people are everyone’s problem? We should all be held accountable for the next generation and step up and do something now before it’s too late. When will we do what is right?
What if these kids don’t have parents? What if their parents are incarcerated? What if their parents are dead? Can you really blame kids whose parents made poor choices for their actions? Most agree that we collectively do not blame children for the actions of their parents yet the majority of people I know do blame parents for the actions of their children.
What happened to our society that the collective mentality is now “lock em’ up and throw away the key? Where has the parental authority gone? Whatever happened to respect? That respect we were taught to have for ourselves and others? Whatever happened to accepting responsibility for our own actions? Why can’t we seem to get a grip on the growing problem among the youth? When will our next generation become a priority? When will we, as a community, come to an accord on issues about the youth?
On one hand you have people saying they are tired of paying for those who won’t stop committing crimes yet do nothing to help solve the growing crime problems. With such a poor economy and unemployment on the rise you would think that these unemployed adults would have nothing better to do than spend some quality time with our youth to guide them and help them make better choices for our future.
Would you be willing to step up and take some responsibility for the next generation? Would you consider becoming a mentor or guide the youth in a direction that will improve everyone’s quality of life? Will you do this to better our society in spite of whose DNA runs through their veins or what social/ethnic class they come from? Many of these young people have no other avenues to choose from and end up choosing the thug life ultimately committing violent crimes as part of their gang initiation process.
Gangs are a national epidemic and one we are not immune to in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Last summer I spent a lot of time studying and tracking gang behavior in Cedar Rapids. What I found was startling. I know that our city departments mean well when they paint over messages these young people paint on our underpasses but painting over it will not solve anything. In fact it is my opinion that it fosters deviant behaviors.
We need to come up with solutions for these young people. Jail is not always the answer! As hard as it may be for some people to accept people who have limited or no income tend to compensate for these shortcomings by dealing drugs, gambling, or prostitution. With our unemployment rates as high as they are and the state cutting budgets like we have I am wondering what we are going to do.