So yet another story of some kids being rowdy and disrespectful and abusive to innocent bystanders. It was this past July 4th when we heard about the gang of young people assaulting people at a park after the fireworks and then looting the gas station on Humboldt and North (mind you about a mile from where I live). Then there was the State Fair park incident. Now we have this incident.
I first thought the issued was with the parents of these kids. Obviously they didn’t learn any type of respect from their parents. Well I started to think how I was as a young person. I had my issues. I would be loud and curse thinking I was cool. However I never assaulted anyone or destroyed property. When my friends and I gathered as a group we never bullied or harassed people. We never threatened them.
When the parents started to turn in their own kids for their obnoxious behavior I knew that their parents were not to blame; at least not solely. So I got to wondering more about what the issue is.
My theory is that kids today are growing up in hopeless system. They see their parents work multiple jobs yet still struggle to make ends meet. They see elected officials abuse their power. The people they look up to like sports figures or musicians buy their way out of everything. Kids today do not know what true reality is anymore when they are surrounded with “reality” TV like the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, etc.
When I look back on how I grew up I know I wasn’t perfect. I did things that disappointed my parents but most of the time it was at my own expense. I was made to look the fool, or be humiliated or hurt. They few times I did hurt an individual my parents made me feel horrible about it. Maybe a lot of it has to do was that I was always the person getting picked on. Not to the extent that we see kids being bullied today but I just knew I never wanted a person to feel bad because of me. I never wanted my parents to be disappointed in me. When I was upset or frustrated with what I saw I spoke up, or tried to get involved or kept it to myself and found other outlets like art and music to vent my frustrations. For me, I knew what consequences were not just for me but for others that come in my path. As I get older, I have an understanding that everything is interconnected. i had this understanding as a kid too, maybe not as in depth as i do today but it was there. Today, this seems to be gone.
It has been said it takes a village to raise a child. So what do we do as a society to combat this issue? How do we help these young people focus their energy into something that can make a difference? We as adults must set the example. No longer do we turn our heads away when their is an injustice, no longer do we immediately react with violence, instead, we stop, take a breath, analyze the situation and think of consequences. Think about how our actions will affect the interconnectedness of the universe and last forever.
Only if we all lead by example will the youth be able to see there is a better way to live, to react, to think. Only then will they see that they can take the negative feelings and energy and turn it into something positive.