Years take on a distinct character and personality.
Sometimes we name them… like the Year of the Child or the Year of Inventions.
Sometimes they’re marked by the biggest news events, like hurricanes, or elections.
Sometimes, they gain their notoriety simply by the biggest stars and the biggest scandals.
For me, 2013 will always be the year of “Where Were the Parents?”. This year has been marred by the horrific choices of young people and the equally disturbing responses, or sometimes lack of responses, by their parents. Here are just a few examples:
On September 10th, 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick killed herself after over a year of cyber-bullying by two classmates. Even when shown those bullying texts, the other girls’ parents refused to acknowledge their children’s responsibility.
April 15th, during the running of the Boston Marathon, Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev set off two bombs that killed three and injured hundreds. Not only did their family refuse to accept the young men’s guilt, they accused officials of framing their boys and “trying to ruin their lives.”
In August, an Aussie baseball player was shot during his morning run. Three unsupervised teens admitted to the shooting claiming they were “bored” and just looking for something “fun” to fill their time.
On June 15th, after drinking beer stolen from a convenience store, a Texas teen struck and killed four pedestrians. Instead of facing jail time, he received probation after a diagnosis of “Affluenza.” His defense team convinced the judge that he couldn’t be held responsible for his actions simply because he came from a pampered and wealthy background.
The stories are endless, and these don’t even include the groups of kids breaking into homes for property-destroying parties or the self-destructive behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity. Our young people aren’t toilet-papering the principal’s house or sneaking out to go cow tipping; they’re cyber-bullying, committing manslaughter, and murdering for fun.
There’s a war going on and our children’s character is at stake.
Parents, who should be holding their children to high standards of moral behavior, are abandoning their posts and ignoring the casualties. While they pretend not to see the results of their apathy, the outcomes are undeniable.
Moms and Dads, it isn’t enough to take your kids to church, or enroll them in the best schools, or buy them the newest gadgets.
Our children need our time.
Our children need our teaching.
Our children need our direction and correction.
And, when they fail, our children need us to help them admit their failures and walk with them through the consequences.
Think it couldn’t happen in your family? I promise you, none of the parents of the above-listed teens pictured this. None of them gazed into the sleeping faces of their babies and imagined police and handcuffs; courtrooms and prison terms.
The time is now. Tag, You’re It! We can no longer be the “Where Were the Parents” generation. It’s time to be involved and engaged…We must win this war!