Thursday, April 1, 2010

Personal Responsibility

I have written on this topic before, but the recent news around the suicide of a bullied teen in MA brings renewed need to comment. I just noted a story on MSNBC about parents at an emotionally charged meeting demanding that staff at the school be held accountable - and I imagine it entirely possible that parents of some of the nine fellow students might have been at that meeting, screaming for someone else's blood in this situation - though I personally couldn't have shown my face in that gathering, had one of my two children been involved. Once again, I think this is a sign of the lack of personal accountability in this country at this point in time. We will bring ourselves down if we don't start understanding that our teen-aged children are old enough to understand right and wrong, and when they choose wrong, if often means we as parents failed miserably in our teaching of those concepts to them, though not always, I will admit. They also are old enough to bear the consequences of their actions. In this case, these teens need to face stiff legal penalties for their parts in causing one bullied young woman to take her own life -- this is also true of the teen who bullied another by way of the internet until that young woman took her life.

We have a growing problem with aggressive behavior running unchecked in our society - fueled, I believe, by the number of "hero" figures - rock stars, movie stars, athletes - who act out, and, seemingly, are not punished if not rewarded for that behavior. I can't help but think of Big Ben in Pittsburg, PA, though I'll admit that I'm also worldly enough to know there are women who will pick a wealthy, well-known figure in order to claim something happened that didn't, because they figure they're going to get something out of it. I think of NBA stars pulling guns on each other in a locker room, and according to the stories in the news, the one with the loaded gun went free, while the one with the unloaded gun is facing the consequences "because he's a bad boy." Guess what, if he's a bad boy, that's because the system has encouraged that attitude and behavior.

Since I was a teen myself, I've heard the talk on sports teams of the "enforcer," whose job is to make the other team pay for "nasty" plays. In basketball or hockey, it's someone willing to physical damage to another deliberately in order to send a message. Fortunately, baseball seems to have learned it's lesson, though brawls do still happen. Injuries such as Joe Thiesmann experienced will happen, simply because someone is paid to stop someone else from scoring, but we have witnessed countless occasions when a play is over, everyone is letting up, losing focus on the way back to the huddle, and BOOM, someone's down and injured. WE pay to watch that, my friends! WE want to see the blood, the pain. How many times have we heard someone way, it's not a hockey game without a brawl or three?

When our children grow up in that environment, watching movies increasingly graphic, and NO ONE TELLS THEM IT'S ALL PRETEND, they will grow to think that behavior is acceptable. My children watched those movies, too, sitting right next to me, while I pointed out that when the director called, "Cut!" the actors got up and walked away, but in real life, they laid there and died!

Wake up, people! Parents need to take responsibility for training their children, or stop yammering about it when someone else does! Everyone person is responsible for their actions, and the consequences there attached! If parents won't teach right and wrong, and won't allow churches and schools to do it - with parental support -- this nation will kill itself by way of angry young people who have no real concept of right and wrong. Perhaps instead of asking for staffers at the school to be fired over this, the parents of the children involved should stand trial right alongside their children. Perhaps that would get people thinking!

Angry? You bet I am, because I've been on the side that tries to help, and gets blasted for doing it, because "it's the parents' right to train their children." Well, then train, and stop playing couch potato parent, full of pills or booze, while your children learn only the ugly underside of what it means to be a human being! You enjoyed the act of procreation, so now act like persons who are indeed responsible and TEACH YOUR CHILDREN!!

I won't sign off, "Peace" on this post, because I think people need to start thinking seriously about how badly our country looks right now with all of this going on - and think about their attitudes toward their young! I really do!!

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