Watching the events unfold in Baltimore and seeing the total lack of regard for authority, property and peaceful communication that the young men (primarily men and boys) have shown, sadly, is nothing new. With the Ferguson riots and the organized protests across the country that were intended to be peaceful but ended with violence and vandalism this is becoming less of a shock and more of a… here we go again.
So why are so many people surprised? Why are so many expressing shock and distress? I mean what do we expect?
In the public school system the underlying message is that America is a big bully state and that patriotism is wrong. We now live in a country where our children are being sent home from school for having the nerve to wear a shirt with the AMERICAN FLAG on it to school. This is America right? (src – http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/06/california-students-sent-home-wearing-flags-cinco-mayo/)
Let’s get back to the issue at hand. If we are sending our kids into an environment where they are told that their parents have little authority over them, that the police are bullies, that the government is messed up, our military is full of evil murderers and that we should be ashamed of our country; how is it that it surprises us that they don’t know where to place their loyalties?
When I was a kid we were proud to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem. When I was a kid the excitement that surged through town at the homecoming of members of the military was palpable. And when I was a kid our country was respected around the world. It wasn’t all that long ago. What happened? — I won’t step on to that soap box because that is not what this post is about. — this post is about a generation of kids who have no sense of pride in country and no respect for themselves or others. Learning respect for others teaches respect for oneself.
As it is, far too large of a portion of this generation of kids think that violence and mayhem are the tools necessary to be heard. Let’s face it, if we don’t have requirements and expectations for our children not just in the schools but in our homes we can’t expect them to learn how to behave and how to act.
There is no quick or easy answer, it has taken us generations to get to this point and if we start now, it will still take years to recover.
Parents! Learning respect starts at home, helping kids understand who they are starts at home. We have a generation with no direction, but it isn’t too late! When parents step up (like the woman who is all over the news right now for stopping her son from participating in the riots) and do their part it will bring us that much closer to recovery. Without guidance from parents who will act in authority, we will just continue to see more of the same.