Compared to parents of the children my kids go to school with, I’m of a different generation. I started my family late; in my 40’s. I grew up in the 60’s. On average, I’m older by at least 20 years. It’s ok – go ahead and do the math. I will not feel insulted. I wear my age like a badge and proud of it. However, I often feel my sensibilities and values regarding child rearing is an anomaly. I try to hold on to my children’s innocence for as long as possible by shielding them from inappropriate, explicit media that kids today are constantly assaulted with. I’m appalled when kids the same ages as my own are allowed to view programs way above their age level.
I came across an article about children in the D.C. area found to be using cocaine. The article didn’t point out the children’s ages but I presume elementary. When I express concern to administrators in my daughter’s middle school that I consider it inappropriate the health teacher asks students with exuberance if they caught the last episode of Skins or Jersey Shore, and do not receive acknowledgement they share in my concern, I feel like a person in a very strange land. So when I came upon this article for a brief moment, I felt vindicated. Vindicated that I’m not as alone as thought in my sensibilities on wanting my children to be just what they are and enjoy the innocence for as long as possible. I felt even better imagining the author of the article by description is a young person who appreciates good old fashion values. And, is equally troubled by the wide spread disregard for childhood innocence and how important it truly is.
In case you missed the report, here it is:Chris Nester Friday, March 18, 2011
As a child’s innocence becomes a value of generations past, I can only hope that news like this, when brought into the spotlight, forces parents everywhere to take a look into the mirror.
Four D.C. elementary students were taken to a hospital on Wednesday after they ingested cocaine. According to ABC News, they’re all in stable condition, and the student who brought the drug to school is being charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Amidst our culture of cluttered internet media, including YouTube videos, blogs and tabloid news, this story will probably soon be forgotten. But I hope not.
I hope this story wakes people up. I hope it brings tears to the eyes of parents, not just in Washing D.C., but all across our nation as they realize the truly broken state of our society. Family values of old become more of an anomaly everyday, and in our self-focused, incentive-driven culture, there seems to be less and less time to take care of our own children. Where did an elementary student get cocaine? They probably stole it from a parent or an older sibling. How did a group of children even have the idea to use the drug and know how to do it? Again, whether it was from watching a family member, sneaking out of bed and catching a babysitter doing it, or just seeing it on TV, it all falls back onto the parents’ shoulders.
The school where the incident occurred, Thompson Elementary, has a reputation for academic excellence and was even recommended to President Obama for his daughters when they moved to the nation’s capital. So how, even at such a widely respected school, does something like this happen?
There’s still a lot of details pending with this story. The students’ ages and names have not been released, and I’m sure that if it was a parent’s cocaine the kid stole and brought to school, they’re already negotiating a price to keep things quiet. Ultimately, this is just another sad revelation of how our kids continue to lose their innocence terrifyingly young, and often times in situations that should and could be easily avoided. I am not a parent, and I do not plan on being one for a very long time. But to all of you who are and who are thinking about parenthood, please take your parental duties seriously. Be better than you ever thought you could be. Pay attention to your children and please, don’t make an innocent kid suffer for your own mistakes.