Thursday, March 24, 2011
Reality Check: Grown-up Kids
While I consider myself to be a person who advocates for your people, today I got a staggering reality check when I visited with some students at a local high school in my area.
As I sat down to engage these young men and women in conversation about their lives, how certain outside factors affect them, and how they view things, I quickly came to realization that while these kids are much smarter than we give them credit for, they are pretty much grown and it's not because they want to be; it's because they don't have a choice! They are basically raising themselves.
I mean some of the stories I heard really touched my heart. Many of them spoke of situations taking place in their lives that people in their 30's have never had to deal with and then they have to turn around and deal with trying to finish school and all the drama that comes with that: peer pressure, jealously, trying fitting in, questioning their sexuality and the list goes on. And the saddest part about it all was that 90% of them voiced the fact that all they really wanted in the midst of it all was someone to they could talk to about the things they were experiencing and guidance about how to deal with it all.
It's a given that parents have to work in order to provide for their families, and we all know that every household is not a two parent household. But the reality of the situation is that your kids did not ask to be here. You brought them into this world so it is up to you to take care of them, and it takes more than just feeding and clothing to raise a child. Just like you when you were young, your child wants to know that you love and care about them.
As a parent, I recognize the fact that my teenage child is not going to tell me everything even though I feel that we have a very good relationship, but that still doesn't stop me from asking questions. I ask my kids how their day at school was, I watch their body language when they come in from school to see if anything seems to be bothering them, and my husband and I regularly check the school's online system to make sure that all homework is being turned in and the work is getting done in class.
Is that inconvenient? Yes! But guess what? That's called being a parent! It's a shame that some parents don't feel compelled to take a more active role in their childrens' lives and then they wonder why they are out in the streets acting crazy. They are trying to get your attention!
How does your child get suspended for five days and you don't know anything about it? Why is your child flunking every class and yet you've never been to a parent-teacher conference? How does that happen?
People, we need to re-evaluate our priorities. What do we have to look forward to with a generation of kids raised by television? We all know that's not anything that we should willingly look forward to. Now is the time to labor and invest in the future of your kids, because if you don't...rest assured you will pay for it in heartache later.