Sunday, November 1, 2009

Promised essay

I write several essays each week - usually just to clear the air when something makes me angry.  Several students have asked me to print some on my blog.  So here is another one - not polished, but just my feelings about world happenings.

Here are some of my students working together to build trust, knowing she will be caught before falling to the floor.

Cause of Gang Rape?

Last week the news was filled with the two hour, gang rape of a 15 year old girl in California. The perpetrators of this horrible act were estimated from 5 to 10 males between the age of 15 to 21, with a dozen more watching or filming the acts. It was not surprising that alcohol was involved. This was the subject of many TV shows and as I followed it, I became more and more upset with the act, but not only the act, but also the blame that was placed on schools.

So called “experts” in human behavior continued to discuss it almost as a normal circumstance of certain people and parts of our society.

One expert described it as the act of “emotional retardation” of our youth and of urban culture. It was also discussed that “violence is the normal reaction for them.”

True I work with teenagers, but from a rural setting and violence is NOT normal for them. Most of them are not “emotionally retarded” and have a sense of protection by other teenagers they associate with.

The thing that upset me most was the blame put on the “schools are to blame” for not teaching “emotional intelligence.” Come on – teaching values and morals were taken away from the schools and teachers many years ago. The comment was we should teach more than our core subjects to students and should insure the safety of the students. Have they heard of the No Child Left Behind Law that takes most of our time, effort and money to insure? In three years we have to guarantee that 100% of our students will pass the test, whether they speak English, are mentally handicapped or come from homes whose parents could care less about education.

Whose values do you want us to teach? Whose morals do you want taught? Are you going to allow prayers brought back into the school? Are you prepared to allow the 10 Commandments or Islamic values to be posted on the walls? Should children from parents who don't care about education be taken from them and placed somewhere else?

No, we cannot have schools doing those things – it would take away from freedom of individuals and the courts would be full of law suits against teachers and schools.

The solution does not rest with the schools. Oh, I would be happy to teach a class on core values like the one I was asked once to develop a class on. I believe the problem rests in the breakdown of the family and of family values.

Parents are so busy they no longer have time for their children. A recent poll showed that parents spend an average of 12 minutes a day speaking with their children while the children watch three hours of TV or spend playing violent video games. So who is really raising our kids?

How many of us have ipods for each of us as we travel instead of talking together? How many times each week do we eat together as a family? How many original married couples are still together with just their kids? How easy is our alcohol stash for our children to get into? Where are we between 3 and 5 p.m. when most teenage crime and misbehavior happens? Have we replaced giving our children things instead of time?

Its a tough world out there and someone has to live in it. Paul Quinnett said it this way, “To be an orphan your father (or mother) doesn't have to die.” They tell me that gangs are there to give kids support because they have no family structure to lean on.

Yes, I discussed the gang rape with my students and we discussed values lacking and present in our lives. Being an old man with grey hair and trusted by my students and their parents, gives me the chance to teach values. I also listen to children who need a sounding board to lean on. I don't give much advise, just listen, they don't need a judge – they usually know the answer already.

To quote Quinnett again, “To all the lost fathers (and mothers), I hope they will find themselves, and soon, their children are looking for them.”


Robert Mortensen said...

Amen to that!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh how true, Bill. Some people want the 'schools' to raise their kids now---which is impossible to do. Parents need to take responsibility and do more themselves. I look at some parents and wonder: "Who's in charge there?" Gads!!!!

Great post!!

sunnymama said...

Thanks for sharing this very thought-provoking post. There is so much truth in what you say. As a full-time mother I'm committed to spending time with my son and enjoy doing so. Being a parent is a big responsibility and a honour. I find it sad that many of the parents I meet are too busy to accept this responsibility or simply relieved to be away from their children whenever they get the opportunity.

Valerie said...

I hadn't heard about that appalling rape. Removing religion from schools was one of the first steps on the downward slope. Having read your essay I am at a loss to know what the answer is.

Grayquill said...

Great post! That gray hair you carry has gained some wisdom along the way. I am glad for teachers like you - I think you are making a difference.
I agree with you the break down of that family is the biggest problem our country is facing...what is causing that breakdown?

Janie said...

Great article. I hope parents are listening. And your students are lucky to have your guidance.