Building a Better Generation
By Kylie Ardill
Kids Killing Kids, it's the KKK of the new millennium. While the KKK of old is based around deep racial discrimination, it would seem that no-one can tell us for sure what has caused the new one but there is no doubt in my mind that it is just as insidious and evil as the old.
The experts give us a myriad of reasons for it, many are probably contributing factors and there seems no one thing that we can do to stop it. This series of articles focuses on what I believe is the core action that we can take to contribute to halting the problem. And, bear in mind, I am no *expert*, simply a mother looking around at a world that I DO NOT want for my child.
Forgive me for my simplicity -- but does the fact that many of our children are taking weapons to each other indicate a deep seated problem with their minds? Are we educating our children for survival and contribution to a world which is headed into a new millennium?
While the experts cannot agree on what causes the problem it would seem that they keep coming back to two similar themes - the parents and break down of the family unit and violence on Television and video games.
My question is this? Is that too simple or is it not simple enough?
When a young child not even in their teens, takes a weapon and guns down classmates and teachers in the school yard -- it is very easy as a society to point the finger at the parents and carry on with our lives pretending that it is 'them' that this kind of thing happens to and not 'us'.
But can we afford to do that anymore? Children have had poor upbringings since the beginning of time, yet this increase in children involved in killing and violence is new. Can we simply blame the parents and turn away? I think not, not anymore.
Each and everyone of us must take responsibility for what is fed into the minds of our children, each and every one of us must ensure that we live our lives as an example to all of our children. With the breakdown of the family unit comes not blame, but an added responsibility to all of us to ensure that we set a positive example to all children.
Our world is changing, school can only teach our children so much, many children no longer have both parents living in their home and it does not matter what our children are taught in school, it does not matter what they are taught at home -- it is the actions of those around them that the children will learn from. What you speak does not matter if your actions do not follow through.
When the President of the United States of America stands up on national television and lies, it does not matter what he says about our children and building a better country - his actions have overridden anything that could possibly come from his mouth. When parliamentarians in Australia sneak through a bill for more superannuation past midnight on New Years Eve so that the media do not get wind of it, it does not matter what they say, they have already taught our children how to connive and cheat.
When an angry young man throws his girlfriend out of a moving car right in the front of my home while my 15 month old son is looking out the window, my actions and those of the neighbors are essential to his learning that to throw a person out of a car is not a good thing, and that to watch and do nothing is worse.
So, my neighbors and I take the girl into my home, we check that she is physically OK. We ask her if we can call anyone for her and when she says there is no one to call we phone a Salvation Army refuge and ask them if we can bring her. I know they will care for her, they cared for me when I was in much the same situation.
I talk to her about how she is feeling, about my own experiences and get to her level so that she does not feel less than me. We take her to the refuge, we make sure that they will care for her, and the next day we all put in some money and send her flowers and a note from me with my home number on it, should she need to talk.
All the while my son is watching quietly as we all fuss around this young lost soul, and while he sees that there is bad in the world he also learns that there is something you can do.
It would have been very easy to close the blinds and pretend that I did not see. It would perhaps have been wise considering that the boyfriend could be anywhere nearby but when I looked at that girl and I looked at my sons confused face wondering why she was crying, why she had been thrown out of a car, there was only one way to teach him right from wrong. That was to help, to show him how people do still stop their busy lives to help another
We must all be careful what we do, it is in what we do that we build the next generation.
While it is easy to point the finger at the parents or the video games or the television and lay the blame there - to do that does not result in any action to rectify what is going on in the minds of our children. Whether you have children or not, we are where we are today because of the thoughts and actions of each and every one of us and of the generations before us. It is only through thoughts and actions that we can begin to build the society we want for the next generation.
Kylie is the creator, editor and head diaper changer at Spilt Milk. She also operates a home based Internet Design business Visions in Ink from her small but cozy office at the back of her home. Kylie's column "Journal of Spiritual Growth" appears weekly at WomanLinks
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