My Brother’s Keeper

    How many more bad things have to happen before parents start taking responsibility for raising productive members of society?  It seems like everywhere I look lately, there are heinous acts being perpetuated by young people that absolutely horrify me.  Reports in the media, recently, have really made me reflect on the fact that we, as a society, need to play a more active role in the upbringing and molding of our young people.  It is not a coincidence that so many youth today are straying into areas that are roads to nowhere and society is just standing by while this is taking place.

    Take for instance, the anti-gay attack that just recently took place in New York City.  Allegedly, a group of teenage boys brutally beat and sodomized another teenage boy when they found out that he was gay and was pursuing entry into their gang.  Where do I even begin with all the things that are wrong with this picture?  First of all, too many young people are glorifying gang life due to the images that they see on television and the lyrics that they hear in music.  Whether we want to admit it or not, violence is portrayed as just another cool factor in the life of a “gangsta.”  Also, many young people look to gangs to provide them with the feeling of family that they are lacking in their own homes.  They are easily lured into this environment by promises of wealth, protection, and belonging.  These are all appealing things to a young person who comes from a broken home and is afraid of being a target of violence living in an inner city neighborhood.

    This horrific crime opens the door for discourse around the elephant in the room in this whole issue which is that of discrimination.  Unfortunately, children are influenced by the bigotry and hatred that their parents spout in front of them.  I have always compared children to the pages in a new notebook, they are pure and innocent until the adults charged with teaching them right from wrong tarnish those pages with their own bias.  These young men were probably subjected to negative comments and opinions about homosexuals in their childhood and were acting out on these feelings of hate that they probably did not even understand.  I definitely do not want the focus of this post to be what your personal feelings are about homosexuality because that is neither here nor there.  This blog promotes and supports tolerance for all peoples regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

    The salient point of this post is that all of these boys who commited these terrible acts were somebody’s children.  Where were the values that their parents taught them when they were engaging in this kind of violence?  What kind of morals were instilled in them as young children that they would think it okay to brutalize another human being in this manner?  These are the questions that I want to know the answers to because I feel that this is where there is a disconnect.

    Learning right from wrong is something that begins at home and is taught by one’s parents.  One could argue that this is something that is innate and that the young people who are doing these things lack a conscience.  While this may be true in some cases, this is not the case for the vast majority of them.  It’s almost like the children who misbehave in my class, these youngsters are trying to get some attention, any attention, albeit negative, from parents and a society who they feel don’t see them.  It must be very sad and lonely to feel invisible to the ones whom you care about the most.

    We, as parents, need to take responsibility for teaching our children morals, integrity, values, honesty, discipline, empathy, and respect.  It is not up to the teachers or the schools to do our job for us.  Sure, they can contribute to this molding and growth in a positive way, however, the larger responsibility for making sure that our children have these characteristics is ours.  Unfortunately, we cannot bear this responsibility for all children and young people but we can begin our contribution to a productive, tolerant, and positive society in the lives of our own children.  It is really time to stop passing the buck because we are really on our way to losing an entire generation.

© 2010, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. I agree. It’s weird though. Seems that all I hear about are “helicopter parents” that are hyper-involved in their kids’ lives, but clearly these kids are either not hovered over or if they are their parents are too busy shuttling them between activities to teach them more important lessons.

    • Lynn, I totally agree with you. Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere because a lot of kids are being raised without some of the essential and fundamental values that parents used to instill in their children. I believe that, in some cases, appearances are much more important to some people than actually taking the time out to communicate with their children and to model good behaviors. All of the activities are great but not at the expense of kids being raised without these values.


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