Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It starts at home

I’m not a big football fan, but the news of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor’s murder shocked and saddened me.

After reading about 24-year-old Taylor’s death yesterday and the toddler he left behind, I read today about the death of LaTora Wiley,16, and the 25-year-old man accused in her death.

The seemingly senseless taking of lives is insane and seems to be getting out of control, especially with the younger sector of the population.

What can be done to stop all of these murders of people not even old enough to fulfill the dreams they’re still in the process of dreaming about?

I think most of us look to our elected officials and law enforcement, but I think the solution may lie on a much more local and manageable level.

It starts at home, with the family. I really feel that instead of hollering about the mayor or the police department’s handling of crime, families of young offenders should be held responsible. They can get to their children way before the police do, way before they even pick up that gun, knife, baseball bat, or whatever their weapon of choice is.

I know there are exceptions. There is no sure-fire way that will keep kids from attacking/killing each other in every case. In some instances there may be parents that do all they can to raise moral, law abiding kids but things happen anyway.

From there, it goes to the community. If you’ve got the time, patience and resources, why not volunteer with underprivileged or troubled youth in the city. I know sometimes it seems far fetched to think that we can make a difference, maybe change the path of another human being, but it’s been done. I mean, look at it this way, being a mentor to someone who doesn’t have it at home could save someone else's life – be it the potential offender or victim.

Before I start getting all of the negative feedback and folks start to think I’m crazy, let me just say I’m not saying that my suggestions are going to heal the world, make it a better place. It’s just one part of a solution that will need everybody’s input.

And while some people shake their head, mumbling, “That’ll never work,” I challenge you to spend more time coming up with helpful ideas than shooting everyone else’s ideas down.

I know what I’m saying is nothing new. There are volunteers and parents out there everyday doing exactly what I’m talking about. Much gratitude to those people for spending their time doing work many of us don’t even think about doing.

OK, I'll step down off my soapbox now, but would like to hear your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Don't spend major time with minor people. If there are people in your life that continually disappoint you, break promises, and stomp on your dreams, too judgmental, have different values and don't have your back during difficult times...that is not a friend. To have a friend, be a friend. Sometimes in life as you grow, your friends will either grow or go. Surround yourself with people who reflect values, goals interests and lifestyle. When I think of any of my successes, I am thankful to GOD from whom all blessings flow, and to my family and friends that enrich my life. Over the years my phone book has changed because I changed for the better. At first you think you're going to be alone, but after a while new people show up in your life that make your life so much sweeter and easier to endure. Remember what your elders used to say, "Birds of a feather flock together. If you're an eagle, don't hang around chickens: Chickens Can't Fly! I love the Lord and thank Him for all that he does in my life, therefore, I'm passing this on. Yes I do love Jesus. He is my source of existence and Savior. He keeps me functioning each and everyday. Without Him, I will be nothing. Without Him, I am nothing but with Him I can do all things. Phil 4:13 Be Positive - Be Progressive Take the time to make a positive difference in someone's life. Walk by faith, Not by sight Receive God's blessings. Heal the past; live the present; dream the future. Remember God should always be #1 in your life if you put him number one and follow his instructions everything else will flow accordingly.

Kathryn Usher said...

But before it can start at home, parents have to be able to be at home. That means companies need to pay excellent wages so folks don't have to work two and three jobs to take care of their families.

Work weeks need to be 35 hours long and the best health care needs to be free for everyone. And vacation time needs to be five weeks a year in addition to paid holidays. Plus there should be one year paid maternity leave for moms.

The whole system needs to be changed. It's not a breakdown of the family, it's a complete meltdown of the environment in which the family must exist. It's time for radical change.

ashley said...

Kathryn, it is that way... in Sweeden! (for real, I have a friend there, FIVE vacation weeks, Oh my gawd!)

I know our current system doesn't work. We reward people for not working and pulling their weight in society, and I agree it is so hard when one chooses to work- you just about have to work two jobs to get by if you don't have a college degree... or even if you do. Great observation.

Janelle, I agree with your post.

mahogani said...

"it starts at home" .. its amazing how this "black on black" crime is summarized in that short phrase yet when i say the same about the jena 6 situation, i'm considered a traitor to my race ... you can't sit there and blame the system or the judge or the D.A. or whomever you want to point the finger at that day ... IT BEGINS AT HOME ... Get your house in order first .. thats all i can say ...

to kathryn, that's a great dream, but the reality is out of all the suggestions you made, only one will probably see the light of Congress in the next decade .. Parent education needs to be first on the list ... if young people learn how to be effective parents while they're learning the three R's ... and companies shouldn't pay deviants, dropouts and slackers FAIR WAGES when the rest of us are productive citizens but that's THEIR company and the government can't make them change that. The solution? Become a business owner ... see how much YOU charge people and how YOU feel when your employee wants a year off for her baby and folks are racking up doctor visits for trivial things ...

Again, like I said, it begins at home .. TEACH them in there before the world teaches them out here ..

Kathryn Usher said...

um, magahoni, I am a business owner.

mahogani said...

like i said that's a great dream .. i have a lot of business owners in my family and not many would agree with giving EVERYONE fair wages and maternity leave for one year ... sorry to say ... but in my field (media) if they're away for one year, they're not coming back ... and you have to not only pay for a fill-in (while you're paying them) but also incur expenses for a search to re-hire ... again ... it'd be great to have all that you mentioned .. including equal wages for women and minorities ... so more power to you ... keep the dream alive..