Monday, June 19, 2006

Do you know where your children are?

I do, but for my older two, I'm just taking their word for it.

Father's Day is wrapped and I'm putting some thoughts together as I get ready for my work week. It keeps popping into my head. Man, I could use a little more weekend.

I have to be realistic.

Two days is all most people have to work with and I did the best I could. I'm not ashamed to admit the lawn got watered and some of the pruning got done, but otherwise I took it easy. I hope all the other fathers on the planet had a great day.

We didn't go out to dinner. The family offered. I just wasn't in the mood for going out. Don't laugh, but I had a taste for a simple home cooked hamburger.

My youngest daughter looked at me like I was crazy (well, that's actually how she always looks at me). A hamburger and a Fat Tire beer made for a pretty perfect Father's Day dinner.

I also spent part of the day printing up the second half of the pictures from the formal at Dellis' school. The trauma is still pretty fresh in my mind. I know I'm getting older, but it was tough for me to get past the fact that a lot of the dancing and how some of the girls were dressed seemed way too mature for 8th grade students.

There wasn't any real crime being committed, but it was still disturbing to watch. It doesn't feel like I'm that far removed from dealing with the age group of my wife's students. Our youngest is eighteen and these were probably mostly fourteen year olds. It's just that I see the results of the sexuality these kids were displaying. The poverty and hardship as a result of teen pregnancy just feeds a terrible cycle.

Yeah, I know it's a pretty big jump from dancing to pregnant, but it's like watching a wreck while it's happening. You'd do something to prevent it if you could, but you can't. It's a helpless feeling.

Maybe somebody can help me with the statistics, but I'm sure it's a safe bet the teen pregnancy dropout rate in that area is substantial. I don't expect the diligence of the dance chaperones is going to go very far. Probably no children were conceived on the dance floor, but I doubt these kids have that level of supervision in their life away from the school.

I wonder if the parents know how sexually explicit their kids behave?

I bet they don't. I can't imagine any parent not reacting to seeing their teenage daughter practically giving a lap dance. I'm also pretty sure kids are still adjusting their behavior when under parental supervision. If I remember correctly, I sure did.

So what should be done?

I rarely see parents take responsibility. It's always the outside influence that gets the blame. Parents point to violence and sex in materials marketed to minors. Nobody is willing to look to themselves as a cause for the erosion of morals in the younger generation. The thing is, the availability of inappropriate material isn't going to stop. Especially if it turns a profit.

Parents have to be aware and they have to take responsibility for how their kids behave. Anybody can point fingers at the media, video games, music, and movies, but I think what makes the biggest difference in how a kid grows up is the level of parental involvement and supervision. The presence of outside influences aren't going to change. They never have, for any generation.

Okay, I'm going to take a deep breath and count to ten.

I almost went back and deleted most of what I wrote. It started out as a simple post about Father's Day and kind of became a rambling rant. I'm going to cut it short. It's frustrating and I don't see much changing. Granted, the world isn't going to end and society won't crumble because of the dancing of a few 8th grade students.

All of them are going to start high school soon. I think they deserved to have a special event and to be be shown that their hard work was appreciated.

I really just hope this doesn't turn out to be the best night of their lives.


turdpolisher said...

kids have been pushing the limits since the beginning of time. when my parents talk about their high school dances they are always sure to share with us the golden rule, something about leaving room between you two for the holy spirit.

as a teen i remember sache-ing my way to a dark corner for a secret smooch.

who knows what my 13 year will be sneaking around getting away with at his dance. i'll be a chaperone at as many as i can.

beFrank said...

turdpolisher - See, that's what everyone should be doing. i'm guessing that lots of kids don't have that kind of parental supervision. They're the ones I'm concerned about.