Today’s kids are faced with some pretty rough challenges. Some are not having the time of their lives and they should be. We have children at the age of 10 who are committing suicide because they are so stressed out with the cares of this life. They are babies! What would drive them to think they have no reason to live?
When I was ten, I was running around in the neighborhood with kids my age, and played with dolls up until I was 12 years old. During that time, I was living in the age of innocence except for a neighborhood boy who was a little older that tried robbing us younger girls of it (I will share this in another post). We rode our bikes through the neighborhood, played in the alley, and just had some good old-fashioned fun. I remember vividly jumping rope (none of that fancy double-dutch stuff as I wasn’t coordinated enough, LOL), playing hopscotch and jacks just to name a few things I did many moons ago. During that time, the neighbors took care to keep an eye out for each others children (trust me, they took that task extremely seriously). We had no cell phones, no internet, no type of social media. There used to be three TV stations that went off at 11:00 p.m., and I remember shows when they were in black and white only and family friendly.
My grandmother was a self-taught seamstress, so she made our Barbie doll dresses. It was pretty cool because you wouldn’t find them in the stores as they were her own designs. I thought I was hot stuff because I had designer originals and would often brag about the articles of clothing my grandmother made. Playing with paper dolls was even a boatload of fun, even though the outfits didn’t always stay on securely. My sister and I would play board games as well as paper games. Ahh, the days of old!
Let’s fast forward 50 years. My how time has changed! Gone are the days when kids knew what being outside playing with friends was like. Gone are the recreation centers where the neighborhood boys would often go to play sports. Gone are the days when grandparents were involved in the day to day lives of their grandchildren and all the parents had to do was say “I’m going to call grandmother so and so or grandfather so and so” and the kids would straighten right up.
What happened to us as a society? Where has the love, compassion, and respect gone for our fellow man? When was it replaced with so much hatred? When did greeting strangers with a friendly smile or a warm hello become obsolete? I have passed people and seen them intentionally turn their heads or look down so they wouldn’t have to make eye contact with me or greet me as we passed each other. It’s not like I’m asking them to come home for dinner or be my best friend, geesh! Whenever I encounter this type of behavior, I usually shake my head in disbelief. One of my grandmothers’ favorite lines was, “manners don’t cost you nothing,” and she was absolutely correct.
Honestly, I feel so sorry for kids growing up in today’s generation. They are being bombarded on every side – from peer pressure to bullying to being physically, mentally and emotionally abused to not knowing who they are to being neglected to being made to feel like an outcast, and the list could go on and on. Whatever happened to “it takes a village?” Some of our children are so misguided because they don’t have any type of mentorship or role model to pattern their lives after. It’s so unfortunate that some parents have to work their fingers to the bone just to make ends meet, which leaves the children unsupervised because they don’t have any type of assistance to help fill in the holes. There are other parents who are overwhelmed, themselves, by the cares of life so they are emotionally unavailable for their children and for them, it’s so much easier to let the children do whatever they want to.
What happened to family dinners when everyone sat down at the same time to eat and talk about their day? The parents would be interested in hearing about what was going on in the lives and minds of their kids. Lines of communication were left open so that the children would feel comfortable in going to their parents with any issue or concern they may have had.
Now, sadly, you have kids holed up in their rooms with their phones, laptops, iPad’s, etc., totally and completely unsupervised. The parents don’t check to see what they are watching or who they might be spending time chatting with. Unfortunately, technology has become the babysitter for our children. I know we are all busy, but we have to check on our precious gems. For a fair number of children, they are missing the social aspect. Because of that, they have no idea how to interact with their peers. They don’t know how to make eye contact or verbalize their feelings, and so forth and so on.
I’m currently raising my 6-year-old granddaughter, and I am careful about what she’s watching on her Ipad. She knows to ask me if it’s something new she just discovered. I have to admit that I learned that the hard way. When she was roughly 3 years of age, she was watching those cute little “Play Doh” shows. One day, she said something to her mother about “peeing outside behind the tree.” I was like where did she get that from. I knew it didn’t happen on my watch because I don’t play that. She wasn’t exposed to anyone who would or could have done something like that. A few weeks went by and lo and behold that episode aired on one of the “Play Doh” channels. I was relieved that the mystery had been solved. I, then, watched a fair number of those episodes and some were absolutely disgusting. I was completely mortified as I sat there completely and utterly shocked. What type of person would create something so terrible and inappropriate for our babies and young children to see? In my opinion, that’s one of the gateways that’s being used to get into their innocent little minds. Needless to say, she has since been banned from watching “Play Doh.”
Kids are being bullied in and out of school and, in some instances, the parents are completely unaware of it until they go into their babies room and find them gone. Can you imagine the devastation they feel at that moment because they had no idea their child was so distraught? The flip side of the coin is that sometimes the kids communicate to the parents about what’s going on at school. The parents reach out to the teachers and administrators but sometimes they are dismissed. They are told there isn’t really a problem or they are handling it. However, the truth of the matter is, that there are times when nothing is being done — that is, until tragedy strikes. Then, an apology is offered. Well, that’s just not good enough!
We have all heard about these senseless school shootings that are claiming the lives of children and adults alike — the latest being in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen babies and two teachers were murdered. How are these parents supposed to cope? What about the other kids who were in the school at the time who will need therapy, upon therapy, upon therapy probably for the rest of their lives. Not to mention that no parent should ever have to endure this type of horror. Parents stood outside helpless. They couldn’t get to their children to shield them from the bullets as they pierced their young bodies. They weren’t able to hug them or kiss them and never will be able to do so again because someone planned this attack. These parents will need therapy too because they were outside while their children were being murdered or lay dying. There are varying reports as to what happened on this fateful day and we may never really know what happened. However, what we do know is that a total of twenty-one people lost their lives for no reason!
Why isn’t something being done about gun control? Does it have to hit home before the powers that be agree to do something? How many more innocent lives will have to be lost before something is done? My heart is torn into so many pieces when I read story after story about these gun toting evil-doers (that’s the nice version). Why can’t we build an island for those people who want to act like this is the O.K. Corral and let them destroy one another. Trust me, I’d give up my few coins if it would make our society a safer place to live. Doing nothing is absolutely unacceptable! When and where does it end!!???
For these young people who are so angry that they going on a killing rampage, did we fail them some how? Did we drop the ball? How did they fly under the radar? Why didn’t someone see the killer that lurked inside of them? Why didn’t anyone see that they needed help? I don’t know who’s to blame and honestly it’s not about pointing fingers, but this has to stop and NOW!!!!
Parents, please, please advocate for your child. I implore you to be their voice. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be dismissed by anyone when your child tells you there is a problem. If we don’t cover our children and stand up for them, then who will? If you see your kids struggling with life, get help for them immediately. Talk to them regularly to find out what’s going on with them. Spending quality time with them is also essential.
If you have school aged children, get to know their teachers and become familiar with the principal and staff at the school. Get involved and make yourself known. Who are their friends and their friends parents? If they don’t have friends, question why.
We have to protect our children at all costs. They deserve a fighting chance. Their lives should not be snuffed out before they’ve had a chance to live. The only real weapon we have is prayer. Let’s pray without ceasing for our society as a whole.
Our Children Are Our Future!
Let’s Work Together to Build A Safe Environment for Our Precious Gems!
P.S.: I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.” Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon. Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊