The village is scared to help raise our kids
Those who know me often hear my frustration about the divisions within our country. Sure, as chair of the local GOP I am well aware of the political battles, but even before I got involved in politics I was comfortable debating ideas with people on either side of the aisle.
Now you cannot even begin a conversation. And that Balkanization has seeped into our very culture, damaging our ability to strengthen our society at a critical moment.
Do you remember when Hillary Clinton said: “It Takes a Village?” You know, she was correct, but she used it as a saying without really backing it up. Unfortunately, many adults today are shying away from stepping up for our children just when they most need it.
I was at a movie and sitting up near the front. As is their nature, a number of kids snuck in at the middle of the movie and sat only a few seats from me. At first, I chuckled because you got to love them, but then two of the four decided to be loud and obnoxious instead of watching the film, ignoring warnings from their other friends and from me.
I got up to leave since I couldn’t hear anything, and as I passed them one decided to make faces. I guess I stopped and gave him my coach’s face — the one old coaches use on a team that isn’t listening. Well, it worked as that smart-aleck boy slouched back into his seat, and eventually, they left.
At the conclusion of the movie, two patrons thanked me for speaking up but were amazed that I confronted “African-American” kids.
I said no they were not, even as the other patrons claimed otherwise. So I said emphatically no, they were kids, and I was an authority figure. I was saddened that they thought that way, and then it hit me that we are a nation of adults too frightened by repercussions to lead our young. What we get now:
Parents who tell us not to talk to their kids that way.
Teachers who are blamed and handcuffed from disciplining their classes, so much so that “no child left behind” becomes some can’t move forward.
Police who are assumed to be bad guys, Until something terrible happens and they’re your kids only hope.
We have become a lazy society too divided or scared to speak up about the difference between a scolding and verbal abuse, between a spanking and a beating, between acting like children and needing severe punishment.
All this because the village is too scared to help anymore. We must get back to a people where “Doing the Right Thing” is more than a catchphrase. The old dogs really do need to step up. Believe me, they will listen if you are consistent.
When I was 6, I was one of those boys in the theater. I spit back at a girl who spit at me, but a neighbor caught me in mid spit and told me to march right over to my mother and admit what I had done, and since I was a good doobie that’s actually what I did, marching and all.
Then my mother marched me over to the girl’s home, ear in hand for me to apologize. That and other “punishments” had a profound impact on me growing up, teaching me respect and listening to others. Would that happen today?
If we can find our way back, for the sake of our children. I will still go with the village … you know, the one we have almost burned to the ground.
Steven Strawn is chairman of the Annapolis Republican Central Committee.