My Granddaughter, Claire with her loving mother, Amy.
One of the hardest things for me to learn as a teacher has been that, a broken child is almost impossible to fix. The emotional scars that some children endure are forever and cascade down through future generations. I have witnessed trans-generational abuse such that a child who is beaten often beats his children and so forth and so on. All children are emotionally fragile and vulnerable to the extreme pressures of a broken or dysfunctional home. Here in America this occurs often for a plethora of reasons: divorce, drugs, financial, physical and emotional abuse; they all tragically enough tear families apart. Because of this chaos, many children who eventually find themselves on the wrong side of the law are removed from their home and shuffled from institution to institution as the overloaded system of juvenile correction tries to deal with the many different issues involved. Recently I began working as a substitute in a facility that houses delinquent children. These are the ones who have been removed from their families and schools and now live as wards of the state in various facilities around the state. The major offense of many of these young people is more often than not related to drugs. You may reasonably ask why I took this job. The three reasons are these: the pay is good; I am very curious about what it is like working in an institute of this type; and most importantly, I enjoy the challenge of working with young people who are considered difficult.
Here is a clip from the show THE NEWSROOM ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJWKccHQFOA ). Listen as the actor tells his audience why America is not the greatest country on earth. The main reasons I believe that we are not one of the greatest countries on earth is that we too often treat our children poorly. I am going to go way out on a limb by saying that few developed countries abuse their children as much as we do. This all begins with weaning our children on violent video games and television, providing them with easy access to drugs, along with poorly funding one of the worse education systems in the developed world, resulting in a juvenile system that has no clue or monetary means to help our young offenders. To make matters direr, employers often require parents to work all kinds of weird hours. Any culture can only survive when it cherishes and protect its children. Children are our future as a nation and a culture! This does not require buying them everything in Toys-r-Us or giving them more freedom than they can handle; it means loving, nurturing, being there and providing role modeling that they can embrace.
This past week I had my students write their autobiographies, hoping that the process of writing their personal journeys would help them deal with the realities of their current situation. As I read over one of my students’ papers, I began to cry. He is just one of the many children who have fallen through the cracks and like so many, sees very little chance of climbing back into the real world. Those tears were heavy and came from deep inside…. Why aren’t many more people in our culture moved emotionally by the mistreatment visited on our children? Where are their tears???