The State, the Surrogate Parent?
Broken families lead to broken societies, and the answer is not the nanny state.
Summer is here, and for the people in my community, this means blistering hot days, fun activities across town, and summer break for the majority of public-school children and teens. But for “inner city” kids that have little parental guidance all season long, this seasonal scenario can sometimes turn deadly.
Recently, a shooting in my city’s tourist district led to two 13-year-olds being injured. The perpetrator? A 14-year-old child, who had also pulled a gun on an officer. Thankfully there were no news of deaths as a result of the incident, though my prayers go out for everyone involved.
But my prayers especially go out for the broken families that create criminal juveniles. This lack of parenting is not only ungodly from my Christian worldview, but also illogical in terms of how children are meant to thrive and grow up to become successful, law-abiding adults.
This scenario is so well-known that I no longer have to cite a source. It is common knowledge that children belonging to single-parent households have a significantly higher risk of becoming violent criminals. Simply allow these teens to be idle all summer long and wait for the crime reports to commence.
The issue is predictable, but so is the solution (which is to encourage more two-parent households, for those who aren’t quick to the draw). Sadly, a new generation of parents (frequently single mothers) have no issue leaving their parental roles in the hands of the State. The classroom and the criminal-justice system become a child’s mother and father, meant to provide everything that their broken household cannot. To give up on personal accountability is to leave the responsibilities granted to you for the government to take control.
To me, this is dangerous. To lazy, uncaring parents, this is allows them to regress to negligent, entitled children themselves. To the children, this is our society not believing enough in them to provide the positive upbringing they so desperately deserve. And so they fight, they shoot, and they eventually kill, get killed, or lose years of their lives to incarceration.
As a father of four boys, it’s critical that I position myself as the first authority my children will have. Because what options do I have? I can create solid footing for my children to navigate their world with ease, or I could be absent, leaving them to their own devices to eventually become victims of a cruel society — a risk I refuse to take. And while I have the deepest respect for our policemen, the last thing I want is for one of my sons to have an unpleasant encounter with an officer.
There’s an answer to this very simple equation and it isn’t begging the city for more basketball courts or recreation centers (because so many communities have fallen for that scam many times before). It’s not more entertainment, more sidewalks, or more jobs for teens. It’s a two-pronged solution and it’s called “mommy and daddy.” This solution is made easiest when we put what’s best for our children first.