Satan cannot mislead us in major issues of Faith, but rather in minor issues. – Prophet Muhammad
I SPENT MY day today in the federal county court house. My number was called; I had been selected to serve as a juror. Although I cannot talk about the facts of any particular case—I did get a good hard look at who all were coming in and out of the court rooms.
Our Kids—They Need Our Time
First, let me say, in reference to the hadith quoted above: Parenting IS one of those minor issues that can lead to major issues later on.
Maybe I should have called this article: ‘Good Intentions Gone Bad.’ I know that most parents want to do right by their kids. But some parents do not want to do the hard stuff, don’t want to be labeled a “mean” parent, or even sadder, don’t want the hassle and the headache. It is a headache sometimes, but our kids need us to be diligent.
Looking at all the kids streaming out of the courtrooms today, it was sickening, and it was really disheartening. I wanted to run up to each of them and ask, “Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you throwing your life away?”
But I could anticipate the answer they would give, “Why not?” or maybe they would have shrugged their shoulders and told me, “I don’t care.” It was clear from their scowls that each one of them really did not care. They didn’t care about what happened to them, to their lives, their futures. What future?
I don’t think that even one of them was even thinking they had a future, or anything worthwhile to offer the world. It was all about the desires of today, feeling good right this moment, and forgetting about everything else.
Honestly, all I could see was anger. They were angry with the world, angry at their parents, angry with the officers escorting them here and there, and to be sure they were angry with the judges, the bailiff and the jurors—even the court reporter, no doubt. They couldn’t care less because nobody else cared about them, and they were angry for it. That is their reality.
Their Parents—They Need to Serve Time
But these kids didn’t get angry overnight. These kids became angry over a long period of time, time that no one else had for them.
As parents, we must spend time with our kids. Without us, without their family standing with them, they are left by the side of the road all alone. And, at any time, life can race by and run them down.
Kids just are not prepared to make adult decisions. Unfortunately, many kids nowadays are becoming more like the adult parent to the real parent. These kids come home to an empty house, watch TV, get on the Internet, clean the house and start (and often finish) dinner before mom or dad even come through the door in the evening. What is left? Eat dinner, more TV, go to bed.
How is the time spent? Where is the caring, the sharing of each others’ worlds? The less we know about our children and them about us, the further apart we grow. But our kids are still kids, and still needy for closeness and attention.
Seeking those invaluable securities, they will attach themselves to anyone to find it or they will become rebellious and slowly self-destruct out of sheer abhorrence of themselves. And they will have the attitude: After all, if the people who are supposed to care, don’t, then why should I?
If we have chosen to be a parent, we owe it to our child to spend the needed time. We owe it to them to give one-on-one with no TV blaring, no face stuck in the computer or book. We owe it to them more than we owe it to our spouse, our friends, or our jobs.
How many times does it have to replay on talk shows before we will start listening? Our kids don’t want stuff—they want our time.
One Parent is Not Enough
I know some readers may get angry with me for making that statement, especially single moms and anyone who ever grew up in a single parent family. I am sorry – I don’t say this to hurt you or to insult your abilities or take away your triumphs over the years. I say it because, deep down, you know it is true. You could have used the extra help when you went it all alone all those years. Or, if you were raised in a single-parent home, there were those times where you really wished for both parents to be there for you.
If you turned out okay, you need to pay tribute to that parent that raised you and then you need to realize that you are the exception, not the rule.
Study after study indicates that kids growing up in single-parent households are more likely to commit crimes, do drugs, join a gang, have sex before marriage, become pregnant, drink alcohol and smoke.
The results of “Fatherhood” research began to come out in the 1990’s:
Father absence contributes to crime and delinquency. Violent criminals are overwhelmingly males who grew up without fathers. (U.S. Census Bureau report, “Child Support and Alimony: 1989, released Oct.11, 1991)
((For the results of the latest studies of fatherhood absence, see: http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics-2016))
Why this outcome? Because single moms and single dads don’t have any extra time on their hands. Their lives are spent working to keep it all together—one person taking on the role of two, filling in as a substitute parent for that missing link.
Filling the Empty Space
If you are a single-parent, you can fill that empty space by marriage or, if you are not ready for a true commitment yet, you can make do with mentors in your community.
Our kids need adults who act like adults should—responsible, dependable, strong and wise—to be there for them; to know that they are there and to know that there will never be a time when they have to go it all alone.
We need to work hard at ensuring our kids don’t serve a life sentence just because we did not spend the needed time with them.
Our kids will come to that fork in the road one day, if they already haven’t, and what will happen? Sooner or later, they will start making decisions about which of life’s vehicles to ride. Make sure that you are there by their side to give them the right direction and provide that necessary family support. Then, watch with happiness, as they mature into happy, healthy, responsible adults.
Or, you can ignore your responsibility and leave them out there alone. Then, you can stand back, with regret, and watch as they duck their heads into a car with the flashing lights.
Bad kids are made, not born.