Who is raising our kids?

We “Baby Boomers” have spent the last three decades raising our children in a culture of abandonment. The new found 60’s and 70’s freedoms that we have enjoyed came with a horrible cost. We forgot our kids. The life-style changes that came with post modernism, relativism, and consumerism have mesmerized and drugged us. We get jobs and forget to consider our children in our schedules. We buy good cars, good homes, and good clothes for our children and ourselves and completely forget the job of raising them. We pacify our children with cell-phones, iPods, X-boxes and all the other modern gadgets money can buy, and we neglect the most important thing of all – parenting.

So who is raising our kids? Who are our children watching? What are they learning? Who are they listening to? Who are their role models? Who are their teachers? Who is constructing their moral foundation?

#1 The Television: Statistics have proven that children spend more time watching television than in any other activity apart from sleep. The average child will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average child has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders. 62% of children say that sex on TV shows and movies influences them to have sex when they are too young.

#2 The Internet: The Internet has become our children’s second teacher. It is available and accessible 24 hours to all including our children. The Internet brings the world into our homes, both good and bad. The Internet can expose kids to pornography, online harassment, and child predators.

#3 Our Children’s Peers: The third teacher to our children is their peers. Unfortunately, they are also the faithful students of television and the Internet.

#4 Our Schools: Many parents have abdicated their responsibility in raising their children, turning such a difficult job over to the teachers and principals in the local schools. “I don’t know why that school keeps calling me,” one mother once said to another. “I sent him there to learn – they need to take care of his problems and handle him without calling me!” Our endeavor to have our schools single handedly raise our children has failed. After being interviewed by the school administration, the teaching prospect said, “Let me see if I’ve got this right: You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning. You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride. You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job. You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the state exams. You want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card. You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps. Is that right?

So how are we “Baby Boomers” going to fix the social damage that we have done? First of all, we are going to recognize the problem and start to take responsibility for it. Then we are going to join together parents, sports coaches, teachers, administrators, business people, religious leaders, health care workers, and government to reconstruct the moral foundation of our children by teaching them about the “VIRTUES” and how to utilize them to live a good life.

Like Aristotle said, “Teachers who educate children deserve more honor than parents who merely gave birth, for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life.”

I pray that more of us become honorable teachers of VIRTUE and the good life.