In the wake of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the finger pointing continues. The media ramps up its onslaught on the weak principled and the undecided among us.
The constant discussion and wrangling is tiring. I find myself sitting and listening and wondering to myself “if I were a parent of a young child, what could I do to make sure my child was never at risk for doing something like this?”
Note the words I used: What can I do?
It seems to me that there are so many people debating this horrific act who are still pointing fingers.
- “How could he get access to those guns? We must tell the government to tighten gun control and keep those lethal weapons off the street.”
- “How could that mother not know that her son was so disturbed? We must make laws that control people like that.”
- “How can the media be so unprincipled as to broadcast these nasty images that pervade our children’s thoughts and cause them to turn into such bad people? The media must be controlled and the nasty images must be cleansed, maybe even removed.”
Anything to change the focus on what hurts to acknowledge.
Because the results of legislation such as that removes my right as an individual to choose and I want my God-given right to choose how to live my life, and, as guardian to my children under God, how to best guide and foster the lives of my under-aged children. I don’t want this government, or any government, legislating my choices, particularly when that legislation involves removing choices because a third party entity deemed my choice inappropriate or wrong.
Back to “what can I do”….
Following along with that principle of choosing for myself and paying my own consequences, let’s examine what the enthusiastic parent can do to control the environment of their children, in the best interests of their children, to increase the chances that their child will not be prematurely exposed to, and possibly inexorably damaged by, the dregs of our current societal trends.
- Find the off switch to all electronics.
- If you can’t find the off switch, know how to unplug the electrical cord.
- Use this choice – this power – to control the environment in your household. If you don’t like the programming on CNN or Fox, change channels or turn it off altogether. Why one earth would you want the government deciding that for you?
- Engage your children daily – cook together, play a game, discuss their day, discuss your day. Remember that you, as the parent or guardian, are in control in your household. It is YOUR choice that makes the difference in your household…your principles, your beliefs. If you are openly watching news programs about death, drugs, and prostitution, in front of a very young child, believe me, that child will absorb that in ways that are beyond your control. There is a reason why you feel uncomfortable watching that stuff when your child is in the room. Turn it off! We live in the world of You Tube; you can find the broadcast on the internet AFTER your child goes to bed and you won’t have to hassle the explanation to a child that is not ready to understand….and shouldn’t.
- Know your child. This goes hand-in-hand with the fourht point. If you spend quality time with your child, you will know your child. As you grow to know your child, you understand their issues and are more able to help them through.
- If you sense that something is wrong or different in a bad way, seek help.
- If you have guns in the house: keep them under double lock and key.
- Teach your children from a young age how to respect them and the power they wield, and then follow that up as they get older with how to use them safely and what instances are correct places and reasons to use a gun.
- Teach your children early on that they have a choice in how they act, then be consistent with that information but modeling for them.
- Teach your children the difference between right and wrong, then be consistent with that information by modeling it for them.
- Be patient with your children while they learn.
I am not, by any means, advocating that by being the quintessential ‘good’ parent that you can avoid raising a child like the ones who have committed such heinous acts over the past few decades. I truly believe that evil exists in the world. We, as humans, are powerless against it and cannot hope to defeat it. What this killer did, and what so many before him have done, was to make a choice to follow evil.I am not advocating that there is anything anyone could have done to ‘fix’ him. Like I said, evil is evil.
I do believe that by being involved and compassionate parents, parents with common sense and the backbone to stand up to our kids (because at a certain age we MUST stand up to them) in the interest of teaching them right from wrong, that we might be able to make a difference in a generation. I believe that we, as parents, have more influence over our children than we think we do. Or maybe that influence comes at a high cost of time.
Either way, wouldn’t it be worth the effort to try to tip the scales to sidestep this type of tragedy?
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