Children need homes, parents; not freedom

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

At the outset, let’s set ourselves straight: there are people in this world who do not deserve children and who do not have enough good sense to rear them properly. Whether it is an attempt to be their kid’s best friend or if there is total disregard for their child’s advancement, some parents just don’t get it.

My wife worked for many years in the classroom setting of our public schools. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience. However, there were times that were very frustrating to her, other employees, and the other students. I’m certain that she did not tell me everything, but from time-to-time she would tell me what an awful time they were having with so-and-so. I told her then, “Just wait a few years and you will see his/her name in the police report.” Sure enough, today she is recognizing them from the police record.

When they were children, these kids were not bad, they just had awful parents. Parents who would tell them to tell their teacher, “My mama said you can’t tell me what to do.” They were children who received little discipline at home and did pretty much what they wanted as they moved around the room during class and disrupted the proceedings. If the teacher attempted to set up a meeting with their parents they would most often neglect to show up. Sometimes if they did come, they were belligerent and defensive with the teacher.

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Two women and four children were reported to me as being in my garden last summer and stealing my vegetables. When confronted, one woman said, “Mr. (Phillip) West told me this garden was on city property and I could have all the vegetables I wanted.” A call to the mayor’s office quickly confirmed that she was lying. What lessons did these children learn that day about stealing and lying that day? Will I see their names in the police report on another day?

Many children are condemned to live a chaotic life in the most abusive form of child abuse, poverty. Usually this unfortunate situation is due to “the Lord will provide” mentality. The Lord, in this case, proves to be the welfare system that offers just enough money to squeeze by with no frills. It is a life of continuous want and need. Without outstanding determination, a college education for these kids is usually not possible. What were these parents thinking when they were making preparations for their adulthood and ultimately supporting their families?

Anyone can allow others to support their children, but in preparing them to live a productive life, they must be nurtured and educated. This requires a set of parents (father and mother) who are interested, involved and genuinely care to raise a child who in turn feels truly wanted, loved, and above all, respected. A child needs a soft place to land each day called “home.” Anything less will result in failure that will befall all of us.

Ed Field

Natchez resident