I can judge the parents of the teens involved and wonder why they haven’t done the job that I might have done.
Or, I can realize that I can’t control every aspect of our lives, that there will be times when even the best of moms can’t nail down the exact locations of our kids. They can leave home with some one trusted and end up visiting someone who makes you raise an eyebrow. They can be minding their own business and become the target of someone who just doesn’t like the way they’re dressed or the way their hair is cut. They can be with family members or friends who flip out or they themselves can have a lack of good judgment that could lead to the unthinkable, just as it did for the teens who may have to be listed as registered sex offenders for life.
All children need to be taught that there are boundaries and where exactly those boundaries lie. If we’re only teaching our kids the rules, it doesn’t help so much when the kid with a whole different set of values shows up.
So instead of looking down at families who find themselves in the kind of peril these teenagers are in, how about looking outward and trying to have a positive influence on as many young people as we can. It happens through mentoring and all of us have a chance to take part in all kinds of ways. There are children who have to look much too far to find someone worth emulating, too many boys who need a male to explain how girls and women should be treated and too many girls who need a female to explain what kind of treatment is unacceptable. We can’t solve all the problems of the world but I know for a fact that making a difference in one small way can change someone’s life.
If you’re part of a mentoring program shout it out or if you’ve been mentored by someone who has a positive impact on your life, let’s celebrate them right here. We have to stop talking about the village it takes to raise a child and start creating that village before it’s too late.