Saturday, October 8, 2011

Parents need a license

Seriously........parents need a "Parent License".

Yesterday we witnessed a mother pushing a stroller in the rain with the top down, smoking a cigarette while pregnant. It's tough to know that her children will be taking care of me in my old age. I want to say that they stand a chance, but statistics and experience say that hope is dim for those youngsters. Is it fair that she brings these children into the world? Their innocence being obliterated at an early age, being forced to "grow up" to help support their other struggling siblings and by witnessing all of the negative "grown up" things their parents do. Sad for sure.

I feel privileged to be able to help some of these families. Adults, no matter if you are in education or not, just being connected in some way to children through coaching, churches, friends, whatever.......have the power to make some kind of difference. Positivity is hard to come by in this day and age with our struggling economy, the business of everyday life, and the media whose attention is always focused on fake realities and news that is deeply depressing. Positivity......smiles, compliments, just instilling some kind of warmth within these youngsters when the world around them is coming crashing down. We can do something you know.

I wish there was a way to control the success of our youth through limiting the number of kids that do come into the world already having disadvantages. Remember, they don't get to choose where they go. The world is not fair. So with that being said, here is my fantasy proposal for future parents.....

Upon the potential of bringing a child into this world, in order to get that "Parent license", here are the things you have to do along with some ideas of how the community can help:

1.Enroll future parents in mandatory parenting classes that teach basic skills of how to parent along with providing resources that parents can access to help them become better parents.

2. Mandatory drug testing. If found positive, enter rehab. Parenting classes and classes that focus on the health of a fetus would be required.

3. Provide safe houses for parents looking for shelter. These would be loving families (usually couples) that take in either single mothers (or pregnant mothers) or small families and provide them with life skills to prepare them for parenting. When the new parents or single mothers find shelter, the "safe house" family serves as mentor family that checks in with them on a regular basis. I'm sure there are centers like this already.

4. Hire "Parent Police" that enter the community looking for parents that can be re-taught the proper way to parent their children. As a "ticket" the parents are required to go to parenting classes. To be careful about this, because as we all know we have had some incidents in public, the first couple of times are warnings. The third time would be a charm though. However, if there is a more major incident (like hitting in public), then that would be an obvious incident that would be brought to the higher powers. Do you know how many times I've wanted to be one of these "Parent Police"?

5. Set aside specific jobs for parents, education opportunities, and childcare. Yes....I know....a lot of money.

6. If parents can prove that they have taken classes throughout pregnancy, are clean and have shelter and food for their children, they can acquire their license.

7. Just like a drivers license or other licenses, they would have to be renewed. Every year you would be visited by a social worker and would also have to provide proof of being "clean".

These are just a few things y'all.'s my dream world. Of course there would be some flaws with these ideas. I don't know about what consequences there would be if parents didn't meet these requirements. However, you get the idea. The point is, our future families and children need all of the help they can get. It's a never ending cycle...............growing up in a family of poverty, becoming a parent in poverty. Too bad those rich people in the world (or sport's athletes who get paid more in 7 minutes than I do in my year of work) aren't required to help in some way.

I don't know if I can handle seeing another parent talking disrespectfully in the supermarket to their children, grabbing them in a harsh way, seeing kids come to school hungry and sad with no self-esteem, babies with no proper clothing, etc.

However, with this being said, I do what I can to provide. I love my own kids, my school kids, the kids I've never met. In this society, the only thing we can do is love and teach our youth.

The kids are our future. My future depends on them.