The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. – Denis Waitley
I couldn’t help but feel sadness at the news that an 18-year-old “man” was killed in my city. I use the quotations around “man” because at 18 years old, a person is barely an adult. I feel sad for the victim to have had to endure that kind of death no matter what kind of circumstance he got himself into. I feel sad for his family who wasn’t able to help him in his last dire moments of life. I even feel sad for the families of the accused. All of the people involved in this incident were between the ages of 18 and 20.
Our small city does not have a rampant murder problem (at least not yet) so when a murder does occur, it still has a very small town feel to it. Who died? Who killed who? When? Where? Why?
After learning that the victim had died a very violent death and then had his apartment set on fire when the perpetrators fled the scene, I had become very interested what could have driven young adults to do something so hateful and drastic. I had then asked myself the question: where did we as a society, as a community go wrong with these kids?
At first, I wanted to blame their parents, I wanted to blame drugs, I wanted to blame something. I didn’t want to take responsibility. To better understand it, I had to do some snooping. I scoured each Facebook profile of the people involved. Yeah, I am creepy like that; at least I will admit it. Upon glancing over their various posts and pictures, I couldn’t believe the amount of drama and hatred that each of these kids had gone through in such a short period of time. Their lives are played out like soap opera shows (only more graphic). There is absolutely no respect for themselves or others, there is no sense of personal responsibility. Why is that?
The more I observe modern-day parenting, I get a sense that in a lot of cases, responsibility is never handed down our next generation. Some children are raised in a world where they have no belief that they have any control over their lives. In their minds, someone else will do it, someone else will make decisions for them. I am not placing the blame solely on the parents, it takes an entire community to raise a child. So we as a society let these kids down somewhere.
Of course, the old adage of “kids will be kids” applies to all of us during our childhood. We all make stupid mistakes and sometimes they can become fatal. As we mature, we need to test our boundaries to learn how to fail and learn how to win. This is what defines our maturity. It seems now, children are thrust into adulthood early but are not given the tools to handle it. They are simply not given the responsibility of consequence so once they are sent out to fend for themselves they live in a world of no recourse. Anything goes and taking someone else’s life becomes an option.
Perhaps I am way off on my assessment on what transpired. I am not a psychologist or a sociologist, I am just trying to find some kind of sense of what may have happened so I can take on more responsibility in ensuring the next generation doesn’t follow this same path. Somewhere along the way, these kids lost their identity, they lost their hope. Their lives will never be the same and the probability that they will ever become outstanding and respectable members of our community has plummeted. What a sad outcome.
PS: For more information on perpetrators who are on the run and details of the incident… click here