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The Barbershop: It Still Takes A Village

As a child and teen I did a lot of dumb things that children/teens do today. This is not about having perfect children who do no wrong. This is a about the collective disengagement from the neighborhood/communities of looking out for each other’s children. I am 40 years old and part of the last generation of kids whose community collectively watched out for each other. There were things that if you did or said you not only had to worry if your parents saw/heard about, you also worried if a neighbor saw/heard about it. In those days it was an unwritten rule that parents/neighbors lived by. The rule stated:

“If you see my child doing anything unbecoming you have the authorization to properly dispense a just and immediate verdict.”

Armed with this rule the community actively participated in trying to keep each other’s children on a straight path. Now this did not always work and there were exceptions to the rule. Knowing that if we did something and “Mrs. Johnson” witnessed it she was going to voice her displeasure with our actions and a 97.8% chance that when we got home our parents would know. As we watch the children get wilder and more reckless with a seemingly larger disregard for any and all rules, you wonder if this current generation of kid’s communities were governed by the same “rule” there would the same level of actions by our youth.

In today’s society there is a collective mentality of, “I don’t care what he/she did, don’t TOUCH my child” whereas in the past it was, “Mrs. Johnson screamed at you? Well what were you doing that caused her to yell”?  I have a 13 and an 11-year-old(boys)  I remember at those ages thinking back to instances that if I had done something wrong or not reflective of proper parental supervision in front of a neighbor meant at very least one strong reprimand and a “laying of hands” and sometimes maybe even 2 instances of “laying of hands”. I realize that it isn’t politically correct to do now but those of us who grew up with the “laying of hands” parents will say that it was a deterrent and an effective one.

Today’s society will say that “time outs” is vital to parenting the “right way”.  I completely disagree. What does a time out accomplish by sending a child to their room? If the child is like mine and most, there are game systems and cable in that room. I, like that my next door next door neighbors keep a watchful eye on my sons when my wife and I are not around. I have also advised my sons that behavior witnessed by a neighbor that reflects poorly on themselves can and will be dealt with by first adjudication then the penalty phase. Although our communities now live by a new rule which states, “I am not going to get involved if I see anything it is not my concern”, I would just ask anyone who is my age or older, Do you believe that our communities would be in such a state if it still took a village to raise our children?

 

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