Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Their Your Children.

This morning, over my first cup of coffee, I read the op-ed piece by Kerry Dougherty.
I like Ms. Dougherty, I don't always agree, but often she says the things many of us think, but don't have a format to voice it.
But the past few days, her op-ed pieces have had me dancing and shouting for joy.
Yesterday was about not reporting the beating on Brambleton and Church Street.
Today's was about parents.
The two articles  are connected.
In Monday's entry, I asked the question; "where were the parents? Why were their children out on the streets after 11:00pm?
Today, Ms. Dougherty wrote about curfews (we have them here in Norfolk) and that the curfew is for the teens protection.
I fully agree with her following statement: "keep your darn teenagers off the streets at night!"

As I have often stated, I was a teenage mother. The last four years my son lived at home before going into the Navy, we lived in public housing. During his high school years, we lived in a community that had just rid itself of gangs. I was a single mum and was working full-time as an CNA at the time and public housing was all we could afford.
My son had to be in the house by eight in the evening on school night. Nine on the weekends. When he was on the school wrestling team and came home after 11pm, his coach or one of the parents brought him home.  I knew his friends, who's home he was at and if he wasn't where he said he would be (and that happen only once) he better be able to tell me why and the answer better be a good one.
It was.

The lovely girl next door, Aries was really interested in. But before they could date, her father wanted to meet and have a talk with me.
I like that. He wanted to know what kind of home, upbringing Aries had. And after we met and he agreed the two could date, the family would include Aries in many of their outings. And we all agreed they were never to be alone.
And they weren't.
Aries was my son. I brought him into this world. Taught him to walk, talk, dress and feed himself. I taught him to read and write, and to say yes ma'am and no sir. To look every adult in the eye when spoken to and keep his hands out of his pocket. When he accidentally broke the neighbour's window with his baseball, I paid for the window. And Aries worked to repay me. My son wasn't permit to roam the streets like a homeless pup. Our home had a door and a lock.
Sometimes being a good parents means being the bad guy for a while. I didn't tell Aries he had to be home by eight because of the law. He had to be home because I am mum and I said so! It's that simple. I remember the night Aries challenged me on this.
"Don't you trust me, mum?" Aries once asked.
"You I trust. But people who drive around and shoot into a crowd of kids. I don't trust. Someone who's high on drugs or drunk and you get hit, I don't trust. A fight breaks out and your there and might even get hit up side the head. That I don't trust."
"Son, I love you. You are the most precious thing in my life. And if I hold onto you a little tight, that's the reason."
Aries smiled, kissed me on the cheek and said: "sure, you just want me around so I can take care of you in your old age."
That too :)
Yeah, I know. I'm old fashion, not with it. It's a different world. Yeah.
But my son was never involved in a gang, no baby mama-drama, no jail. No drugs.

This year my son will become the father of a teenager. I trust him to hold onto his baby as tightly as I held onto mine. Boy, I would love to be a fly on the wall and watch Aries deal with his own teenager.
The curfew for teens 18 years and younger are the state's and city's way of saying, we are looking out for the safely of your children.
Good parents not only control their kids, but know their kids whereabouts.
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