As a society, we spend a lot of time and effort tearing each other down.
We talk behind each other's backs, we sabotage each other, we bully each other, we say and post cruel and hurtful things about each other, and we celebrate when people crack under the social pressure or when they fail at something that means a lot to them.
Fans of one sports team revel in the failures of rival sports teams. (I'm guilty of that, as my New England Patriots fan of a brother-in-law can attest.) Commenters on virtually any online news story post hateful things about the subject of the article. I've heard some rotten comments from parents and coaches at youth sporting events, and it only takes a minute or two in a local chatter group on Facebook to see how heartlessly nasty we can be to each other.
But about the time that my faith in humanity starts to wane, someone like my daughter's assistant coach does something to restore it and demonstrates the power of praise.
GUEST BLOGGER MEGHAN STRITAR
As a parent, I am continuously thinking about how we are preparing the next generation to run this world. I think about our environmental choices and financial planning.
One key piece many people are not thinking about is social media.
This is new territory for us. I remember sitting at a teacher training when Facebook first became a ‘thing,’ and the heated discussion was based on if social media was going to stay around or not. Well, I think it is -- and growing tremendously with Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Periscope, and probably a new one this week that I’m too uncool for.
We all know that kids learn from watching us and following our lead. What are we communicating to OUR KIDS on social media channels for all to see?
The Grinch stole Christmas from students in Plainfield and Danville schools on Dec. 17 when threats of violence were made toward both communities' high schools, resulting in both school corporations closing all of their schools on what would have been the final day of class before Christmas break.
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
However, just like the Who's down in Whoville in Dr. Seuss' Christmas classic, we will prevail. Why? Because a situation like this one makes for an excellent teaching moment with OUR KIDS.
We have a serious drug problem in Hendricks County in the form of heroin, but heroin is not the only drug that's out there. As we continue the conversation about drug abuse in our community and what we can do about it, it's important to educate ourselves about the drugs that OUR KIDS are exposed to.
We started with learning about heroin last week.
Now, let's learn about marijuana.
Obviously, Americans have differing opinions about the legality of marijuana and the actual harm done by it. This post is not designed to argue one viewpoint or another. It's to educate parents who presumably do not want their kids using marijuana for health, legal and/or moral reasons.
***WARNING: Graphic images ahead.***
We have established that there is a serious heroin problem in Hendricks County, and we've continued the conversation to learn why people use heroin, who uses it, and our need to eliminate the stigma of drug addiction.
Now let's educate ourselves about drugs.
I've added a page to They're Our Kids with lots of resources about alcohol and drug addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery. Click here to check it out. It's an ongoing work-in-progress, so feel free to contact me about anything you'd like to see added to the page.
Now I'd like to provide some information that I hope Villagers find helpful about individual drugs. I'll start with heroin and work my way through other common drugs in future blog posts.
***WARNING: Graphic images ahead.***
The Plainfield Community School Corporation and Into the Light Recovery hosted a community forum on October 28 called "Continuing the Conversation: Prevention, Action and Hope" which was about saving OUR KIDS from heroin and other drugs.
This was a perfectly-timed forum right on the heels of the Steered Straight, Inc. presentation in Danville last week that prompted me to write a blog post, alerting Villagers that we have a serious heroin problem in Hendricks County.
(On a side note, that blog post went "viral" -- at least by They're Our Kids standards -- garnering 9,412 unique page views as of this posting! Thank you SO MUCH, Villagers, for spreading the word about this incredibly important topic!)
After attending the "Continuing the Conversation" forum in Plainfield, I want to offer a few general impressions of the event, as well as highlight some of the things that especially caught my attention.
On October 20, Michael DeLeon from the not-for-profit Steered Straight, Inc. out of New Jersey came to Danville to discuss the drug epidemic that is sweeping our nation and leaving no stone -- or small community -- unturned in its wake.
During his 90-minute presentation to parents at West Bridge Church, Mr. DeLeon sought to bring awareness to the drug problem by way of his perspective as a recovering addict and violent felony offender who served more than a decade in prison in New Jersey.
Since I have 15 years of past experience as a probation officer -- 12 of those years were here in Hendricks County -- I want to reinforce some points that Mr. DeLeon made in his presentation and offer my own local perspective, lest his message be lost on those who dismiss it based on his criminal history or the fact that he doesn't live here.
The mantra of They're Our Kids is that it takes a Village to raise OUR KIDS. Today in Danville, it took a Village to locate one of OUR KIDS.
At Danville South Elementary School, a 10-year-old boy refused to go to class and left the building and the school property. A community-wide search ensued, involving school officials and multiple public safety agencies. The result of the search was the best possible outcome: the boy was located safe and unharmed a few blocks away from the school.
An incident such as this one begs the question, "How can kids just walk out of school?"
From the perspective of a substitute teacher, the answer is simple: they just walk out the door.
I have a few New Year's resolutions for They're Our Kids in 2015, so let's start in the most logical place: No. 1. My first resolution is to get more help with TOK in the form of additional bloggers to cover more of Hendricks County for The Village.
Are you a Villager who likes to write? Have you thought about trying your hand at blogging but don't have a platform?
Well, let's see if we can help each other out.
I was a guest columnist for the May 2014 issue of the new Hendricks County Home magazine. This is the first few paragraphs of that column, along with a link to read the rest of it on Hendricks County Home's website.
A dad’s role in society is clearly defined: we provide and protect.
Dads are supposed to work all day and bring home the bacon while moms handle all of that child-raising nonsense. If there’s a spider, we’ll kill it. If there’s a threat to our family’s safety, we’ll shoot it. But other than that, don’t bother us with anything else, like parenting.
Children should be seen and not heard, and if they’re interrupting our manly relaxation routine of sipping an adult beverage in front of the TV after a long day at the salt mine, they shouldn’t be seen, either.
A concept that’s even more foreign to men than being an active dad is that of being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD). Stay-at-home moms are an accepted and valued segment of our society, but stay-at-home dads are “Mr. Moms” – less of a man than the rest of us.
SAHDs are those wimps who are so worthless that they can’t even get a job and support their own family, so they’re left behind to do women’s work. They’re not real men, and we condescendingly snort at them to make sure they understand their place on the testosterone totem pole.
Click here to read the rest of this post on Hendricks County Home.
Don't Miss a Thing! Become a Villager by subscribing!