Who among us has not wondered about or asked this question? Do we ask because we really don’t know “what’s wrong with them is what’s wrong with us?” Whether we own up to it or not, truth be told, most, though not all, young people become what we model before them as a moral impressionist.
Some parents, mothers, and fathers claim they have no clue as to how or why their flesh and blood got detoured. Could they be in denial? After all, we see, hear and communicate with our offspring every day. And, understandably no child does everything a parent tells them to do, just as no parent did everything his or her parents told them to do.
The kicker! Even parents who did pretty much everything right lose kids to the streets. Sometimes, no matter how much we do it’s not enough to circumvent self-destruction.
When the above is not the case; instead of asking “what’s wrong with young people today?” why not look in the mirror. Collectively, we have failed them. If you don’t believe me, explain how “The Department of Justice estimates that every year, over 1.7 million teens experience homelessness in the US. If that is not horrendous enough, according to estimates by the Urban Institute, nearly 1 in 5 youths under the age of 18 will run away from home at least once.
I suspect that if you dig deep you’ll find the answer to the above question. All of us were once young. If we’re honest, we will admit to being able to recollect how it felt to be young and foolish, irresponsible sometimes, carefree or swept off our feet, even when the feelings were not reciprocated. And, I definitely remember doing things mom and dad forbade.
Having said that “I have learned that sometimes it is better to refrain from putting question marks where God has already placed a period.” In 1994, my son was struck by a car and killed by a 21-year-old young woman. For a while, I asked myself “why me?” But then I began to think “why not me?” Would it be better, or more just if it was somebody other than me?
I was angry with the young woman for almost a year until the morning I woke up with God’s voice in my ear. He said, “it’s time.” The time had come for me to put the products of my bitterness and hurt away so that I could begin to heal. ”
Shortly after, in 1995, I ran across an unauthored poem titled “God’s Lent Child.” This poem really put life into perspective for me. In short, the poem tells us that all of our children are on loan to us; to care for, protect and love, until God calls either us or them home.
God calls upon parents to stand in the gap when children lose their way, especially when one brings home another mouth to feed, shows signs of confusion, or who appears to be emotionally missing in action. Where else can they go? Who else would even bother? Nobody will do what a mother will do for her child. Sometimes that turns out to be a bad thing. My late step-mother used to say “sometimes you can be so good that you’re no good for yourself or anybody else.
At any rate, God has not placed us in people’s lives at a time when we are needed most by coincidence, nor has He called upon us to question His decisions. Sometimes it takes people, including our children a lifetime to get it together, and sadly, some never do, at least not to our satisfaction.
However, as parents, our job is to raise them up in the way they should go, in hopes that if they stray they will return to our teachings. My prayers are with you.