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Adolescent Responses to Society’s Major Problems

Written on November 25, 2014 by

I have two boys, 13 and 12. They are typical boys who act out their emotions rather than talk about them. Constant physical interaction almost always leads to ” Mom!… He (hurt me in some malicious way)!” or something of personal value being broken. Which is returned in kind with a much more deliberate intention to cause injury or break something else than the original action. This is when my wife and I inquire as to who, what, or why of the accused in which the answer is always.. “He started it!”. So as parents we cannot take sides until we have all the facts, which in most instances still are not clear enough to find a guilty party. So we try to help them focus on the consequences of their actions and how they could have done things better by verbally communicating and trying to use reasonable, calm discussion to resolve the situation. These types of instructions are part of life’s lessons we are supposed to learn as we grow into adults. No matter how many times this approach fails we cannot give up on teaching this lesson. It’s the right thing to do because as adults we have learned “two wrongs never make a right.”

This being said, have you ever seen kids this age respond when a fight or an argument breaks out between other kids? Instead of encouraging civility, they encourage things to escalate by chanting, laughing, yelling out malicious actions to take, and taunting or even physically confronting those who try to help diffuse the situation. … Remind you of anyone or entity?

At a time when the less fortunate of society are forced to develop these skills, it seems to have become common place, even encouraged behavior, to respond in an aggressive negative manor to perceived injustices, in society today. WE are encouraged by those who have the largest platforms from which to speak to act like immature, irrational, hormonally driven teenagers. In order to receive justice we now lash out in anger to seek retribution for such acts. Without any regard for the responsibility of OUR actions or any consideration to the collateral damage to the innocent victims around us we strike a vicious, enraged blow directed at the perceived wrong doer that is equal to or greater than the original action that caused us to feel victimized to begin with. This irresponsible ” stoking of the flames ” is coming from todays social and main stream media. While many of those directly involved in the situation call for calm, rational, non-violent response, the outliers who know a small part of the truth and don’t care about the rest of it are the loudest most persistent voices heard. The reporting by any media on any injustice in society seems to be influenced by these angry adolescent responses to society’s major problems. Perpetuating this dysfunction by the medias is them having a strong influence on those who are inclined to believe the worst and not seek the truth for themselves. One such example I watched was Brian Williams opening every report on the Fergusson Missouri tragedy while we waited for the jury verdict with “… in the story of a white police officer accused of shooting a black unarmed male ” followed by ” While there are those who are calling for calm… the tensions over this matter are growing.” With the bulk of the report obviously trying to paint a high-handed authority figure out of the Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon. Let me state, this was one of the less biased or inciting reports about things to come. Maybe if NBC and others would have reported it like this ” In the story about a police officer accused of shooting a unarmed robbery suspect,…” followed by “While tensions maybe be growing as we wait for the jury to deliver an accurate verdict based on all the facts, there are those who are calling for calm and the majority of citizens in the area agree.” closing with ” Please report anyone who has plans to commit criminal violent acts if a not guilty verdict is delivered to the authorities immediately.” things would have been drastically more calm and rational than the awful violence that occurred last night.

In my opinion, we should live with eyes, hearts and minds looking forward to future goodwill, while remembering the lessons learned, not the pain from past injustices, perceived or otherwise, committed against us.