The one where I get up on my high horse
I worked for several years in what the organization's website calls "a private not-for-profit social service agency in Iowa which provides preventative & theapeutic services for youth & families." My partner and I were "parents" for ten kids in a large house or cottage type of environment. We lived with these kids as they went through long term treatment for drug abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. You name anything that can happen to a kid and I guarantee you we saw it. We had kids come from psych hospitals where they were kept medicated to keep them from committing suicide or harming others. We sat with them as they detoxed off drugs, be it prescription or street drugs. I've seen some of the worst kids this world has created and let me tell you, there is hope for every single child out there.
Kids are not born "bad", they are shaped by their environment and if you catch them while they are still children, you can become a positive force in their environment and either change their environment or teach them a better way of acting within it or reacting to it.
So, that being said... I have always had kids around me. They are so eager for someone to care. Most teens do not want the companionship of even the best parents. Parents are "gay", ya know? They will find someone as a role model or someone older to hang out with and that person will have a lot of influence in their life. When I was in my early teens, I found older people that weren't such a good influence and ended up on the wrong road for awhile. Thank God there were people out there who cared enough to intervene or I wouldn't be who I am today.
Some people in this community have chose to write off a few kids as "pieces of shit" who will amount to nothing. To those people I would like to challenge you to make a difference. Don't sit on your ass and judge. Don't go to church along these kids in the spririt of love and fellowship and then turn your hypocritical nose in the air and deem them lost causes. Get involved with what they are doing. Reach out to one or two and show them respect and see how they return that tenfold.
Most importantly, don't make up stuff about me and my family and what we do. That is so simple minded and downright retarded. Don't cast your own perversions onto me. As my mother says "Clean your own porch before you worry about someone else's." Oh, and know where you kids are and who they are with. Don't drop them somewhere and assume they are mature enough to handle making good judgement calls. They probably aren't. Always err on the side of caution and trust your gut. If something tells you a situation feels wrong, don't do it. Tune out the constant stream of what a terrible parent you are for saying no. You are not terrible and they will thank you for keeping them safe later. It might be YEARRRS later but they will.
Now, after that outburst, I shall have Whitney Houston stuck in my head all day...
I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be