Too often lately we have been hearing about kids who have lost their moral compass. Kids who take advantage of a girl through drink or drugs and then post the sexual encounter online. Kids who bully a weaker (or a somehow different) kid, cumulating in the child's suicide. Kids who parrot hate phrases, sometime not even knowing what they mean. Kids who loudly lace their conversation with obscenities while in the most public places. Kids doing thoughtless, selfish, hateful things. I've read that up to ten percent (or more) of teenagers are involved in sexting.
These are kids who should know better, but don't.
But when you factor out current technology, these kids and these acts have always been with us. Probably always will.
These things seem to be more wide-spread now, sometimes more perverse. There are a lot of reasons for this. Perhaps we are looking back into our past with rose-colored glasses. Certainly we, looking through those glasses, as well as those we knew, would never do such things. Perhaps we feel our society is becoming too lax. Parents too permissive. Perhaps we feel that our one true religion (whatever that might be) is under attack and being eroded -- that might explain it. Music, the movies, television, the internet, the clothing, advertising and the sexualizing of our young...yeah, all of that's to blame.
Or maybe we're just to busy blaming things, rather than trying to solve the problem. I'm not foolish enough to think we can eradicate the situation, but we can solve the problem, one kid at a time. Maybe we can begin to take responsibility for teaching our kids responsibility.
Canada started an interesting program recently. Don't Be That Guy. The guy who doesn't respect girls? Eww. Don't be that guy! The guy who bullies and calls others names? Ugh. Don't be that guy! Selfish...really? Don't be that guy! What more needs to be said? That guy is a jerk, a loser, so really, really, don't be that guy. The thing about this program is that it has been picked up by the kids. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing and the program appears to be working and working well.
I recently picked up a book, published in 2008, by Travis L. Stork and Leah Furman called Don't Be That Girl. Stork, an emergency room physician and television personality, writes that the book came about after talking with a battered woman in the emergency room. The book focuses on needy, desperate, insecure girls who need to become confident, rational, strong women. It's interesting reading and I recommend it.
There are people we don't want to be and don't have to be. No matter what age we are, let's consciously think about not being that guy, or that girl. A positive peer pressure on ourselves won't hurt. Who knows, perhaps we may even be able to convince those people in Washington not to be those guys?