Reclaiming Our Youth: Our Children Need Us

If I may speak candidly; it’s with a heavy heart and fragmented thoughts that I write this. But I also write this to encourage mothers, support mothers, and to remind myself that every cloud does have a silver lining. We are in a state of emergency. Our youth, the next generation are not equipped to lead. They are desperately crying out but those cries are going unheard and are manifesting in self-destructive behavior. It’s evident by the increase in high school dropout rates, gang violence, violence against peers and adults, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, suicide, and countless issues that seek to kill, steal, and destroy our most precious assets.

I pride myself in being a solution oriented person, realizing that playing the blame game serves only as a distraction. However let me be clear, I make no excuses for the fathers who abandon their children to leave the mothers to rear them independently. Nor do I make excuses for mothers who coddle their son’s to no end and perpetuate role reversals in which boys in essence become their partners/providers instead of their child in a distorted kind of way. (i.e. baby boys with little to no concept of work ethic or how to treat a lady). Tupac said it best. “Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women. Why we rape our women? Do we hate our women?  I think it’s time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women.” Our girls are seeking love from outside sources while exploiting their own bodies to gain acceptance. The world’s view of beauty is not what they see in the mirror and they become caught up in a pretentious, self-absorbed society.

I make no excuses for parents who leave children to raise themselves, or those who are not actively involved in their child’s success in school, or those who stand in agreement with foolishness, and more importantly those who fail to lead by example. And we know the world isn’t short on those.

Our youth are warring on two fronts, internally and externally. Internal in that they are trying to find their own identity as a person as well as coming to terms with their sexuality while finding their respective place in this world. The very thing Freud, Piaget, and Jung studied. External in that the voices of peer pressure are so deafening, that our youth are unable to hear the voice of reason, conscious, or that of those who instilled morals, values, and self-worth from early on.

Now that the issues befall us, we can’t sit idly by as parents, educators, care-givers, friends, family, and neighbors. There is hope. I applaud Michael Baisden and Susan Taylor’s efforts in recruiting mentors as well as those that we don’t hear about on a day to day basis. The truth of the matter is that the strong holds that face our youth don’t care what kind of car you drive, what your bank account looks like, if you are parenting singly, about your spiritual beliefs or educational background, or even what color you are. As community members we have to stand in the gap, be that voice of reason for another person’s child. Offer a swift word of correction. Children can’t do better if they don’t know any better. With mothers getting younger and younger, it’s like the blind leading the blind. We have to uplift that single mother, not be hand out but a hand up and save the judging for the Ultimate Being. For those that now say, “it’s not my problem.” It will be.

And for those that are in the race, do not grow weary in well doing. Our children need us.

Skyy Banks is an author and freelance writer who is a native of Arkansas and now calls Atlanta, GA her home. Banks enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. Banks uses her writing as a platform to encourage her readers to explore taboo subjects and engage in dialogue to find solutions. She is a self-motivated woman and knows the world is waiting for her greatness. "The only limits are the ones I place upon myself; I don't have any."

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