Back when I was in school…

Disclaimer: I feel like I complain about American culture and the people that compose it often on this blog.  I realize this fact.  I love my country, and I love certain aspects of American culture, but I believe there’s a whole heck of a lot of people out there who have their priorities completely out of whack, and it makes me complain about them, which I acknowledge and for which I am now apologizing.  That being said, I’m still going to do it, so here goes:

Here’s two news articles I read today: number one and number two.  Read them if you like, I’d encourage it, but heck, I’d encourage you reading any news story.  If you don’t like, then here’s the gist of the two stories: the youth of America are going to Hell in a handbasket, drinkin’ and screwin’ the whole ride there.  Let’s examine each of these articles a little more closely:

Article One:  17% of American 6th graders have tried alcohol.  SIXTH graders.  That’s 11 and twelve year olds.  This means these kids will be drinking for five years before they’re ever in danger of drinking and driving, because they don’t even have their driver’s license yet.  And this doesn’t include the “when I was eight my mommy let me have a sip of her champagne glass at my uncle’s wedding just to try it.”  If you look closer at the article, you see that this 17% is of sixth graders who have had alcohol in the last year.  Also, according to the article, “Those students who’d started drinking were also more likely than their peers to have a range of problems, such as getting into fights, shoplifting or getting into trouble at school.”

You don’t say.

Article Two: One in four teenage girls has an STD.  ONE IN FOUR.  Those of you not good at quick math, that’s 25%.  This is mind boggling.  Using those statistics, let’s set up a little scenario:

Emma, Madison, McKenzie, and Brittney are in high school.  According to this statistic, one of them has an STD, let’s say it’s Emma, who got it from her boyfriend, Jared.  Jared gets frisky, and starts kissing Madison after the soccer game.  Emma sees this, breaks up with Jared, and goes running into the arms of Aiden, who she liked more anyway.  Both those relationships blossom, now Jared, Emma, Aiden, and Madison have all got the herp.  If Aiden and Madison decide they’re nothing more than a rebound relationship (or at least they think so, because that’s what they saw on One Tree Hill) and break up, then Aiden goes back to his ex, McKenzie…

Get the picture?  We weren’t at one in four ten years ago, and we are now.  How much longer will it take to get to one in three?  One in two?


So what are the solutions to these problems?  Better parenting?  Maybe, but that’s just a part of it.  There are plenty of kids out there with great parents who still allow their peers, hormones and favorite TV shows to make their decisions for them.  The way I see it, the idea that “I’m mature, I can handle it, I’m an independent thinker” has permeated down the age line a bit too far.  Kids are forgetting that they’re kids, and they want to grow up too fast.  There’s a long list of people you could try and blame it on, parents, teachers, Britney Spears, the president of MTV, whatever, but better that we try and solve the problem than just sit around pointing fingers.

There’s a theory that says morality in culture moves in a series of peaks and valleys.  That is, culture as a whole becomes terrifically immoral, then suddenly realizes it and begins a move back towards morality, then becomes more lax and goes immoral again, and the cycle continues.  So are we just at the bottom of a “morality valley”?  It’s likely, but the problem is that it doesn’t look like we’ll be making the move back up anytime soon.  Also, if you consider that the statistics are worse than they ever have been, it’s safe to say that over time, the valleys are getting deeper and the peaks aren’t quite as high as they once were.

Sheesh, it makes me afraid to have kids.  What do you think?


2 Responses to “Back when I was in school…”

  1. 1 mattvaudrey
    March 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I have heard MY 12-year-olds in class mentioning how they got drunk over Christmas Break or just over the weekend. I wouldn’t stick “the Sauce” as the reason for violent and delinquent behavior, but rather as another symptom of a child without limits and boundaries. Basic Psychology talks about conditioned response. When I was a kid, I was scared to death by my father into wearing my seatbelt. He would bring home bloody pictures of car crash victims from his job in the ER and talk about how important it is to wear a seatbelt.

    I still do today.

    I’m no longer deathly afraid of being a bloody stain on the business end of a Mack Truck, at least not consciously, but I am conditioned to wear my seatbelt. Likewise, I was conditioned to be deathly afraid of doing things that I knew were wrong. 12-year-olds KNOW that drinking [underage] is wrong, but they do it anyway.
    Becausetheyknowthatheirparentswontpunishthemitstheparentsfaultthekidsarescrewedup THERE! I said it. I’m told all day at ________________ Middle School to hold in that view, but it’s the damn truth in most cases.

    Parents, beat your kids; save space in the California State Prisons.

  2. 2 andygraham
    March 13, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    There’s little space as it is in those prisons. In related “shocking statistics” news, 1 in every 100 Americans is in prison.

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