But, prompted by some recent national news, I've been thinking that there are other "things" we can give our children. The news to which I refer is the detaining of the so-called "affluenza" teen and his mother. You may recall this woeful story. Two years ago, when a 16 year old, this young man and some of his friends stole beer one night, proceeded to get drunk, went for a joy-ride with some friends and lost control of the vehicle plowing into some pedestrians--killing four, and injuring nine other people. When he was charged and tried with "intoxication manslaughter" his attorney argued that he had been so coddled by his wealthy parents, thereby being deprived of a sense of responsibility: the defense having been dubbed the "affluenza defense." The judge bought it and sentenced him to 10 years PROBATION.
Two years later, a video began making the rounds showing this teen apparently drinking, in violation of his probation. Rather than FINALLY making him face the consequences of his action, his mother fled with him to Mexico--where they were caught last week.
So why this recitation of such a sad and depressing story? Because it answers, in part, my question--what can we give our children.
Here's a list:
(Feel free to add your own thoughts)
- A sense of personal responsibility;
- An understanding of the concept of the common good;
- A respect for living things--creatures and plants;
- A desire to help others;
- A capability to exercise self-control;
- A wonderment at the intangibles in life;
- A love for music, literature, and the arts;
- A joy in personal relationships;
- Respect for one's own self
Oh, yes, I could go on. Each of these thoughts listed is amorphous. Perhaps that is as it should be--we do, after all, have differences in the great vast complex family of humanity. But the underlying bedrock principle is universal.
So, what can you give your children?