This topic will address some of the challenges our society is facing in raising happy, healthy children and teens. There are a variety of forces that are literally holding back kids in our country. This newsletter will explore a few of them and explain how they are lowering the standards for our young people and, most importantly, what you can do about it.
Is this quality entertainment?
What is this form of "entertainment" I am referring to? It is gangsta rap and what is amazing to me when I discuss this with poor inner city kids of any color is what incredibly good marketers these "artists" are!!! You would be blown away if you had the debates I have had with these kids and how they try to "defend the indefensible!" The kids I talk to will literally go around incantating the lyrics, beat etc. of some of the most horrific messages imaginable!!! Some people try to say it really has no impact but they are truly delusional and in denial of the law of cause and effect! I am here to tell you it has enormous effect, especially on what I refer to as the "canaries in the coalmine." Those canaries are some of the poorest, least parented, street kids that are becoming much more dangerous to themselves and society than most people realize! Many people are afraid to address this issue because "free speech", political correctness, etc. One of the original sleaze merchants was very white Eminem who talks violence, beating women, etc. It doesn't matter if it is white Eminem or 50 cent, the effect on our disadvantaged kids is tragic! This garbage is having a terrible effect on many, many kids! I truly believe these gangsta rappers are the "MODERN DAY SLAVE MASTERS!!!" Why? They are absolutely destroying an entire group of young people's futures with the horrendous example they are setting for them! When young people are taught to be rude, crude, abusive to women, have no manners toward others, allow no one to be disrespectful to them but show no respect to others, what kind of future do they have??? Who's going to hire someone like that? How will they be able to care and feed the children they may have? WHAT POSSIBLE VALUE ARE THEY CREATING IN THE MARKET TO ALLOW THEM TO SURVIVE LEGALLY IN SOCIETY? Does anyone truly believe that we can have young, impressionable minds exposed to this and not have a very negative effect on large portions of society? These kids are growing up thinking 50 cent is great because his handle is, "shot nine times." These guys market themselves through violence, abuse of women and anyone who gets in their way! They are so good at this marketing that the "canaries in the coalmine" kids will rabidly defend this insane behavior! This is why I refer to them as the "modern day slavemasters!"
Key distinctions from the trenches
After speaking with a cousin of mine in Florida about this topic recently, we really had a great discussion. He made some excellent points on how the older generations have always had disagreements with the younger generation on their forms of entertainment. I was able to give him some key distinctions based on being in the trenches and what I have seen up close and personal with kids today as compared to when I started in education thirty years ago. My cousin I spoke to is worldly, smart and understands human nature so I had to make some solid points with him. Here are a couple of the differences compared to the entertainment of twenty or thirty years ago. Cable television has really pushed the envelope when it started twenty years ago. The breakdown of the family which accelerated in the 60's and70's has left many more kids vulnerable. The absolute incredible level of crudeness, cursing, abuse of women in lyrics combined with the technology advancements is unprecedented in history! When you combine these and other forces, it makes for a very toxic combination for our young people!
Solutions to this challenge
What are the solutions to this challenge? Take charge of what your young, impressionable children and teens are being exposed to. Is this easy? Of course not! Let teens know that they are absolutely short-circuiting a great deal of their potential if they follow the route of these "slave-masters." You can not have a great and wonderful quality of life and drink in this mind pollution! I have seen far too many teens whose parents have not exercised this effort to counter these sleaze merchants and the damaging effects it has on the kids! You need to plant the seeds of success, hope and optimism in your children and teens. Take time to talk with them and express your love and belief in them. Let them know they are better than this and you value their futures and how they will raise their children (your grandchildren). Stay vigilant and let them know you are there for them. Do your best to be a better marketer than the "modern day slave-masters", the gangsta rappers!
Perhaps the biggest challenge we face as a nation is the "mind pollution of the young." By this I mean our kids are continually being bombarded with violent, and, or, explicit imagery from a variety of sources. This includes the television, internet, radio, movies, DVD's, billboards, magazines, etc. It really amazes me when the Hollywood/Entertainment field says "if you don't like it, turn it off." Talk about a copout on responsibility! Parents today have to be so vigilant in protecting young, impressionable minds from the "sleaze merchants" out there. It would be great to turn it off but it is everywhere we go! The people that peddle this material truly do not care about the black, white, yellow, brown or red kids, they only care about the "green" (as in money). As someone who has taught and coached extensively in three states, I have truly seen the downward slide in standards. Included in this experience is teaching in public schools, alternative schools as well a great deal of contact with private school teachers and home schoolers. What is truly sad, is how little is thought of the examples that are being set for our children. The younger the mind that is exposed to this, the worse the potential damage! Please follow along as I zero in on a particularly vile form of "entertainment" and how I have seen first hand how it has effected some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Tim Law's consulting and coaching business deals directly with these challenges. By combining a variety of key strategies and techniques, he has helped numerous teens and adults tap much more of their potential. His contact information is included in this column and he is more than happy to have a no- obligation consultation that will lead to higher achievement and success.