Parents on Cell Phones

“And a little child shall lead them…”
Day after day, I hear countless adults complain about the plight of our children. I hear how our kids need to “get their act together”, how spoiled they are, and how they are missing the point of what they are supposed to be doing in school and in life in general.  In the midst of this, I see parents absorbed in their cell phones. Their kids and teens in the car absorbed in their own screens and media to the point where they might not respond if you call their name – mesmerized by some form of media… I heaTeens on Cell Phoner parents talk about their own goals and ambitions, yet when you ask their teen about their goals and ambitions, The child has no idea what they want from life.  Looking at the landscape of raising our youth, I get distressed about where our future generations are going. Are we doing all we really can to secure our future?

We want the plight of our future generations to overcome and succeed further than our past generations, yet most adults who are concerned about this issue are not concerned with giving back to our youth.  The wealth of knowledge, experience, and hardships we have been through serves a purpose to be shared with those that come after us, so they don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made. Kids learn from us, so by learning from our mistakes, they become better. Teens get so much more from seeing and speaking to us in person than they can get from a screen. We know and understand this, yet so many adults are still disconnected from having a real influence to the future of our world.
We have become a people so self-absorbed in our own lives, we casually forget about the lives that will be ushering us into the future.  We are so busy working on growing our brand, getting the promotion, and raising our own personal stock, we will tell others that we advocate for children, but really do nothing to pour into them directly.  For example, to get a group of adulto-ON-PHONE-IGNORING-CHILD-570s besides teachers to come into the schools regularly to mentor children is extremely difficult. This is partially due to the red tape schools have created, which is a whole other issue, but parents also don’t have the time due to exorbitant work schedules and meetings. Many adults have told me they just don’t have the patience to deal with their own child let alone another’s.

“Dealing” with kids has become low on the totem pole to many adults in our society because it is not considered a priority. It is as if when others find out that someone has dedicated their life to “raising kids” it’s considered a novel and cute idea, but not practical.  I don’t see many other options to secure a better future, but so many adults are concerned with their own pride and ambitions they don’t see the relevance of directly helping the youth in their immediate, day-to-day experiences. Where is the need to do for others? Serving that need would in turn be a way to help ourselves, but since there is no instant gratification, it is often overlooked. We are caught under the same spell as our kids, but we don’t see it.  We stay self-centered in our own media & ambition driven world, so our kids are the same. This will not do for future generations if we are to raise our kids to become more community minded.

To put this in perspective, just imagine if the generation before us did all they could to invest in us.  What if they spent the majority of their time making sure that every figurative crack we could fall into was covered? What if we were geared to change the ills we saw in society, not just speak out about them? What if we were taught to become the policy makers, doctors, teachers, business people, and creators of a future that would change the status quo for the better? Of course we would still have problems, but there be more forces to fight against the injustices that we see. We would be more ready to provide for ourselves and less dependent on a society that may not always be ready to act on our best interest…  If the generation before us passed the torch of the need for change and made it a priority, we’d be closer to our goal of improving our lot in society.

Strong Teachers       We should be training our next leaders; not passively letting a system that most think is flawed have their way with our children. Our kids may have no vision – so I’ve heard – but that fault is purely ours because we know what they are up against, yet so many of us sit back and let it happen. The need for decent, strong teachers to guide the youth into the future is tremendous (repeat that if needed). These kids need to see positive, diligent role models that have a continued, daily investment in them, not just some politician or public figure using their plight as a publicity stunt to further their careers.

We will never overcome our obstacles as a nation if we don’t teach the future generations how to overcome these obstacles together. I tell my students regularly, “I teach because I refuse to leave my own kids behind in this world with a bunch of knuckleheads. I need y’all to do better.” If we spent most of our time getting these kids ready to take over the world we are leaving behind to them, we’ve done our job in this generation, and we’ve made the best investment for our own kids in the future. So, who’s ready to take up the torch?

Jamal L. Burt
EBO Educational Services, LLC