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Madison Needs Tougher Parents So To Deal With Gun-Toting Kids And Related Issues

August 11, 2020

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This past week I read a letter to the editor of the Cap Times which I very much agree with.  Being a long-time anti-gun advocate the letter from Stephen Lee absolutely resonated.

Dear Editor: Instead of defunding the police, how about the City of Madison start de-arming the youth of Madison?

The number of car to car shootings in Madison and surrounding areas is out of hand.

If the parents of these kids would start parenting and put a stop to this, Madison would be much safer.

There has got to be a way for community leaders, police and civic groups to confront this plague of lawlessness in Madison.

The message to these rogue youth has got to be embedded into their senseless minds that they are endangering themselves when they are shooting at another vehicle that is also shooting back at them — that they may end up being the person who gets killed. These shootings also endanger innocent bystanders.

These shootings have got to stop. Now!

Madison used to be a safe city and everyone needs to work on getting it back to being safe for everyone.

Leaders need to lead, parents need to parent and the police need to police.

Stephen Lee, Madison

I have been taken aback, like so many others, to read the newspapers and discover that more shootings have taken place in our city.  Those articles on top of other local news are most disconcerting to all.  We must–simply have to–find some solutions.

I am always interested in the backstory to events that I read so to better understand how a person gets to the point where they make headlines in the newspaper.  I cheer for the national spelling champs and love to read how they prepare for the challenge of spelling words that befuddle even the best of us adults.   I applaud the person who makes news for finishing college and getting a degree while overcoming health issues.

But I also pay attention when people make awful headlines and are then found to have dropped out of high school in their sophomore year.   Or how a gun was used in a crime by a teenager who housed the weapon in their parent’s home.

Granted I was born in 1962 in a rural county in Wisconsin.   Many can say ‘things were much different’ then, and they would be accurate.  But only up to a point.  There is no reason the same common-sense rules of the road for parenting that my mom and dad employed should not apply today.

I offer a few ideas that either was in place when I was a kid or clearly had no need to ever be addressed because we had a solid family foundation.  We simply must have parents who will take their responsibilities seriously.

So here are a few rules of the road that I knew as a child, and parents should practice in their homes today.

  1. Kids need to be read to from day one.  Books need to be in a home and used as an everyday item same as a plate or spoon.
  2. There is no excuse to miss school except for sickness.
  3. Schoolwork is front and center in the evening.
  4. One may not have lots of money but there can still be an investment made in education.  Attending parent/teacher meetings or volunteering at the local school are but two ways to impact a child’s education.
  5. From the start know who your kids interact with and the quality of people they spend time with when the parent is not around.  Alerting them from the start about the quality of friends can be most important.
  6. Every day there is a time when all in the family meet for dinner (supper) and no electronic gadgets are allowed at the table.  Talk centers on whatever took place in the lives gathered.  Fostering good communication skills for the whole family is the most undervalued asset in times of turmoil.
  7. Kids do not smoke in the house.
  8. No drugs are allowed in the house.
  9. No guns or other weapons are allowed in the house.
  10. There is an expectation from Day One that learning is important and respect for oneself and others is never to falter.
  11. No one even hints at dropping out of high school.

Times change but common-sense does not.  Young people who make awful choices need to take their share of responsibility for what happens.  But parents need to step up their game and help society create the next generation of adults we would want as our neighbors.

Madison can do better with parenting.  We simply must do better.

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