A KID-THREATENING WORLD
by David Sisler
In one of my all-time favorite movies, haunting lyrics proclaim, "Please remember this, a kiss is just a kiss." Unless, of course, you are a North Carolina first-grader who has been branded a sexual harasser. Here's looking at feminist ideology and politically correctness run amok, sweetheart. I think we have played this song enough.
Johnathan Prevette was not the only young person making headlines recently. Last March a Florida teacher confiscated a fifth grader's Bible. 11-year-old Joshua Burton had to win legal permission to bring his Bible to school. When the folks who originated this year's "Banned Books Week" wrapped themselves in the First Amendment and protected all of us by insuring that we would be unprotected, did they include the Good Book in or out?
When I was a 13-year-old student, the worst things I had to worry about was whether or not Mrs. Mussard would call my Dad and tell him I was talking in class and wondering if Deanna Fike would give a second glance to a bespectacled boy with pimples. Times have changed. A 13-year-old honor student was suspended from her Dayton, Ohio school for nine days and ordered to undergo drug evaluation because she borrowed Midol from a friend. Erica Taylor did not even ingest the over-the-courter pill, returning it to the school nurse from whom it was taken. But rejoice, dear hearts, Erica agreed to complete a chemical evaluation program which cost $100 for the first visit and $90 for each additional appointment, and so her suspension was rescinded.
In Humble, Texas, Brooke Olson, also 13, also an honor student, was suspended when police dogs sniffed Advil in her backpack. The pills were left from a sleep over the previous night.
Are the inmates in charge of the asylum? If these stories were fairy tales, Mother Goose wouldn't believe them. Child abuse by any other name would smell as rotten!
School was barely back in session when the front page of this newspaper headlined: "Drivers ignore crossing guards." Crossing guards related stories of vehicles passing a turning school bus by maneuvering to the shoulder of the road, exceeding the speed limit through school zones, and ignoring the warnings and instructions of crossing guards -- all gross threats to the lives of our children.
Days later, I personally observed a crossing guard hustling in front of an offending car, forcing the driver to stop. When the guard moved aside, the driver sped away, shaking his fist in an obscene gesture. Minutes later I merged onto the Bobby Jones Expressway where five police cars were setting up a radar speed trap. Granted, the Bobby Jones typically resembles a NASCAR speed way more than a bypass around a busy city, but our community would have been better served if four of those cruisers had been relocated to four school zones. Better yet, put the officers in unmarked cars at school intersections, and after making arrests, haul the offenders off to jail. Not enough police, you say. Then legislate authority for crossing guards to write tickets.
While collecting these kid-threatening articles, I found a piece by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson entitled, "Ten Tips for Raising a Darling Pagan Child." What he writes with tongue firmly in cheek are as threatening to our young people as anything listed above. Consider two examples.
Remove prayer from your home. Schools have taken the lead here, so if you join in by not thanking God for your meals or invoking Him at times of family crises, you'll be right in step. Besides, praying, beseeching a Higher Power for assistance, makes kids feel they cannot control their own destinies.
Separate moral instruction from religion. It is all right to tell your children the difference between right and wrong as long as you do not tell them that God is against stealing or lying or adultery. If you bring Him in, you will inhibit their lifestyle as teenagers and adults.
Fortunately, young people are smarter, and more spiritual, than we give them credit. In his book Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. Only someone who had recovered from the same disease could help her and her brother was the perfect match.
The boy's lower lip trembled when he was asked if he would agree to the transfusion. Then he smiled and said, "Sure, I will give my blood to my sister." When the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, the boy's smile faded. He watched his blood flow through the tube and then turned to the doctor and asked, "Doctor, when do I die?"
Only then did the medical personnel understand the boy's trembling lip. He thought that giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. But it was a sacrifice he was willing to make, because he believed, albeit mistakenly, that his death was necessary for his sister's survival.
Kids frequently show more compassion and character than their adult counterparts. Nevertheless to care for them and provide as much protection as possible is still an adult responsibility. And the safest place for anyone -- young or old -- is at the cross, and empty tomb, of Jesus Christ, God's firstborn.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/19/96
Copyright 1996 by David Sisler
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