Janice Shaw Crouse

Those who push the idea that kids are miniature adults are not dealing with reality. No amount of teaching about supposedly safe sex will protect from misjudgments; utopian rhetoric will not counteract immaturity. Adults need to teach kids –– even older teens ––about reality and protect them from predators. There are people who live for the adrenaline rush. They are driven to do things that take them right to the edge. They want the thrill of the narrow escape, to seriously fear that they aren’t going to make it through. If or when they manage to survive, they want to tell about staring death or injury right in the eye and, with a lot of luck, coming through. They might fear being banged up a bit, but they think that they’ll live to tell the tale of having had an experience with the real possibility that they were going to die.

Such an attitude comes in degrees, of course. Bungee jumping or skiing a black diamond slope are mild forms of the phenomenon. But some individuals want to push the envelope and actually court disaster, hoping to have a grand tale to tell on the other side of the experience. This is all the more dangerous when kids have no sense at all of their mortality — guys especially, but obviously there are some girls who are that way as well. They deliberately take risks (probably telling themselves they’ll only do this once) to have the kind of experience that produces a fear-induced or guilt-induced rush of excitement.

Such teens think that if they haven’t done something wild and dangerous then they haven’t really lived or that they don’t measure up unless they have an escapade that matches or exceeds the exploits of their parents or some hero. Guys, especially, see it as a test of their manhood.

How do we keep our children and young people from acting as though life were a video game or a movie? In life, the blood is real, and when the scene is finished, there is no director yelling “cut.” The wounded are still wounded, and the dead stay dead. And the grieving loved ones are left silently screaming, “No, No, No” and wondering, “What could I have done? What should I have done?”

Youths will forever be prone to misjudgments and accidents. A random accident is a tragedy, but when our worst fears come true, it is unbearable to think it was the consequence of a deliberate decision to court disaster or in pursuit of a cheap thrill. How do you cope with a mind destroyed by sniffing glue, with a life damned by cocaine, with a child gone forever after a bout of binge drinking?

Isn’t it time for grown-ups to teach kids how to deal with today’s awful realities? Haven’t we had enough deaths from kids who have bought into the utopian silliness foisted off on our children by those whose leftist agenda is more important than our own flesh and blood who are the nation’s future?

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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