As parents who work and live in relative peace and safety, it is sometimes hard for us to understand what happens in the streets every day. We watch the news where they catch a drug dealer in a corner downtown, or even a Colombian drug lord many miles away. Every morning we get into our cars and drive to work, we are always worried about this or that, bills, mortgage, the price of gas and things relevant to our everyday life. But are we really aware about the terrible things that happen around us, do we know where our children are and with whom they are?
I think we do not. We are not really in contact with the real world out there, all we do leave the house in the morning and come back to it at night. You sit before the television waiting for dinner or relaxing a bit, watch the weather for a while, the news, eat dinner and go to bed. In most cases you do not even know who your neighbors are, what they do and where they came from. One day the house was empty and a couple of weeks later the moving truck came and strangers live besides your home.
The truth is that most of us have lost contact with the world around us because we are concentrated with our own problems and our own lives. We work hard so our children have all they need and to keep up with our bills and mortgages, there is not much time left for anything else. Unfortunately out there, in the real world, darkness is creeping upon us and we do not even see it. Drug dealers are in every corner, in every school and they are hunting for our children. These are people with no souls, they live for money and they get it any way they can.
We sometimes wonder how it is that our children come home after a party with beer or alcohol in their breath, where did they get it? Isn’t it illegal for stores to sell it to minors? Yes it is, but where there is a buck to be made easily, there is a scoundrel waiting to make it. Today, with computers and printers it is very easy to make a fake licence or identification document. And there is always the store owner who is ready to sell minors alcohol for a few extra dollars to take home. It is not only their fault, there are also the parents who drink and for some stupid reason believe that their children should learn how to drink too.
The world today has gone crazy, violence, drugs, murder, everywhere, and many times it is easier for us to turn away and convince ourselves that it will not happen to us, that we are immune to all this. Sadly this is not true, anything can happen and we will be the last to find out about it. Many times we come home and our children are locked up in their rooms, supposedly doing homework and we are too tired or too involved in our own problems and situations to take the time to spend a few minutes with our children. It is true that that many times they consider our intrusion as a pain, that our interrupting them in whatever they are doing makes them mad and impatient.
The only way to get though to them, the only way to make them understand that you really care and you really want to know what is going on in their minds and in their lives is to be patient and insist. Getting to bed a few minutes later than you usually do every day is not going to kill you, but eventually you will be able to get through to your children. One day they will come to you for a word of advice, for support. It is up to you to take the first step towards them, remember they see you as an adult who does not understand them.
Our children live in fear, they are stressed every day by bullies, by social pressure, friend who want them to try this or that, to do this or that, and they need someone they can lean on when the pressure gets tough or unbearable. This is our job, to be there, like the light guiding the boats to safety in the middle of a storm, but they have to believe you care, they have to know you understand and constant communication is the only way to achieve this. They are not stupid, in fact they know much more than we knew at their age and even at our age, come on, they have watched wars live on television, they have seen death and mayhem in real life and on the internet.
Many of us are innocent lambs besides them. Many of our children have gone through tough situations at school and on the street which we do not even imagine. Things we do not know about because we always have something important to do or because they did not have the confidence and maybe the guts to talk to us about. The only way we can save our children from the world they live in is by opening our hearts and our minds to their reality and their feelings. We can probably live for the rest of our lives without danger from drug dealers and violence, they can’t, it is all around them, in the street, in school, in the mall, it is everywhere.
It is time that we all make efforts to become part of their lives, it is never too late to start a relationship with them and it all starts with a few minutes every night. All you have to do is listen to them, no reproach, no complains, do not talk about your day, listen to them speak about themselves, their day at school, their friends, their worries and successes. Learn about the things they like, investigate, de research bring yourself to the same level of knowledge they have on the things they like. I have lately learned to listen and follow the band One Direction on Tweeter, if that is what it takes so you and your children communicate, do it, you will never regret it. My daughter and I are slowly learning about each other, we are communicating, a band of wild kids singing strange songs is doing the miracle, I am sure your children have something they love that you can share with them, go for it, now is the time.