Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Music Made Me Do It

As we have all heard the tragic news of the massacre at Virginia Tech, I am sure there are many blogs to be written about the subject. I would like to first of all say that my heart goes out to all of the friends and families of the victims, and that they will be in my prayers.

I decided not to blog about the incident per se, because we have seen hours of coverage on the news and heard about it in great detail on the radio. I think my blog will speak to one very important question...Why?

Of course one of the first callers on the radio couldn't wait to chime in with what they thought the reason was..."Because we allow our children to listen to rap music and watch violence on TV..." Whenever I hear that, I always have to count to 10 and calm myself down before thinking of a response, and since it has been almost 2 hours since hearing it, I am ready...

I can't understand why the media wants to place the "blame" for children's actions on EVERYTHING under the sun...except the PARENTS! They swear that since a teenager heard the latest 50 Cent album or watched the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on TV, that it MUST be the "reason" why they do things of that nature. I am sorry (and you all can argue this)...I DISAGREE! It all starts at home, and it amazes me that back in the day, my grandfather had a gun at home...I KNEW not to touch it (locked away or not). Similarly, if I got in a fight, I was taught the notion...you win some and you lose some, but you live to see another day. Well not in this day and age...children shoot and stab each other. ALSO, if I got an "F" on a test or lost a game...I sucked it up and figured I'd try harder next time. I didn't expect my mother to call the school, or SUE anybody because I may have failed.

We live in a society where parents condone the fact that their children cannot "accept" failure. They're ready to go and fight the parents of the child that beat them up...or to go curse out the teacher that issued a failing grade. They are also quick to yell, "Not my son..." or "My daughter is a good child and would NEVER do that..." Always quick to jump to their children's defense, thus, the children lose the lesson.

It was rumored that the gunman at Virginia Tech (Engineer Major) may have been upset about his grades...then some say a girlfriend breaking up with him (which doesn't jive with the story about him being a loner). I don't know which it may have been, if either reason at all, but the fact of the matter is...families and friends of 32 individuals are left to mourn the (senseless) loss of their loved ones. Students commented that he said nothing as he was shooting...nothing.

Society is so quick to point fingers and try to figure out the reason why, and I think often times, they come up with the wrong reason. It is time for parents to step up to the plate and start accepting responsibility for how they raise their children. I know I can't speak for anyone else, but I am ACTIVE in what goes on at school, similarly I am to see homework EVERY night. 90% of the time, we have discussion as we ALL sit at the dinner table for dinner (none of this sitting in front of the TV or my children eating separate from me). I talk to my children about understanding what goes on in "real life (politics, religion, sex, crime, drugs-especially upon their solicitation of understanding these things)," so that when they come across something less than favorable or "wrong," they know the difference. And regardless of what goes on at home and how hard parents try to "shelter" or protect their children, there is a big bad world out there, and I know it is my sworn duty to give 500% to make sure that my children not only realize their full potential as they grow and develop, but that I have instilled some good, sound CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS in their brains enough to know not to shoot up the damn school, and the severity of repercussions for doing so..."worldly" or not.

Before I get in more of a tizzy...your thoughts, please....


Anali said...

You got it right Tera. It all starts at home. Yes eventually everyone is influenced by the outside world, but how they react to it goes back to the type of person they are fundamentally.

Tera said...

Anali~YES! Absolutely...and I feel VERY confident in my ability to teach my boys right from wrong, and think they are on the right track. You should hear my 7 year old saying he will pray for people who have suffered misfortune, wrongdoing, or death...good, strong values that young man has!!! :)

Nina said...

You know how I feel about the way children need/should be raised. You also know that I firmly believe that the media DOES influences our children, tremendously. In my opinion, it isn't always enough to teach a child that what's on television "is not real" because if a child sees violence on t.v. day in and day out, regardless if they know the difference between right and wrong, they become desensitized to violence. If they listen to music that glorifies shootings, drug deals or constantly puts down women, you better believe, on some level, a child will be influenced negatively. Then you end up with a society who views circumstances such as Virginia Tech as just another "thing". When in all reality it is horrific. And for that reason, I make it my job to monitor what is watched and listened to in this house because I refuse to even take that chance. I know how I feel when I learn of these awful events, and sometimes I actually feel guilty that I don't cry. The type of television we grew up on, the video games we played and the music we listened to were not nearly as graphic as what our children are exposed to. It frightens me knowing that I've been influenced by it, so how will our children react to things that are uglier than we could have ever imagined? Just think, when you and I were the age of our children, NEVER would you have heard "bitch" on prime time television. Today we see/hear it on televsion all the time and don't think twice about it. It has become the norm and that to me is scary. I don't want my son growing up thinking that what television producers/writers do to get ratings is the way people should interact with eachother in a respectful way. I don't want him to believe that it's okay to make music that gives women a bad reputation just because it could make him millions of dollars. So...(now that I've written my own post in your comments) I do believe that it all starts at home and you have a duty as a parent to shelter them, from some things, if for no other reason than not wanting violent, disgraceful images burned into their little brains so that they have the ability to respond and react appropriatly to situations such as Virginia Tech.

Tera said...

Nina~Why yes, you have put your little post inside my post :)

I don't want you (or anyone else) to misunderstand what I'm saying...please don't think that I would allow my children to watch every Rated R movie or listen to music with explicit lyrics day in and day out...similarly, of course, to some degree, childre are VERY impressionable, so, some monitoring of what they do, and some "sheltering" and "protection" HAS to occur. My point is that the MUSIC and the MOVIES CAN NOT BE THE ONLY REASON JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE NEED AN "EXCUSE" OR TO "DUMB DOWN" A MESSAGE. I think I would also hate to find myself at a point where I have shielded my children from certain things so much to the point that when they get out into the world, they are ignorant to certain things, have not "street smarts" at all, and have culture shock!

So please don't misunderstand me...of course I do things in my house with discretion...I mean heck, my children aren't even allowed to watch "Ed, Edd, And Eddy and it's (supposed to be) a children's cartoon!!!" I just am making my point that parents need to start accepting some of the responsibility for what they are instilling in their children (or not). :)

Nina said...

I totally understand YOU...it's the rest of the idiots out there!

Nance said...

Okay, THIRD TRY NOW--and I'll cut and copy and leave it on the "Sink or Swim" post if it doesn't post--

Bravo to you, Tera, and also Nina, for being two strong moms who are raising their kids to be responsible individuals so that I, as a teacher in the public schools, DON'T HAVE TO DO IT.

The shooter at VT--an English major who wrote disturbing plays and stories and was removed from a class because of those works--was given counseling, was committed for psychiatric evaluation, and was viewed as mentally ill. We know so much now about him. But there has been next to nothing released about his home life or his parents. I'm not sure why. But to me, the school did plenty to try to intervene here.

As a public school teacher, I am sick of the blame placed on schools by everyone when something like this happens. How much more do people want schools to be able to do? Are we doctors, lawyers, parents, nurses, social workers, law enforcement, and nutritionists?

Parents love to take credit when their kids do something great. But when their kids have a problem, they want to blame it on the schools. Well, you cannot have it both ways.

Tera said...

Nance~You are right...I cannot understand why that happens! And sadly, yes, many teachers do have to "raise" the kids.

My grandmother was lucky that I was a good student, but as I went to each and every program, and awards banquet ALONE, I vowed that if I became a parent I would be 100% involved!