At his age, he want his independence and freedom. He thinks he has the right to be able to do whatever he wants. As parent's we sometimes have to rein him back in. But last night wasn't one of those nights. He wasn't roaming around the streets stirring things up. He was at a local park. Chillin' and skatin' with his friends. It was just after sunset. In my mind, he had every right to be there and should've had every reason to feel perfectly safe. But not anymore.
This isn't the first time he has been a victim. He has had 3 phones stolen from him. Two in the last six months. His safest refuge, his home, has been broken into. This is supposed to be a great area to live and raise a family. But is it? At his age, he should be thrilled to death to have the house to himself. But he doesn't want to be alone. I don't think he feels safe unless someone else is with him.
Even though I'm relatively new to this whole parenting gig, I wish I could go back in time and make things right. What could we have done to make things better? Should we have fled to the west like everyone else? I didn't want to do that. It was the easy way out. Moving was just giving up and letting the "bad" people win. I didn't want to teach him to be afraid of people who are different. I wanted to show him that there are good people in the world, no matter what color their skin, how they dressed, or what their native language is.
But how do you look in the face of an innocent 4 year old and explain what robbed at gun point means? No, Skaterboy isn't 4, but my nephew and niece were at my house last night when this all happened. How do I explain to them what happened? How do I convey the message that they need to stay close without scaring them to death? I don't want them to be afraid. But I worry about them if they aren't in my sight at all times.
I wonder about the kids with the gun. Do their parent's have any idea of where they are and what they are doing? Do their parent's even care? How can you call yourself a parent and not wonder where your kid just came up with 3 new cellphones? Are there parent's out there who just turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior? Don't ask, don't tell might be a motto for the military but it shouldn't apply to your own kids.
We aren't perfect parents. Mr M. and I have made our fair share of mistakes. But we try to stay involved and aware of what is going on. Now that Skaterboy is out of school, we try to let him learn some life lesson on his own. But we keep an eye on him to steer him back in the right direction when he starts to veer off course. Skaterboy isn't perfect, no teenage boy is, but overall he is a good kid with some awareness of right and wrong. He knows the limits. He knows when he is crossing the line. He knows when to back off. Unfortunately, he now also knows what it is like to be a victim. That is a harsh lesson in reality.