In Order to Fix Chicago We Have To Fix Ourselves

BY: - 6 Feb '13 | Home

Share this article!


Photo Credit: heatherheatherheather via Flickr

I’ve watched the heartbreaking stories on CNN and via Social Media and held my kids closer at night thinking, “That couldn’t be my child.” That was until last week, a 15 year old Honors student named Hadiya Pendleton was brutally shot in the back while trying to seek shelter from the rain. Hadiya could have been one of my kids. She was seemingly doing everything right (she was in school, in the band and had just performed at the Inauguration) so why did she have to die so violently?

Because some ingrate/thug/savage decided it would be ‘fun’ to shoot into a crowd of kids. While the killer hasn’t been identified, I already know the profile of the killer. He’s probably a young man, angry and a product of his violent community. But just like Hayida who lost her life suddenly and violently, there are countless young people who lose their life in America, daily. For example, there’s the story of Jordan Davis who was murdered in Jacksonville, FL or the heart wrenching story of a mother who lost all of her children to gun violence over a span of twenty years in Chicago.

Our children are under siege and they need our help now.

So what can we do to stop this violence? Should we enact stricter gun laws, mandatory police patrols, yank all the violent music off the shelves? While all of these ideas would help, we still are not discussing the most effective method to curbing violent crime with young people — effective parenting.

Parents are the most influential people on earth. So why haven’t we decided to hold ourselves accountable for our children? Sure we can blame lack of knowledge or socioeconomic status but that’s not good enough. Every child deserves to have a parent that will love, protect, and set a good example for them to follow. Our children (mine, yours, theirs,etc.) need our help. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a single mother of five or a married couple of two, in order to address young people killing one another, we have to take back our responsibility — our children.

Don’t believe me? Walk into any urban school district in America and you will see a generation of kids who have given up. Many don’t care about school and droves are dropping out with no one to stop them. Teachers are frustrated by the lack of parental involvement and kids are desperately seeking attention. As I’ve been in schools all over the South, I keep seeing one constant factor with kids who are increasingly violent — they are the products of bad parenting.

Bad parenting has the potential to ruin children before they’re even old enough to read. Just sit and Google bad parenting and you will find enough examples to make you physically sick. Trust me working in schools I’ve seen it. I’ve watched parents set horrible examples for their children from the time they are toddlers to the the time they are graduating school. Everything from cursing in front of them to doing drugs in their presence. I’ve seen parents have so many children that the older children are automatic babysitters with no life of their own to live. I’ve seen parents completely abdicate their roles and instead rely on schools to clothe, feed and ‘raise’ their children.

All the while, our children are becoming more and more violent.

If you think that bad parenting only happens on one side of the ‘tracks’ think again. I’ve seen parents who live in mansions who are home every night but are so engrossed in their own life, they neglect their children. Or what about the parent who is so focused on their career they can’t take time to make basketball games or go to school functions? Bad parenting knows no social standing or income. It can happen to the best of us.

Even I have been guilty of working too much thinking I was giving my kids a better life financially but neglecting them emotionally. I had to take a hard look at what I valued and make some tough changes. All of us parents have had moments where we could of been better. Instead of us acting like the kids that are being killed around the nation are not “our kids,” why not help solve the problem of teen violence?

It starts with us having real discussions (with real solutions) about how we can improve our parenting such as:

1. Let’s stop buying our children violent music and/or games. Instead take a stand that violence of any kind is not tolerated.

2. Take the time to get to know your child. Talk with them, go to events with them, ask them about their friends, look at their social media accounts.

3. Discipline our children. This doesn’t always mean spanking but if your child does something ‘wrong’ there has to be consequences. Instead of awarding Johnny by buying him new clothes, hold him accountable for his behavior and academics.

4. Get involved in their education. Ask questions, visit the school, sit in in classes — anything that makes your presence known. So many parents are under the belief that by the time their child reaches middle and high school their job is done. That is completely false. With increasing peer pressure, kids need us more during those stages!

5. Compliment our child for things they do well. So many times kids come into schools with zero self confidence which leads to them becoming “prey” to gangs and engaging in sexual activity at an early age.

6. Be a good role model to our children. Kids watch everything we do. If daddy comes home and fights mommy, kids internalize that and react (usually negatively).

7. Help that friend or family member who is struggling with their children. Whether it’s a kind word or help controlling the child, don’t turn your back and act like that’s their problem.

Parents, in 2013 lets all band together and declare this is the year of our children and become parents again!

BMWK — Do you believe violence is a direct result of bad parenting?

About the author

Franchesca Warren wrote 44 articles on this blog.

Franchesca Warren is writer, author, blogger, educator, runner, entrepreneur, mother and overall BossyGirl. She's currently working on her second book detailing her chronicles of working in two of the roughest urban school districts with a release date of August 2012. You can find her full-time on her blog chronicling her life trying to balance it all and run a marathon by the end of the year. In her spare time she runs her own editing company, The Editing Nerd, and working on the launch of her first magazine. For a daily account of the good, bad and ugly of being a BossyGirl follow her on Twitter!


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress

10 WordPress comments on “In Order to Fix Chicago We Have To Fix Ourselves

  1. Tiya Cunningham-Sumter

    Great solutions. I absolutely agree. My solution/stand has always been that parents should be held accountable for their children’s actions. If there were tougher consequences for bad parenting believe me more parents will take their roles a little more seriously. I am suggesting fines, possible jail time anything that will wake parents up to be more involved in the raising of their children. I also think schools should present more options to children, in terms of job and career goals. Some children can’t even see their life past the block they live on. They need they have options they have never considered.
    It is breaking my heart everyday when I watch the news here in Chicago. Unfortunately, my husband knows the father of Hadiya’s father. Please pray for these families losing their precious babies.

  2. Pingback: VIDEO: Store Clerk Spanks Customer's Child | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  3. Jackie Ellis

    Reference to gun violence in our communities, withdrawing our armed forces from foreign countries, and positioning troops to partroling the streets of problematic cities such as Chicago, Flint, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis for a few months with military visibility, curfews, etc with whatever is necessary to calm the storm is the solution. Its out of parent hands at this point, there exist quiet riots and vastly becoming a national crisis. A few extra police added to a struggling budget is not enough. If community problems are addressed, the problems in the schools will improve, perhaps teachers can teach and not have to spend one half the time on disciplinary issues if security is inhouse and around stationed around the corner. Waiting on an act of congress about gun control is too slow. Control begains in local communities, then it spreads abroad.

  4. Pingback: A Gun Is Not a Toy But What Happens If It Looks Like One? | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  5. Pingback: My Word Is Bond | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  6. Pingback: Apologizing for the Mistakes of Our Children: Christopher Dorner's Mother Offers Her Condolences | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  7. Pingback: 6-Month-Old Baby Dies After Being Involved in Shooting | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  8. Pingback: 6-Month-Old Baby Dies After Being Involved in Shooting | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  9. Pingback: 61 Schools Will Close in Chicago | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

Leave a Reply

All Articles Delivered To Your Inbox Daily! Sign up below!

I Don’t Believe in God…So, What About My Marriage

BY: - 7 Feb '13 | Home

Share this article!


Credit: Cross by geludead

From time to time, we receive comments from individuals that say things like: “Well that post was nice…but I don’t believe in God or I don’t go to church, so what about my marriage?”

I, as well as many of our writers, believe that marriage is a covenant (a spiritually binding relationship) between my husband, me and God. And as Dr. Michelle so eloquently states in her article, I Can’t Imagine Marriage Without God:

“I am not too proud to admit that without a power bigger and wiser than us, my husband and I would be lost. . . if not divorced. So, not only do I reference God in my writing, but I also reverence Him in my life. My marriage isn’t perfect, but the God I serve is. And, as long as we keep Him first, we will be just fine.”

So no matter what we are discussing, inevitably, it’s going to come back around to understanding God’s perspective on marriage. And when times get tough and we feel like our marriages are under attack, we turn to God’s word. As Briana Myricks wrote:

“On one particularly difficult night, I turned to my Bible for answers on how to deal with this, on how to fight for my marriage, despite the Devil trying his best to destroy it. “Let us not become weary in doing good,  for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)”

But if you don’t believe in God and you don’t read the Bible, then perhaps Bible verses are not what you want to hear.  And this brings to mind two things that my mother always tells me, which are:  1. you have to meet people where they are…and 2. you have lead by example. So, I take that to mean you have to do more than just talk about God’s word and reference bible verses.  You have to be living and breathing examples of what God asks us to do in marriage. In Ephesians 5:33,  we are asked to do two simple things in marriage…just two:  Love and Respect.  And I want my marriage to embody those rules so much so that people want to know….what is it?  What is it that makes your marriage so good.  Because I want some of that.

I also thought about something that Speech Thomas, lead singer from the Grammy Award-winning group Arrested Development, said in our last movie, Still Standing. He said:

I feel for someone that does not have some type of standard that they dream towards and that they’re pushing toward. And that they know when they are not meeting that mark so that they can reach for that……Any decisions that we make in our lives are based on what standard is around us.

Speech and his wife Yolanda were dealing with the devastating impact that infidelity can have on a marriage.  But when they decided to understand what God says about marriage, it changed the course of their marriage. And they are Still Standing strong over 16 years later.

So, if you do not believe in God, then perhaps you and your spouse should ask yourselves and agree upon the standards that you do have for marriage. Don’t just wing it…set some standards.

And just this one last thing, one of the things that made me 100% sure that I wanted to marry my husband Lamar was his faith in God. Because as Leroy Scott states..when husbands believe God, the game changes:

“When men do this, they set themselves on a course, not tied to the frustrations of their past, but rather to the fruition of their future. Their motives are driven by faith and the secrets of their hearts are healed without being revealed. They lead everything towards one direction, making all things work together for the good of their family. When husbands believe God; the game changes.”

BMWK — What standards have you set for your marriage?

Checkout a teaser from Still Standing below.  And you can see the full trailer here

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress