What is too much of how much to spend on a child’s safety? And if we come up with a
price is it more like a down payment on the child’s life or are we putting their development
It is now 2010, in Connecticut the population of youth top number one in poverty. Our youth still continue to experience a record-breaking amount in increased incidents of violence. Our young Black male population continue to have a growing number of firearm related homicides that is exceeding any other age population. In some cities throughout the State of Connecticut, firearm related homicides among minority male youth and young adult males have already increase by 200% to 300% and some law enforcement analysis have reported that many cities have not even completed the “Shooting Season.” The time between October and December, when heavy clothing can be worn which help to conceal weapons.
So again, what should be spent to make a child safe? One could would safely predict that most parents would empty every dime out of their bank accounts, cash out their 401K, borrow what they could from friends, max out their credit cards, pawn some items, sell some items, work overtime, and “do whatever they felt was necessary to get the job done!” And if a parent knew that what they spent would be a matter of their child’s Life or Death, one could again safely predict that the same parent would all but sell their own soul to free that child from the clutches of an untimely and brutal death.
Outside of the home, a parent expects society and its leaders to provide the realm of safety for their child. Over the years as society and American Culture has become more segmented, parents have seemed to surrender more and more of their child’s safety obligations of their child to school officials, coaches, politicians, community leaders, notable athletes, law enforcement officers and clergy. Yet, fathers have become more absent from actively participating in the lives of young boys and teenage males. In addition, females with less education and lower paying jobs are left to head single parent households with multiple children. Less money in the homes has led to less of mom in the home after working tow to three part-time jobs. Less parenting leads to less control over a childs action in their growing years between 8 years-old and 16 years-old. If we believe half of what we say in America, “It takes a village,” then one could conclude that we are in the search/research village stage of youth development. Moreover, the other problem regarding this borrowed African social development approach is that the components of our American village system of youth development are unaware, unprepared and often just do not care when it comes to this issue of the children, our so-called future.
After all, let us look at the history of children in American Society. Since the Industrial Revolution, children have been the most exploited, endangered, abused, and undeserved portion of our society. Even present day, children are still the largest portion of our society that does not have adequate and effective access to healthcare. And since they are obviously incapable of fiscally providing such a resource for themselves, it relegates them to an apathetic condition. The situation is all but doomed when we consider that studies that indicate that a child who does not receive sufficient prenatal care suffers from poor overall development, and we now know that in order for children to have good social development, their mental and physical health are major components. There are numerous studies that have proven this to be true for children who are born chemically addicted to drugs. What is even more terrifying is that with all of the medical advances made due to modern technology and science, the infant mortality rate in the African-American urban sectors are virtually the same as they were in the late 1960’s. Moreover, the life expectancy of African-American males is on a sharp and consistent decline based on homicide statistical data.
The amounts of money, dollars, dinero, funds, and dinars, that have been allocated to develop youth have always been done a stingy budget. The money spent on the institutions to house, protect and teach them has always been done on a minuscule budget. And in the past when America had orphanages run by clergy, spending little amounts of money to help run these facilities did yield good results in youth development for a crisis condition. But, the key element 20 and 30 years past was religious involvement in youth development. Though many segments in society now want to frown on the role that religion plays in youth development, it is always perplexing to see how leaders in society look to clergy for solutions to the present day crisis for our youth. Moreover, it is even more ironic that after a child suffers a tragic incident of being slain or victimized, society comes together in prayer sometimes all over the nation as in the case of the Infamous Columbine School Shooting. However, even with this being up for debate, the fact remains that the amount of money we as a society spend to build these children into productive and socially autonomous adults is that of the comparison of putting 57 octane in a car that requires 87 octane.
So, as we continue to starve and cheat our children’s development, we in essence cheat ourselves and our society of a lucrative and productive future. The societal advancements made in our American Society did not occurred through parents, community leaders, government officials, clergy and law enforcement cutting corners to raise kids. The achievements that we enjoy even to this date have come at a heavy price or blood sweat and tears. As we move through the rest of 2010, we are constantly reminded that our journey to youth development has entered a new chapter in the History of Children and Youth. And though we still press on prepared to pay with blood, sweat and tears, if our society is not willing to provide substantial funding as a tool to assist in the progress of this journey, the ability to forecast the future development of children will be equal to the predicting the distance that a car could travel partially filled with the cheapest gas one could find.
So, matter how we try to cut the cost we have only two choices. Pay now or Pay Later!
By Shafiq R. F. Abdussabur