Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Parents teaching kids to break rules and laws

There are times that I just shake my head at parents I see out and about in the world. I wonder what they are thinking or even if they are thinking at all. There are many examples but one that I've been seeing lately involves trespassing.

We have a park just 2 blocks from our house. The park has been largely unused in recent years simply because there isn't anything there to draw families and younger children. There's a nice large expanse of grass, dotted with beautiful mature trees. There's an old baseball diamond, a large grassy field, and a basketball court sans nets. There are a couple of swings, often broken or wrapped around the bar overhead so that they are too high for children to reach. There is the old, usually locked bathrooms. And finally, there's the tiny, old, broken-down, unusable play structure. It doesn't draw a lot of people.

So, the city decided to give the park a much needed updating. They've been putting in new bathrooms, a brand new playground, new picnic benches, new or improved walkways, and some much needed parking (the park currently has none). Still to be completed is the installation of new lighting to improve safety, for we live in a not-so-good part of town. While it appears done, it isn't. For now, a temporary rent-a-fence still encloses the entire construction area, complete with a small tractor.

Rather than being patient (and yes, it is hard to be patient), families have decided to trespass. Nearly every decent weather day, we see families inside the confines of the fence, playing on the new equipment. These parents are literally sliding a section of the fence open and slipping through with their children...trespassing...breaking the law.

Another example is at our local elementary school. There is a lower play area and an upper field with a track and play structure. The upper field is open to the public during non-school hours. The lower blacktop and play area is fenced and locked after school hours due to alcohol and drug use on the premises. Rather than respect the locked fence, parents are holding the gate open (it is locked with a chain) so that they and their children can slip through...trespassing...breaking the law.

What are they thinking? Do they even consider the long term consequences of teaching their children that trespassing and breaking the law? How will their children learn that it is not okay to break established rules and laws? Of, if the parents believe that some laws are ok to break, how will their children know which ones are ok to break? When these kids grow older and start to rebel and break the parents' own rules, do they even have a right to complain? I mean, they were the ones that taught their kids to break the ruls in the first place? And finally, since it impacts everyone in society, what can those of us who are law-abiding citizens do about it, if anything? After all, these children who are being taught to break the law may very well decide that trespassing on our property is acceptable.

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The Four Week Vegan said...

Wow, that does seem extreme - sliding the fence and playing in the park under construction. Sounds like the park will be really nice when it is done though :)