Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious
stupidity. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hardly a week goes by when I am not shaking my head in sadness and/or outrage at stories of individual and societal ignorance or stupidity.
Law enforcement in a small community could not or would not press charges against four boys accused of raping a girl at a party because it was concluded there was "not enough evidence".
A teenage girl posted in a pregnancy forum that she needed help to determine if she got pregnant by her boyfriend because she "didn't learn about ovulation and all that".
The latest foofaraw over language in Quebec has made Time Magazine.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
During my formative years growing up in suburbia, everyone knew their neighbours. Everyone looked out for everyone else's kids. I or any other kid I knew could ring the doorbell of almost any house on the block and someone would help solve the problem.
You don't see that too much any more. Often both parents in a family (if there even are two present) are working. Kids are placed in daycare or after-school programs where they are practically raised by others. People are too focused on their own lives to bother with anyone else's, and might not even know their neighbours' names. Kids and teenagers are left to their own devices for long periods of time.
It's sad. And so it's no wonder that many young people now get into trouble. The adult support network just isn't there. When will people begin to take a more active role in the education and betterment of their children and their community?
I still think about the six-year-old boy that used to live across the lane from us. One day after school last spring he came over and asked to play with my daughter. I invited him in, got him a snack, helped him with his homework, and supervised as he and my daughter played together. An hour later his father knocked at the door, worried and furious because the boy hadn't told him where he was. The boy burst into tears, not wanting to go home. The apparent root of the problem was that the family was going to be moving away from the neighbourhood, and the boy was upset about it.
I'm glad that I was able to be there for that boy when he needed some help. It's the kind of thing we need more of.