How to Break the Cycle

Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 by Bryan Troupe in
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Why is the number of absentee fathers or mothers so prevalent among children raised in inner city areas? Why are scores of teenage girls giving birth to children? The HIV virus is highest among young men and women in the inner city neighborhoods. The crime rate is highest among the youth that reside in inner city areas. The murder rate is highest among the young kids that reside in the inner city areas. Are we seeing a trend here? These negative rates are the highest when compared to any other residential area in America. The only rate that seems to be extremely low here, sadly, is the rate of literacy. There is an astonishingly large amount of children that do not know how to read. And they will graduate with no problem, STILL not able to read!
So, again, the question is why are these negative issues so dominant in inner city neighborhoods? Some may point to religion, stating that the youth need to become more religiously active. Indeed, the core of inner city neighborhoods is religion or the neighborhood church. But the inner city churches have become increasingly at odds with the upcoming and modern generation. Many of the free-willed younger generation look at life in general with more of a quizzical type eye than their parent(s) or grandparent(s). There are many inner city churches that refuse to teach their children about practicing safe sex, instead choosing to teach children to remain abstinent. True enough, abstinence will definitely stop the use of teenage children giving birth and prevent STDs, but what if the children do not practice abstinence? Obviously, the answer speaks for itself. Take a glance around a poverty stricken area, and it is evident that teenage mothers did not follow the rules of abstinence. Not all inner city churches follow this doctrine, but there are still quite a few that do. Also, what if a young person decides that they do not want anything to do with a church? Should society give up on that person? Let's hope not.
An extremely accurate diagnosis for the plight of the inner-city youth is lack of parenting and the absence of family. Many children, especially in poverty stricken areas, have unfortunately taken on the responsibility of raising and parenting themselves. The majority of the households are single parent households, and the one parent may work long hours, which interferes with being able to raise a child properly. In many of these areas, the parenting situation is even worse for the child. The parent may have had their child or children at a young age, and many times that parent has never fully matured. A parent may be fighting an addiction to drugs and therefore not able to give a child the attention they desperately need and crave. Or a parent may crave the attention of a "significant other" (boyfriend or girlfriend) over the love of their own child. Whatever the reason, the fact is there are many children in inner city areas that do not have a parent that is making a positive impact on their lives. The result is more often than not an endless churning circle, meaning that the children will only repeat the same fateful results as their parents. If a child has no parent to raise them properly, then it should be crystal-clear that this same child may be heading toward a cul-de-sac in life. So the question becomes, if these inner city kids do not get the parenting they deserve, do we simply write them off as the fault of the parent? Although it is the fault of the parent for not supplying the nurture and care that a child needs, do we help a child with an absentee parent? Or do we walk away? Let's hope that we would not leave a child in this type of predicament.
The one and only thing that would help our inner city youth more than even parenting is education. There are probably many that scoff at the idea of education being placed ahead of parenting as a priority. However, being that many of the inner city youth do not have the parenting they so desperately need means that they may be headed for either prison, death, or both. How can education help to solve these negative issues facing the youth? It is simple. Proper education will give the youth something to look forward to and stop the cycle of redundancy. The issues of teen pregnancy, absentee fathers, STDs, and criminal acts can all be done away with if the youth are properly educated. The process of education needs to begin from grades K and continuing through grade 12. School needs to be a sanctuary of sorts for these inner city kids, the one place that they are able to relax and be a child.
Currently, the schools of the inner city areas are disasters. A lot of the blame can be placed on many of the teachers, who can be very lackadaisical and apathetic when it comes to teaching. Quite a few teachers seem resigned to the "fact" that there are some students are failures, and there is nothing that will change that. Of course, nothing is further from the truth. For many of these inner city kids, school is their last viable option to strive for success and make their voices heard. When a teacher basically gives up on a child, that child will definitely recognize this form of rejection and turn to the only thing they know - the streets.
Not all teachers of inner city schools are unworthy to be teaching. There are teachers who want to help these students in every way possible, but only have a limited amount of resources to complete their job. This is the fault of those in the school administration and on the school boards. These teachers deserve more pay for what they are being asked to do. The students that walk through those school doors need the proper attention that they may fail to get at home, on top of being taught and understood. A plan would be for each teacher to have some type of assistant or monitor that basically is similar to a counselor for the students. Not a few counselors for the entire school, but one counselor or mentor for each classroom. In these classrooms, a lot more will be going on than teaching. There should be listening, on the teachers and counselor's behalf. There should be plenty of sit down and one on one session with each child. And this teacher’s pay would definitely have to be raised.
It would be amazing at the results that would come about if a group were to be properly educated throughout their entire school life. It would affect the amount of teens becoming pregnant, the amount of youth catching diseases, and the multitude of crimes that the youth may commit. In turn, once these students graduate and start families, these new families will be affected positively. Now the cycle has been broken. Many of this new educated generation will go on to complete college. Most will be able to start new jobs in their communities. And now the negative face of the inner city can began to change in a positive direction.

 

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