I have a famous person in my family... well not really famous, more like "just happens to be on TV." Has anyone seen the reality show "Juvies" on MTV? Now, some of you may be saying, "MTV? *gasp* Oh Lord Above no!!!" I know I know, you spend all of your time on your knees praying... but I watch MTV now and again---I need to keep current on who is shaving their heads and which Hollywood star is running for President because they do after all have a 10th grade education!
Anyway, back to the show "Juvies" It is actually really good. If I were a teen and watched this show I may think twice about joyriding in grandma's car or stealing a stereo from the neighbor. It is about kids who go to the Lake County (which is in Indiana-where I grew up) Juvenile Detention Center. Now, I like to watch for a second reason... I always wonder if I will see anyone I know on there. So far--I have seen a lot of people! It is kind of like the time I was laying in bed flipping the channels and I turned to Jerry Springer (sometimes you just gotta slow down and stare at the car wreck!) and who do I see in the audience by my LITTLE SISTER! I woke my husband up yelling "Claire is on Jerry Springer!" She was not actually ON Jerry Springer (we are an Irish Catholic family, we drink away our dysfunction and then go to Sunday Mass... we don't go on the tele for all to see.) but she did buy tickets to go be in the audience. She has since repented and lives a life of marital bliss and piousness.
OK, I keep digressing. During this show, the juvenile delinquents are brought before a judge who then decides if they will stay at the center or go home with a parting gift of an ankle bracelet... much like the one Martha Stewart wore after her stint in the big house. My cousin, who is also my Godmother is the prosecuting attorney Kathy Guzek. I did not even know she was on the show--because to be honest, she is not the type to call the family saying "watch me on MTV!" and then run around screaming because she was able to meet Carson Daily. (He is a past VJ on MTV-just to keep you current). No, I was watching one day because like I said I wanted to see if I knew anyone on there and there she was! I was so excited. I have to say, she is one tough cookie on these kids... and on the parents.
Parent: "He is a good boy who follows the rules in our house"
Kathy: "So he was following the rules when he was out with his friends drinking?"
Parent: "No, he is not allowed to drink at our house"
Kathy: "Oh so what you are saying is that he follows the rules at your house but what he does outside of your house is OK? Did you know he was drinking? Do you allow him to drink? Do you always make excuses for you son?"
Parent: "I, uh, um, huh?"
Like I said... she is tough. She does her job well. I think America has gone soft when it comes to kids. We have parents who do not discipline, or when their kid gets in trouble they blame the school, the town, the teacher... everyone but the kid. When I was a kid, my mom smacked the junk out of me in the church parking lot because I was not where I said I would be. I told her I would be waiting by the back doors, but I had gone across the parking lot to the town Custard Shop where all the kids hung out. She gave it to me good... and then looked up to see Fr. Mark on the other side of the parking lot. I got in trouble for that one too! She said that I better pray that she was not in Father's sermon that Sunday! My mom is a good Catholic, she brings prayer and guilt into just about every situation! I was sweating all during Mass let me tell you!
Now, I am not saying that I support smacking the junk out of your kids... but I do believe in discipline. Last year I worked for a bit in a group home for girls. I was finishing up my degree and this was my internship. I went in and did group counseling and every week I took different girls to court to be in front of a juvenile judge. Parents were required to be at these court appearances. Most did not make it. I came to the sad conclusion that many parents today are selfish. It used to be that parents would sacrifice for the well-being of their children. Today, we see kids on the news and in the paper who have been forced to sacrifice their security, purity, innocence, and protection because mom wanted a new boyfriend who beat them, or dad is in jail due to drugs and the kid has been in 7 different foster homes in 7 different years. We hear news of horrible abuse to children-torture and neglect. The thing that frightens me the most is that one day these children will grow to be adults and who has been there to teach them how to be an adult? They are going to share this world with my children... that thought keeps me up at night let me tell you.
Now, I am not saying that my kids will not hit road bumps along the way, and I am also not saying that all kids who come from dysfunctional families are destined for a life of crime and drugs. I am saying that we need to pray. We need to pray for our children. We need to remember Who is was that entrusted them to us... they are not ours-they are God's children. When I became pregnant with our third child I remember dropping to my knees and feeling so humble that God would hand over one more of his children to me-a sinner.
Some may say that "It takes a Village" and this is true to a point. But first and foremost it takes a parent. It takes a person who is willing to place their children first in their lives. When I first started homeschooling, many people asked me why. I struggled with this answer for a long time and then one day it came to me the true reason why my husband and I made this life decision. You see, when we get to heaven we do not want God to look at us and say "did you have enough you time? Did you get to spend quality time alone? Did you fulfill all of your personal desires?" No, we want Him to say to us "I gave you my children, and you took that vocation seriously-in giving to them, you gave to Me." And then St. Peter opens the Gates and says "Come on in! We have pedicures to the left, massages to the right, and the chocolate bar has just opened!" Oh yeah!