Suggestions from Beginning to End
1. We need to change our attitude about the children in general. They are not second class citizens and shouldn't be treated as such. They deserve to be ... heard and respected for their opinion. They need to be nurtured and they need to be dealt with on a consistent basis with a "tough love" mentality.
2. As a Christian congregation, we need to minister outside the church and focus on those that are questioning their self-worth. Those that feel they aren't worthy tend to attach themselves to those who prey on their feeling of worthlessness.
3. We need to stop complaining. That constant negative energy doesn't help your home or the people around you. That behavior breathes hatred and anxiety and a feeling of hopelessness. Action is the only avenue in which we can make our situation better.
4. Encourage our children but don't defile their efforts with belittling remarks when they don't perform or accomplish at 100%. Unlike the media who glorifies negative actions of a minority of youth we (The Reclaimers) have to highlight positive events, and achievements of our children within our family and community.
5. There are Sundays that you don't remember what the pastor's sermon was about. That's what happens when you are preached to and/or about, or you don't feel that the sermon is for you. Shut Down is all you can do. A child being preached to is the same way. So stop preaching and let them express themselves and correct inappropriate thinking.
6. Many times that violence outside the home stems from violence inside the home. One way to avert potential issues as this would be to be selective in a mate. Compatibility with children is as important and necessary for a healthy relationship as all the other standards you equate significant.
7. When was the last time you laughed and hung out with your kids? Teens can be a handful but do you know what they are talking about. Do you know who their friends are? How often do you have them over your house for a teen inspired function? Get the kids involved in activities that interest them and if presented right, you will be able to get them to do activities that you want them to do.
8. From a hard day at work, the least thing you want to do is be bothered with kids, talking and arguing etc (being kids) but the first thing you shouldn't do is paste them in front of the television. That is a cop-out. Send the kids outside to play, have them do some physical activity while you wind down. Matter of fact, tell them it's time to do their exercise regimen, and get out there with them. But if you chose to send them to the television then at least use the parental controls to monitor what they watch if you don't.
9. Volunteer your time at least once a week consistently for the betterment of kids and actually do something with them instead of just being there. Helping others will improve your attitude and will produce endorphins that will make you a happier person. If you feel that you don't have a talent then teach what you know. If you are a certified technician in anything, ask the local recreation facility if you can host a workshop for teens. In this economic time, learning a craft or trade would be very beneficial to the community.
10. Get to know your neighbors or at least something about them. I'm not saying invite them over for dinner, but get to name their names and speak when you see them. A block is harder to infiltrate when the perception is that everyone on the block is connected and may report illicit activity.
11. Consider getting a flood/spot light for your home with a motion sensor. Criminals are least likely to commit an offense in bright light when people can see them. Get a security system for your home. You will receive a discount for your homeowner's insurance but you will add another line of defense against intruders and potential violence.
12. If you see something tell it, don't sit on information that can be beneficial in stopping the crime in your neighborhood. If you are afraid of retaliation go to the police station and fill out a report. Befriend the police. Blocks that have a police presence usually have a lower crime rate as the criminals don't want to draw attention to themselves.
13. If you have a family member selling drugs, either using your home or on the street, report him or her. Don't give them a pass. Gun fire comes when one person is mad at another over money and drugs. Do you really want that kind of trouble in your home?
14. If you have a family member gang banging, it isn't totally your fault, but it is if you ignore it. When you look the other way at the actions of the youth, someone will become a victim to the idle-minded foolishness that they believe is truth. Do you want to die or do you want them to die? It will happen if you let them continue on that path of destruction. Report them also.
Our youth didn't get this way by chance. The example they were given was flawed. As a person we need to correct our behavior and then we can correct theirs. Accept and teach delayed gratification. Accept and teach respect for our investment (home, self, kids). Accept and teach responsibility for our actions and the repercussions.
We are at war in America with Americans and we need to assist others in the fight. If you constantly expect someone else to fight for you then you will always lose. Are you willing to die and face God knowing you didn't even try? How would you explain that to him?
I dare you to make a difference, and do something different.