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Thursday, October 2, 2008

What ever happened to the school of hard knocks?

I was reading a post today from one of my favorite bloggers (http://rapidcityjournal.com/blogs/editor/?p=631) regarding the wishes of a young girls parents. The parents asked the Rapid City Journal to remove a story from their archives detailing the drug arrest of their child. Their fear was that when potential employers Googled this girl's name the first entry that came up was the story of her arrest and that could prevent her being hired by said company.

The Journal refused using the reasoning that they "Couldn't erase history" and that the reporting on the arrest was factually accurate. The parents are now trying to go through Google to have this post removed.

This is one of many examples of parents denying their children one of life's most valuable and character building principals - accountability. While wanting to protect their child from any possible or further embarrassment is something I can understand is that path the right direction to go down? I struggle with society's need to preserve self esteem in our children and letting them learn their lessons the hard way.

What ever happened to letting children take responsibility for their actions? I am not suggesting that parents not protect their children from danger or even allow them to be set up for failure but I am suggesting that they allow them to feel the bumps and bruises that go along with poor choices. This girl got in to a car that was stopped and found to have drugs in it. The facts are simple, whether she got in knowingly or not is beside the point; she was associating with a person carrying drugs. Unless she was forced into that car against her will it appears that she might have made a poor choice.

Her parents would be doing their daughter a great disservice by trying and clean this up for her. Instead, her parents could let her take responsibility for her actions and suffer the consequences and allow her to learn a valuable lesson OR they could fix it all for her and allow her to learn nothing. Well, maybe not learn anything - she might learn that she can do whatever she wants without impunity and that mom and dad are nothing but suckers put on earth to clean up her mess.

At the Bulletin, we get many requests from people to "keep their name out of the paper" - especially in the Blotter section. Whether it be the embarrassment or shame we understand that desire but we have never allowed it to happen - at least in the 10+ years I've been here. The reasoning is simple - You shouldn't have put yourself in the position of having your name put in the Blotter section of the newspaper. Sorry 'bout your DUI - but maybe you shouldn't have driven drunk. Sorry about your MIP but you are just 16 years old. Sorry that your Grandma is going to upset with you but you should have thought about that before you made your choice.

It's all about accountibility. I really wish parents would not take that lesson away from their children.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And an indispensable life skill is the ability to prove yourself worthy of the job in spite of - or even because of - the mistakes you've made in the past. And hopefully learned from. If you try to erase them, they do you no good at all.

October 2, 2008 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Susan Carr said...

I certainly agree with you. I made so many mistakes, made so many poor choices but have turned out okay, I like to think.

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes - it is what makes us human. the problem comes when you are not allowed to learn from your mistakes.

October 2, 2008 at 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Shari Otteman said...

I'm all for learning from your mistakes. But there is a certain amount of latitude that we have traditionally extended children. Our "juvi" records for instance are sealed, allowing teenagers the opportunity to turn their lives around and taking away their excuse that because of one mistake they'll never be anything other than criminals.
I have to say I have always thought it unfortunate that newspapers run minor's tickets and arrests in the "blotter" (does the Bulletin?) Especially now in the age of the internet - the record of that girl's offense will never be able to be "sealed." It's on the internet forever! I don't know that it's Mommy and Daddy's place to try and intercede (how old was this girl?) but I guess I understand why they're uncomfortable with the situation.

October 2, 2008 at 2:54 PM  

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