Disrespect. Apathy. Bullying. Depression. Anger. Gangs. Violence. Drugs. Sex.
These are the issues that teens are dealing with every day. They are so easily influenced by their peers. I see it in the mornings, when we all sit together to pray. A few people feel that it's "not cool" to pray, and that influences the entire student body to become ashamed of their faith. I see it in the classroom, when one kid starts acting up, the rest of them follow. If one or two people disagree about something the teacher says, suddenly everyone disagrees. Their lack of care for their education comes from one another- one student thinks he's cool because he never does homework, doesn't study...he/she can't waste their time with that, they have too much to do. Suddenly no one cares. Getting an A isn't something they strive for, because to them it's not cool. One kid starts bullying the quiet student in the class, that student becomes a target for everyone else to beat up on.
Then we get into the more serious challenges. The rate of teen depression is incredibly high. Their self-esteem is damaged. I see kids walking around this building with their heads down, barely saying a word. I see the kids who bully others because they don't feel good enough about themselves. The ones who get so angry over the smallest things, the ones who think its normal to be nasty to one another, because that's how it is in their world. I see the divide between the ethnic groups.
Taking it to an even more serious level is the stuff that I don't see at school. I'd love to say that drugs and sex don't happen but I know they do. It happened at my high school, it happens everywhere.
In the beginning I used the word "one" a lot. One kid...Well, all it takes is one teacher, one adult, one parent, one role model to reach out to these kids and touch their hearts. To teach them to be positive, to love themselves and love one another. I know I can't be that person for every student in this school, for every teen in Detroit, across America. I can't save the world...trust me, if I could take every single one of these students home, feed them, make sure they do their homework, provide for them, I would. I just can't do that.
As adults we need to show these kids and every kid the path to success. Not only in education and the jobplace, but in hearts and mind. Peer pressure will always exist, but by being a role model for a young person, by using our lives as an example, we may be able to change their minds. If we don't, we're going to start losing our youth.
The city of Detroit is suffering, we all know that. Some say it will never get better, some say it can only go up from here. I'm not sure what the fate is, but I know that the kids I see every day have the choice to make it great. We can't expect them to do it on their own. Let's let them follow us. Go out and make a difference.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world".
Currently listening to: "Gravity"- Sara Bareilles