Better role models for our children

Published 10:39am Friday, November 9, 2012

Growing up, I was blessed to have both my mother and father play an active role in my life. Some of my favorite memories as a child included visiting Disney World with my family, taking long road trips to visit my grandparents in Nashville and making day trips to the beach to spend a day basking in the sun. With my father driving and my mother in the passenger seat, I always knew I was safe.

Every child should be able to view their parents as their heroes and role models. One’s father and mother should be an endless source of comfort and wisdom throughout childhood. However, lately I’ve been seeing a trend that completely contradicts this idea.

One of the daily duties of a Times-Journal reporter is to make a trip to the Dallas County Jail to pick up the most recent arrest report.

Usually this simple task entails going in to the main office and asking for the report and only seeing one or two employees before exiting. But on some days, the county jail comes strangely alive with children’s laughter. From an outsider’s perspective, on these days the jail looks similar to a pediatrics office waiting room or small playground.

And the most disturbing part of it all is none of these children seem to think where they are or what they are doing — visiting a parent or close family member in jail — is odd. Looking at their large grins and playful spirits, you would think they were just going along with mom as she runs an errand.

Visiting mom or dad in jail should not be a normal activity.

As I leave the jail on days like these, sometimes I’ll glance down the hallway where visitors can talk to their loved ones through a thick glass window. I’ll see mothers holding children in their laps while they try to balance a phone on their shoulder.

Parents are supposed to be positive role models for their children. A good example is certainly not being set if children are continually visiting their role models in jail.

Future generations should not look back on their childhood with memories of seeing their parent through a thick glass wall. Their memories should be playing catch with dad, or having their mother congratulate them as they score the winning goal of a soccer game.

If crime is a reoccurring problem in our community, then let’s tackle the root of it. Let’s stop turning the jail into an area day care on Friday through Sunday.

Let’s set good examples for our children, so they grow up to be positive members of society. Let’s stop disobeying the law and start acting as role models.

By setting good examples and abstaining from criminal activity, parents can raise children that will grow up to be beneficial members of society.

And it could all start with one less jail visit.

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