This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about being safe, travel in pairs and always let someone know where you are going and where you will be. Remember, that a young high school student on a college campus for orientation, academic or sports programs will be exposed to college students and college life. This means they may be confronted with drugs, alcohol and or being invited to parties they have no business going to. This applies as well to adult and or teenage counselors with young children. Remind your kids that they should always be in groups with their peers. No safe adult is going to ask to be alone with a child, for any reason.
Always go to the bathroom, back to your cabin with a friend(s)
Stay in groups when wondering the college campus or field trips
Don’t go anywhere alone with an adult or counselor (unless it is an emergency, injury etc.)
So, I came upon this a few weeks ago and could not believe my eyes. When I initially drove past this spot it was full of young middle school kids. I decided to go back after dropping my child off for practice. When I arrived, the kids were gone, but the backpacks, sweatshirts, and debris were still there as was the small airplane size bottle of liquor. My first instinct was to find out who had left the mess and have them clean it up. So, I took it upon myself to open the abandoned backpack and read the name on the school work. Bingo, I got the name. A few minutes later the boy to whom the backpack belonged came for it. I asked by name if he and his friends had left the mess. He said they had. By this time James from the Pali Garden Cafe was looking at the mess, the man who owns the office building where the brick wall is was out surveying the mess too. He stated that the kids often leave their trash on and around his property.
I told the boy to please go find his friends, get them to clean up as he would be responsible for it all. He left and returned with a few boys and girls. They immediately started cleaning up and a few boys even apologized to me. I reminded them that this community belongs to all of us and we are all responsible for keeping it clean and beautiful. No one claimed the liquor bottle, but they gave up the name of who brought it and drank it. So, someone’s Paul Revere middle school son is drinking, this is an important detail.
My second instinct was from a parent’s perspective. I would be extremely upset with either of my children for participating and contributing to such a mess. I challenge my kids to be upstanders, not bystanders, I want them to have the courage to interrupt a bad idea whether it by their friends or acquaintances. The box of cereal was dumped everywhere and pulverized, there were boba beads thrown and smashed against the wall, ketchup dumped, food containers left, and other contents smeared on the sidewalk. Please talk to your kids. Know what they are doing and with whom. These are our boys and girls who have the freedom to hang out in the neighborhood, ask them to me mindful and stand up to their friends. This is a benign result to a bad decision. It no one stands up to this why would they stand up to a friend who is drinking and driving? It is part of the same continuum if you ask me. P.s. If you see my children behaving poorly, being disrespectful to others and or vandalizing property, please tell me.
My son watches YouTube videos about sports, he loves watching basketball games…but the reality of a 9-year-old kid playing NYC ball on mythical courts of NYC was a far reach that was until we walked past one. He and I sat to watch a one on one game between two men. Within seconds, one of the men said, “Hey Little Man, I can see it in your eyes, you want to play.” After shooting around a bit, the pickup game began. It was a 2 on 2 person game. Mattias shot passed and dribbled the ball down the court like he was a regular. The men were extremely encouraging and inclusive, they gave him pointers throughout the game and congratulated when he made an incredible shot.
What surprised me most was that my son took the risk and said, “Sure.” My heart was happy watching him give and receive high 5’s and play with the big boys on the courts of NYC.
I have to say that the sibling bond stands out during moments of stress and fear. The bickering, the competing, the tattling and the noise gives way to gentle encouragement in these times. I watched my daughter face her on again off again fear of the ocean. Re-acclimating to the fun and surprise of crashing waves on the shoreline is a distant memory, as today the waves seem bigger and scarier. My son takes his sister’s hand and talks her through the fear, the same fear he felt moments ago when faced the same ocean.