The brutal murder of a 16-year-old boy in Chicago several weeks ago has brought youth violence to the headlines once again. Many leaders agree that this latest example is one more wake-up call for our nation to take action to combat some alarming trends, but in all of the talk, there are few viable solutions recommended.
A Dad’s Point-Of-View
One of the clichés about volunteerism is that "you get more than you give." In my case, it was true in ways and means I least expected. I’ve just become a Big Brother, again, to a 7-year-old boy and a mentor to a 23-year-old young man. As these relationships are new, I don’t yet know what lessons I will learn. But I know well the lessons I learned the first time around.
An amazing story of hope comes from Texas high school football. Kris Hogan, coach of the Faith Christian Lions in Grapevine, looked at his team’s schedule and noticed that they’d be playing against Gainesville State School, a correctional facility for teens. Leading up to that game, he had an out-of-the-box idea:
In this day and age, virtually every kid could use another friend. All of us must wake up a bit, attending to the tough circumstances in which too many kids are growing up. Being keenly alert to the essential importance of one-on-one relationships between adult mentors and kids and gaining understanding about the pivotal difference each of us can make.
Dad, there’s a kid who has a question for you. Just ask Jim.
Kids need dads, and we can always find proof in some of the essays written for our essay contest. In the midst of the all happy sentiments we receive, these essays are reminders that many kids out there don’t have a father in their lives. The essays they send—about the importance of fathers—bring a whole different set of emotions.
Most of us have no chance to change the world. But any of us can have an impact on our own little corner of the world.
Don Shulz is a 64-year-old retired gentleman who suffered a stroke over four years ago. Now, he's restricted to a three-wheeled motorized wheelchair. I'm sure some men in that condition would give up on life, thinking they had nothing more to contribute.