There is a need to transform inner city youth in all of the cities across the United States. It is time to provide preventative measures, instead of reacting after the problem arrives.
The following solutions are ways to keep our kids focused and on the right path:
It starts at home, although kids will be influenced by the outside world. Teach kids to know and respect Jesus as their Lord and Savior while they are young, and do not allow them to decide if they want to go to church, take them to church whether they want to go or not. Most kids do not want to be in church because they feel it is boring. Always impress upon them the importance of knowing God and being a Christian. This instills all of the needed ingredients to maintain them throughout life.
Since we have so many broken homes without fathers, we must start to look after each others’ kids again. In order for us to do this, we must know our neighbors, and they must know us. This will become a tracking system that will enable us to know what our kids are doing.
Family discussions allow kids to respectfully talk about some of the issues that are bothering them. Eating dinner together as a family will be the ideal time to have those discussions.
An idle mind is very dangerous to our kids, and must be engaged at all times. Sports or other activities are great ways to keep them on the right path.
Our youth need strong and dedicated men and women in their lives who can act as active listeners when they feel that they can’t trust anyone else. Sometimes our kids will listen to other adults’ advice more than their own parents’ advice.
Continue to educate our kids about drugs and sex before marriage. Teach them about the seriousness of buying, using or selling drugs, and how it affects the community as a whole. Teach them the facts about AIDS/HIV. In a perfect world, we would not have to worry about our kids having sex before marriage, but since we know that some are out there having sex, it would probably be a good idea to teach them about protection.
One program that was very effective was a program that was designed by a good friend of mine named Dr. Lloyd Martin. There are several boys’ mentoring programs available, but Christian-based programs like Dr. Martin’s are rare. The program starts with a “Boys to Men” retreat, where several boys, ranging from the ages of eleven to fifteen, are taken to a camp. They wear military attire and are taught military bearing. This is an important part of the program because it teaches kids mental discipline and how to be leaders, not followers. It also taught the essentials of being a Christian and sharing your faith. The boys are taught interviewing, decision-making, problem-solving and leadership skills, keeping the main focus on solving problems without the use of violence, the importance of eye contact when communicating with others, the importance of education, and saying “no” to sex and drugs.
The young men are then taught about the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse, and how it affects their community. A visit to the county jail juvenile section is designed to put the boys face-to-face with reality. They are able to hear from young men who have made major mistakes and have been sentenced to large prison terms. This strategy has proven to be an effective tool to deter young people from committing acts of violence or dealing/using drugs and alcohol abuse. The officers also facilitate drug/alcohol education, which familiarize the adults and kids with the different types of drugs they will encounter and the dangerous affects of alcohol abuse.
Each young man involved in the program is required to complete essays that will cover the effects of drugs in the community and making moral decisions about not using drugs. The affects of the program have literally touched the hearts of the community, because it shows that someone cares.
If we don’t contain the fire now, we will lose the fight to save our children and the generations to come.