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Friday, October 5, 2018

WTF - New Normal

I was asked about my opinion on raising teenage boys in the day and age of the Kavanaugh hearings. Specifically what happened back in high school.

I am not going to tell you my thoughts on the hearings because honestly, that is none of anyone's business. But I have sat my boys down and talked to them about this situation along with ways to protect themselves in this day and age.

Social media has erupted and changed the way teens live their lives. This was part of a conversation with my children:

My constant reminders to my children are that they be respectable, honorable and responsible.  I know they are good kids but sometimes make foolish decisions.

I'm not telling my boys to walk on eggshells with girls in social situations, I am telling them to be careful. Specifically:

1. Assess all situations asking yourself key questions, are they honorable and responsible? If you have any doubt leave that situation immediately.

2. Surround yourself with friends you know and trust. Keep those friends close especially in public situations. You know they have your back and you have their back.

3. Always question invites outside your circle of friends. Who's going to be there? If you don't know anyone, it's probably a better idea not to go.

4. If a situation is different than what was presented, leave that situation immediately.

5. Large social gatherings now should require a buddy system with one of those friends you trust.

6. Always remember every situation has someone taking pictures with their camera. If you behave honorably you may not worry. Unfortunately, honorable things may be taken out of context and made to not look as honorable. Having that buddy system will help.

7. Things you put on social media thinking they disappear after 24 hours never truly disappear. Always treat anything you'd put out there as shouting it to the world and not being able to take it back. Is it worth it? How does it make you look? Pause before you send it.

Now that my son has a girlfriend, he has the added addition of making sure he's honorable and respectful to her. He once was going over to a friends house to hang out in the hot tub, I asked who would be there. He wasn't sure. I mentioned to him, "Remember if you go over there and it's all girls and someone sends out a Snapchat of you there, who could you be hurting?"

The scary part is I am sure in the current Supreme Court situation both parents probably told their children the same thing. There comes that time when you pray you brought up your child in an honorable manner, and you pray that they stay safe. You also pray that they don't end up in a situation like the one we are seeing play out in media. My oldest turns 18 next year and it's even scarier sending him out into the world.

Was I an angel in my teenage years? Hell no. I am lucky I grew up without cell phones and constant social media. Most of my foolish decisions were not recorded. I'm the same age as Kavanaugh and Ford and think back to some of the things I did at parties and during Beach Week. I may still have a few bad decisions as an adult now but I'm hoping people don't judge me on my teenage years and I'm also hoping there are not a few pictures out there proving my bad decisions.

And whether you believe either party in this debacle,  the key point we must remember is our country's founding belief, you are innocent until proven guilty. When we lose that we dissolve into anarchy.

What other suggestions would you add to keep our teenagers safe in this new day and age?

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