Niagara Gazette — There’s a difference between neighbors looking out for each other and vindictive social crusaders looking to nail someone who’s merely trying to get their kid to stop being a brat. Unfortunately, we no longer know the difference.
When you let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction, when you get kids who no longer are afraid of being punished, when they’re allowed to consume a regular diet of people disrespecting people who are encouraged to settle their disputes with violence, you’re not in for a happy ending.
Of course, what then do I offer as a solution? That’s the problem. I wish it were as easy as offering a couple of clever lines of advice. I’d be a smarmy fool if I thought one column could make it all go away.
I do think, though, that this is where my realm of sports may come in handy. See some local kids who don’t seem to be getting any guidance? Play catch with them. Invite them into your pickup game. Sit them down, switch off the Jerry Springer and put on a ball game.
In many cases, you’re dealing with young folks who don’t get such guidance at home. I’m not saying become their full-time surrogate parent, but even a little exposure of a better path may be all they need to stay on it.
It may even save a life someday. Perhaps theirs, perhaps yours, perhaps even the life of a stranger from another land that now sadly but rightly looks at us with suspicious eyes.Follow Niagara Gazette Sports Editor Michael Mroziak on Twitter at MrozGazette