As school starts up for our children, I think of my biggest reality check as a parent. I worked for a year on weekend nights in the Juvenile Hall Infirmary. This is a place all Parents should VISIT. Go talk to these kids, & get a dose of some horribly neglected lives. A look at the children passing through the Juvenile Detention system is the best affirmation I know of for the importance of parental love, guidance and support that every child requires. Oh, the detention facility is not awful. These kids get warm beds, regular meals, & attend school every day. Medical, dental, vision, & even psych care is provided. It’s not ideal, but it beats the abuse and neglect most of them suffer through at home. Some – no many – are repeat offenders, by choice. I had kids tell me that they shoplifted or tagged the walls of a pizza shop, just so they could go back to juvie. Imagine the unthinkable environment they return to, once released. Violent families, substance abuse, molestation, stupidity + poverty induced neglect & crime. Vengeful hate. Total lack of love & protection. As the weekend night charge nurse, I was warned never to turn my back on these kids, never doze off…young murder suspects have already killed, so they won’t think twice about killing again to get a set of keys to escape. I was shocked how many young kids are committing violent heinous crimes. 1000's of young boys & girls. Pregnant teens. STD, HIV, & TB infected youth. You don’t hear about every one of these cases; the media only picks up a random few. The icy, angry, hateful look in some young suspects’ eyes can shred your heart, & send chills down your spine. Go & look, listen, & learn. It will stay with you forever. One night was so upsetting, I rushed home, & took pictures of my sleeping Girls’ precious fingers & toes at 6 A.M. for solace.
Counting my Blessings, always.