In our nation, students take tests regularly to prove what they know or don’t know (if you believe that these tests actually are a true gauge of knowledge), seniors must take a test to graduate, college-bound students take SAT and ACT’s, anyone who wants to drive must take a written test and a driving test to get a license, and in many professions, you must take a test to prove you are equipped to perform that job before you can even apply for that job. But what about the most important job you will ever do in your whole life; where is the test for men and women to take that proves you are competent and prepared to be a parent?
Is it just me, or are we inundated with stories of parents who have no business being parents? I blogged recently about the 6-year old who took a loaded gun to school, now here’s an equally unbelievable story from Pensacola, Florida, of a third-grader who took her mom’s marijuana to school.
It happened last Tuesday, late in the afternoon at Lincoln Elementary School. Just before the final bell sounded, a little girl took a bag of marijuana out of her jacket pocket, showed it to the class, and announced, “This is some of my mom’s weed. It’s what my mother puts in blunts.”
Can you imagine the shock that teacher must have felt? What third-grader should even know what a blunt is, let alone have access to drugs? Irresponsibly criminal!
A phone call was made to the sheriff’s office where an investigation into how an 8-year old girl could have easy access to marijuana began. Upon arriving at the address listed at the school for this young girl, police discovered it was the home of the girl’s grandmother, who had no idea where her daughter was currently living. So that leaves you wondering if it’s the mother’s marijuana or the grandmother’s. Who’s taught this girl about blunts?
The sheriff’s office said no charges were being filed against the little girl, and no information regarding the girl’s family is being released at this time.
Deputy Chris Welborn, the spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said, “They’re raised in that environment. Apparently, the mother doesn’t feel that it’s wrong to use drugs in front of her child or leave the drugs lying around where the child can get a hold of them.”
When asked about this unusual situation, school superintendent Malcolm Thomas said, “Drugs are destroying the fabric of our society. They’re everywhere. They’re in every strata of income, and the devastation is pretty tough.” He further stated that their school system is being very aggressive when it comes to drugs coming into their schools. “We’ve put K-9 dogs in our schools. We sweep our schools every day. It’s a random selection of schools. We’ve conducted over 300 drug sweeps this year. We’ve only found hits 21 times,” Thomas said.
But their approach is not just reactive; it is also proactive as they try to educate students on the dangers of taking drugs. On Thursday, Thomas paid a visit to Pine Forest High School where he recognized the winner of an essay contest who wrote about the assigned topic: how to raise drug awareness in your school. (Kind of ironic timing in lieu of the awareness that was raised about drugs in this school system by the little girl from Lincoln Park Elementary, huh?)
Thomas was quick to stress that drug awareness can’t just be a school matter; incidents like the one that occurred at Lincoln Park Elementary need to be prevented at home. “Parents have to step up. They have to take responsibility and they need to be aware. Not only of the substances they may be using in their home, but also the language they’re using around their children because we’re teaching them. We’re teaching them in the home and we’re teaching them in the school. And I’m afraid, in some of the homes, we’re teaching the wrong thing,” Thomas said.
Amen! Parents, if you are going to have children, take on the difficult job of being a real parent, and that involves sacrificing your wants and needs for the wants and needs of your child. It involves teaching them right from wrong and showing them, through your own life, the difference between the two.
It’s not easy signing on for parenthood, but it is the only job that brings the rewards that touch your heart and fill your life with a sense of accomplishment and love that will last forever.