Chips Off the Old Block

I recently heard a press reporter tell the following story. I don’t recall her name or the town she was talking about, but I almost cannot believe what she said happened.

She was writing about teens in an affluent suburban community, buying and consuming liquor. At one point in her investigation, she became aware of a party at the home of a teenager, where alcohol and drugs would be available. The party began with about eight kids and quickly grew to about eighty teenagers partying into the night, drinking, popping pills and turning the house into what could pass for a downtown bar. The police raided the house, arresting most of the underage drinkers.

At the police station where the kids were held, their parents were called to come and get their children who would be facing various charges related to their illegal consumption of alcohol and drugs. The reporter described the reaction of the parents as a combination of outrage at the police for arresting their kids and anger at their children for getting caught instead of fleeing the house as some of the partygoers had done. She said only one parent took a kid to task for being at the party and drinking.

When she wrote her story about the party, the parents’ behavior and the teenage drinking that was going on in the town, she was subsequently bombarded with hate mail and threats against her and her family.

So the next time you hear someone blame the decline of morals, ethics, family values, or whatever constitutes decency on broken homes, fatherless children, minorities on the dole, or the unemployed being people who just don’t want to work, think about this well-to-do town with its good schools, fine houses, churchgoing families and the kind of example its parents are setting for their children. These are the kids who will grow up thinking the law is not for them to worry about, except how to circumvent it for their own gain. These are the kids for whom whatever money can buy is their entitlement even at the expense of the rest of society. These are the kids who will make up the next generation of greed and corruption that will enrich them while bringing our economy to its knees. These are the kids who will become the new Madoffs, spawn the next Enrons, buy their way into office and graduate to the companies of K Street to own our government.

And we, their parents, will have helped create them.