One Way to Prevent Delinquency

Years ago, I read a poem by Tanielle Beard that struck me at my core. It’s a simple message that too many of us parents, teachers, coaches and employers forget. You may have read it yourself, but I offer a version of it I have updated below as a simple reminder to adults who care about students. I offer this as a reflection before we begin a new calendar year.


We read in the paper and hear on the air,
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere.
We sigh and we say as we notice the trend,
“This young generation…where will it end?”

But can we be sure that it’s their fault alone
These kids who do things that we don’t condone?
Who was it that shaped their first twenty years?
And who made the world they enjoy with their peers?

Are we less guilty, who place in their way
Too many things that lead them astray?
Too many movies of passion and crime;
Too much money, and more idle time.

Too many books not fit to be read;
Too much evil in what they hear said.
Too many children encouraged to roam,
By too many parents who won’t stay at home.

Kid’s don’t make the movies; they don’t write the books.
They don’t make the video games full of crooks.
They don’t make the liquor; they don’t run the bars,
They don’t change the laws; they don’t make the cars.

They don’t make the drugs that muddle the brain;
That’s all done by older folks…eager for gain.
Those awful teens, oh how we condemn,
The flaws of our nation and blame it on them.

But fixing the blame does not fix the cause,
Let’s look in the mirror and conclude as we pause.
In so many cases—it’s sad, but its true:
The title “delinquent” fits older folks too.

I don’t believe there’s such thing as illegitimate children. Only illegitimate parents. Before we mandate what’s right to our young, let’s model what’s right for them.

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One Way to Prevent Delinquency