Friday, July 17, 2009


In the Virginia Tech tragedy, 32 people died. An English teacher expressed concern about the gunman 18 months earlier. The counseling service didn't have authority. The University had the authority to expel the student but did not.

What is amazing about all the reporting is lack of attention to the family. They had authority - they helped pay college bills. Why didn't they make it their business to check their son's college life and quarters? It is hard to hide big, automatic weapons.

When we send kids to college, they can think they are free - free from family and free to do as they wish. Here is where both families and kids can get it seriously wrong. Parents need to know all about their child's college life, exposure to different values and close friends. Legal age has nothing to do with all this because family is family and family is paying.

These parents may have been confused about their responsibilities. They must not inflict a school with problems they can't control. They must be sure the big expenditure is worthwhile. They must provide their child with the support he/she needs regardless of age.

Teens and youth can kick up dust in parent's faces. Parents need to see that the dust-kicking is merely a test to see if parents mean what they say. No family should turn a child into the community who does not get the rule of law. A "Yes" is Yes and a "No" is No.

The rule of law is very simple. In life, there are rules. Law breaking leads to consequences. The consequences are usually sufficient to ensure law-keeping. Despite the mechanics of law, children must learn respect for others. Children learn respect for law and others early in their family life.

Give us your opinion on this latest FAMILY CHALLENGE.