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home : blogs_old : ability and accountability June 29, 2015

Ability and Accountability
By Richard Haddad, Prescott Valley, AZ
"[Children] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
"Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it."

-- Two of my favorite quotes by Jim Henson

Friday, January 15, 2010

One person to stand up and say, 'Hey, leave him alone'

 By Richard Haddad

One of the greatest pains my heart has ever known is to see a child who has lost all hope. In desperate moments, when they feel utterly alone and worthless, some choose to end life. Sadly, sometimes the weight of their loneliness and despair is mingled with rage, so the lives they end may not just be their own.

Since Columbine, school officials throughout the country have sought to protect their students by attempting to identify potential gunmen. They look for boys who fit the profile -- students who are outcasts, withdrawn, victims of repeated incidents of bullying, children who do not have the social skills to fight back or stand up for themselves in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, many adolescents fit this profile and the very act of singling out these individuals perpetuates their feelings of not belonging and not fitting in.

The witch-hunt must end. Instead of searching for problem children, we need to find ways to help children with their problems.

I don't have the answer, but perhaps these two thoughts could be part of the solution.

One: Our young people need to know they have a support system, someone they can turn to for protection and comfort when they feel victimized. Ideally, this system should include parents, church leaders, a favorite teacher and even their peers.

Two: All of our children need to be taught to look out for one another. There must be a change in America's school environment that brings greater awareness of the pain that is inflicted when intolerance and cruelty are allowed to go unchecked.

Both of these ideas can be summed up in one simple word, compassion.

Obviously all children are not going to be compassionate, but all it takes is one person to stand up and say, "Hey, leave him alone." This one voice can be a voice of comfort in the life of a troubled young person who believes nobody cares.

Parents, gather your children around you tonight and ask them to be that one voice. Ask them to not only avoid teasing others, but to take a stand against it.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 08, 2010
Article comment by: Richard Haddad

To James -- I am not sure if there are programs or organized meetings available for our area students. I know that whenever I have gone in to talk to the counselors at Bradshaw Mountain High School for my teenagers' class schedules they often seem completely overwhelmed. I find it hard to picture that they would have the personnel to identify or help a student at risk from severe bullying. I find it even harder to believe that the staff at BMHS has the resources to help shape a culture of courtesy and respect. This is not necessarily the fault of the counselors, it seems to be a failure of our public school system that will only continue to degrade as schools are asked to do more with less. Especially here in Arizona, the lack of school funding is adding to this issue exponentially. It needs to happen in the walls of our own homes. Unfortunately, a home where a mother and father can shape such an environment is also under extreme pressure in recent generations.

Posted: Sunday, February 07, 2010
Article comment by: Beam me up Scotty

Hey Richard, we need a new comment from you so we can chew on it. How About it?

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Article comment by: James D.

Have you by any chance thought of holding some sort of meeting on this subject? If so I'd be there in a heartbeat & I would tell of my own experiences. I'm 19-years-old, graduated from Bradshaw in 2008 & although I had many fun times in school it was still plagued by people who constantly tried to put me down in every way. Now a days I look back on it & I've come up with ideas that could possibly help with this type of issue.

Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Article comment by: No name provided

My daughter, a beautiful young lady, feels like and is treated like an outcast at her high school because of the way she dresses. She is unique and doesn't wear the cookie cutter jeans and tshirt. She loves to be different and wear brightly colored combinations and thrift store finds but she doesn't like the way her classmates treat her because she does this. I believe part of this treatment is based on jealousy by some of the other girls, she is actually quite stunningly pretty - not just in my opinion, but I have been told that by many others as well. And usually people just don't say anything at all if it's not true. That treatment saddens and distresses her (and has made her somehow believe that she's not at all attractive, although she is), but it doesn't force her to be like everyone else. It has been the same way forever, this is not a new thing. It was like that when I was in high school, it was probably like that when my parents were in high school. They say to dare to be different, but if you are, you must have very broad shoulders.

Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Article comment by: Richard Haddad

I agree. There are times when I wonder if it would be best to require user registration for the newspaper's Website, and then only allow verified users to post comments. I see this requirement on a number of sites. But the restricted sites rarely have as many comments and public discussions as The Daily Courier. So in the end, it seems these blogs and reader article comments provide more good than harm.

Regarding your thoughts on the example we set for our children in the home -- (I mentioned this on an earlier blog) I heard it said once, "One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother." I think this is one of the greatest influences for good or evil in the world.

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010
Article comment by: Listen and Think

Hello Richard Haddad: I just finished reading your thoughts regarding our children, and agree 100%,but I must add, How can we teach our children to take a stand against their peers,especially the bullies, if we cannot get adults to behave in a responsible manner,and show respect toward one another? It all starts in the home, children act out what they see and hear as they grow from infancy to school age.The words they hear their parents speak to one another regarding the people they come in contact with while at work, or in the neighborhood, or even on the phone are imprinted in their minds as to how they should behave toward one another. The Comment Section and the Blogs this paper has given us to use as a tool so we can reach out into the community and share our thoughts was a great idea. I'm sure that you have read many of these comments,and in general they are written by thoughtful people with some great ideas that gives us all so many different views to mull over. On the other hand, you surely have read many of the not so nice comments by those who call themselves adults, who like bullying children ,put down other writers, use name calling to make themselves feel better,which is exactly why bullies do the same thing. Our Country has gone down a slippery slope. I sometimes think that animals don't treat each other in the nasty manner that we do,and it isn't getting better. I don't have an answer to the problem, it's an individual choice to behave as an adult and keep in our vocabularly words like Compassion,Caring, Respect, Love, Help one another,Assist,Give when needed,etc. So friend I'll keep trying to do what I preach,but like most folks I also slip once in a while,but try not to let it happen as a way of life. I weep for our children in this age we live in.

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