Why is there such a lack of respect for others among young people these days?

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Answered by: Tori, An Expert in the 20-somethings Category
It's amazing to me when I look out and see the sad state of the world I live in. And my generation, dubbed the millennials, seems to be the worst generation yet. When we should be starting out our adult lives focused on building a successful future, getting a career, and maybe even starting a family, I see many of my fellow young adults getting themselves into deep trouble and ruining their lives, as well as the lives of others. I find this very sad.

Not long ago, I heard of a young man who arranged to have his mother killed. Now that in itself is shocking and horrific. How can a man kill his own mother - the woman who bore him, raised him, took care of him, and gave so much for him, as every loving mother does for her child? How could he premeditate such a terrible act? I cannot understand.

What was his motive? The news said that he was the sole beneficiary of her life insurance. After one of his accomplices killed his mother, he took the $90,000 in her bank account, and he also started collecting the money from her life insurance.

One thing I find very disturbing, is that crimes such as this are gradually becoming - dare I say - commonplace in our society. It is no longer rare to hear of murder, rape, armed robbery, teen pregnancy, school shootings, the lack of respect for authority, and the list goes on and on. I often wonder, what type of future will there be left for my kids? Will things just keep getting worse and worse until America is yet again engulfed in civil war? Why is this even happening in America? What happened to cause us to even have to worry about such a thing?

The answer is both simple and complex. A lack of proper character education lies at the core of the problem. Many times, as parents, teachers, and other adults in a child's life, we allow negative influences to be unnecessarily placed in front of them. Now of course, we cannot control every single thing our children are exposed to, but we do have control over many of them. For instance, many times we allow our children to be exposed to violent movies and tv shows, or play violent video games, and we tend to think it's just harmless entertainment. But is it?

Children are like sponges; they soak up everything around them, everything they see and hear - positive or negative. It all goes into their little minds. Then it all comes out later in their actions and words. Many parents have become quite aware of this when their child repeats words or phrases that they heard at home, sometimes causing embarrassment to the parent.

So, I ask you to consider this: if we allow our children to witness violence being portrayed as an acceptable way to solve problems on the screen, do we not think they will get the impression that violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems in real life?

The same goes with any negative behavior. How many times do we witness acts of stealing, hatred, murder, a lack of respect for others, teen pregnancy, etc. being glorified on television and in the movies, with no consequence to the perpetrator? And then we wonder why we have children and young adults doing the same in real life?

There is much truth to the saying, "garbage in, garbage out." If we put negativity into our children's minds, negativity will come out. If we allow our children to view media depicting wrong behavior as okay, they have, in effect, learned that it's acceptable to resort to wrong behavior in real life.

As parents and teachers, what we should be putting in front of our children is what we want to see come out in their actions. Positive influences encourage a child to develop positive behaviors, and, in turn, build a positive character. If we want to raise positive, caring leaders of tomorrow, we need to ensure that we firmly ground them by accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. This includes positive and negative influences. It's up to us to make sure our children are well educated, not only in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in how to make right choices and resist the temptation to do wrong. It's up to us to guide the next generation in the way of peace, if we want to help them avoid the turmoil that so many young men and women are caught up in today.

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