A few days ago I wrote about a the Columbine-like disaster that was almost unleashed in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Were it not for a young man who contacted the police at his school to warn of the possible plot, dozens may have been killed. A few days later, another disturbing aspect of the story came out. The young man who contacted the authorities first went to his mother to share what he knew – how two troubled boys were collecting weapons and making plans for vengeance. He wanted to know if he should go to the police. His mother, incredibly, told him that the decision would have to be his, and that she would trust him to come up with the right answer. The boy then spent a long time mulling over the decision – the newspaper story didn’t report how long, but it may have been several days. He finally chose to go to the police, and the school was saved. The story quoted the young man praising his mother for her “good parenting” skills.
The media seemed so bubbly about the heroic young man that they missed a key point here: Why didn’t the mother immediately call the police herself? Why leave a life-and-death decision to her son, who may have been going to his death at school the next day? Maybe she didn’t understand how serious the situation was, but I know many who grew up influenced by pop culture in the 60s and 70s think it’s cool and wise to just be a “life coach” or “facilitator” for a child’s self-directed journey rather than actually telling kids what to do. Did that happen here?
Whatever was going on in Green Bay, here’s my little tip as a life coach for you parents: When people are making bombs, gathering weapons, and preparing for a massacre, don’t sit back calmly and wait for your kids to decide what to do. Call the police ASAP. Your duty is to protect your children and keep them out of harm’s way.
This principle can be extended beyond the scope of school massacres or even violence itself. Are you protecting them from danger on the Internet or other media outlets? Are you protecting them from drugs and other harmful substances? Are you protecting them from dangerous friends or other harmful influences? There are times when parents need to be actual guardians and take vigorous though sometimes unpopular steps to actually protect their children. Teaching correct principles is the best course – but sometimes, you simply have to say “no” or even call the police.