I am beyond maddened by the current media fiasco over the Steubenville rape case. I know I'm not the only one, and this issue has been covered at length by blogs and websites that I follow regularly. I will not reiterate the content I've read, but rather feel the need to address a cultural problem that manifests itself in this case as well as in many other instances recently. The issue I have, aside from the blatant disregard for the ACTUAL victim in the media's coverage in this case, is with regards to the way kids in our society are handled. Teachers are not allowed to grade papers in red ink because someone out there believes that it will do damage to their psyche. Some kids sports leagues don't keep score because it might make the losing team feel bad. And, every kid on any team these days gets a trophy at the end of the season no matter how they played, what kind of sportsmanship they displayed, or how the team fared.
I do NOT understand or subscribe to this rationale in any way! I am the mother of two small boys, and feel that one of the greatest disservices I could possibly do them would be to withhold from them the knowledge, experience, and growth that comes from failure and disappointment. Those things are as much a part of life as success is, perhaps more than. I completely understand how difficult it is to sit and watch your child be sad and disappointed. I know all too well how much we as parents, as adults in society in general, want to give the youth all the backing and support and encouragement in the world. But doing so while shielding them from life's realities is just wrong.
You know what happens when you shield them from reality? They become inept at dealing with things appropriately. They have no sense of consequences. Just like not having to deal with a game loss, or having to look over a paper they did poorly and understand the magnitude of a miniscule scholastic failure. Flash forward you have a couple of teenage boys who think they should be able to say "I'm sorry" and erase a vile and horrible crime. They think they should be able to blame it on the bad decision of drinking and behaving badly. This is WRONG. And, as much as I blame the kids for doing something despicable and life changing for the actual victim, I also blame the parents of society today that feel like those kids (who were charged as minors, mind you, which was a kindness I don't necessarily they deserved) should have been pardoned for their crime.
They got exactly what they deserved. The committed a crime, they are the criminals, and shame on the media who has decided to treat them like anything less. This goes hand in hand with the way society treats children to far too great an extent in my mind. Actions have consequences. Period. Whether good or bad, there are always consequences. If people would hold children accountable for some of those consequences I firmly believe that atrocities like the ones those boys committed would be fewer because they would already have the concept of actions and consequences ingrained within them.