Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Penn State Tragedy and the State of Our Youth

Almost on cue, as a follow-up to my earlier blog Entitlement, Self-Esteem and Self-Importance, we saw an explosion of moral absence from some students at Penn State. As part of the fall-out from the cover-up of child sex-abuse by one its coaches, the Board of Trustees of Penn State fired long-time coach Joe Paterno. Now in reaction to the firing of Joe Paterno thousands of students actually rioted on campus. They didn't hold little protest signs. They didn't march and chant. They rioted. Created anarchy. Set things on fire. Attacked businesses and persons. The question then becomes just what does that say about the upbringing of these adult-children?

I know for me it means, their parents did a really lousy job raising these morons. Yes morons. That they could not see that there was a decided lack of  ethical and moral behavior on the part of the Penn State coaching staff is frightening. It bodes that ill wind for the future that I have spoke of before.

That these highly educated young people could not see that it does not matter how much good you do in your world, if you allow the most evilest of evils to exist in your mists then you are no better than the child-rapist yourself. If you knowingly turn a blind eye to evil of any kind you are guilty of that evil as well. No one seemed to teach these children that even if you have no legal obligation to report or stop a crime you have a duty as a human being to intervene.

For these students it was all about their football. It was all about what Joe did for them. It was all about how Penn State football made them feel about themselves. My question is how does it feel to have as your hero someone devoid of morals, ethics and a conscience? What does it say about these youths that their hero is bereft of any sense of right and wrong?

I do not care that Penn State students wore blue in support of child sex abuse victims. I do not care that others held a candlelight vigil for the victims right after the riots. That is what they should have done. It is also not enough. These students should demand the expulsion of those who took part in the riots. The student government should demand teach-ins about morals and ethics and the obligations of one human being to another. They should demand that their fellow students who stood behind the amoral and unethical coaches of Penn State defend their actions before a court of their peers. They should decry any student who does not understand how truly horrible this situation actually happens to be.

Penn State is not alone in their problem. Cheating, bullying (cyberbullying), and victimizing one another is at an all time high among the youth of this country. I do not know if it is a lack of real religious upbringing (the obnoxious Michigan anti-bullying law which exempts bullying if its based on a  religious belief not withstanding-that has nothing to do with real religion in my book), a lack of education in morals and ethics, or a sense that people are entitled to whatever they want so nothing is out of bounds anymore. But one thing I do know is that there is a problem in this country and it needs to be addressed and addressed quickly.

The great rabbi Hillel, once taught:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But...
If I am only for myself what am I?
If not now, when?

I think the whole of our society could benefit from this message.


Meanwhile The Coffee Klatch held this special blogtalk session on how to talk to your children about the Penn State Tragedy. Give it a listen...

Listen to internet radio with The Coffee Klatch on Blog Talk Radio


Until next time,