The Role of Parents

As with many stories, given enough time the facts slowly come out. Unfortunately, by the time the full story is available, those with specific agendas have derailed the facts and used the story for their own purposes, leading people to draw the wrong conclusions. Such is the case with the school shooting in Santee, California.

Charles "Andy" Williams, the boy who did the shooting in that California school, was described as a "nice and gentle boy." Initially, it was reported he was picked on by bullies, but never showed signs of being capable of doing such a despicable act like shooting up a school. The conclusions of anti-gun advocates is, once again, it's the gun's fault and we need to get rid of all of them.

This argument is nothing short of stupid. A gun is a tool. An inanimate object. You could do similar damage to a person's head with a hammer, screwdriver or club as you could with a gun. Mind you, the gun is a more efficient tool for such activities, but it doesn't change the fact that the gun can't do the damage on its own, it has to have an "enabler," meaning someone to load it, hold it, aim it, and pull the trigger. With the rantings of anti-gun zealots, the real facts and proper conclusions are lost.

Slowly the facts are leaking out. Andy came from a troubled family and wasn't all that nice. His mother had abandoned the family. Dad was busy with work and had no time for his kid. Andy was left to his own devises to take care of and entertain himself. Reports coming out now say that Andy gave plenty of signals of what he was capable of. The boy had told a friend he was depressed, even suicidal. He "joked" about getting revenge on his tormentors.

Andy's activities outside of school left a lot to be desired as well. He had shot a friend in the head with a BB gun last summer. Andy hung out with what was described as a rough crowd, involving himself in drug use and sexual experimentation. The 15-year-old Andy even "experimented" so far as to rape a 12-year-old girl, who was drunk at the time.

Andy's life was spent indulging in drugs, booze and fornication, and all with no parental oversight. But it was the gun's fault for two teenagers dying and 13 others getting hurt. Many of us would expect this to happen in a morally depraved place like California, but unfortunately it happens in the South as well. Why?

The reason is not guns. The reason is lack of parental involvement in raising up a child. How do we stop this from happening? Simple: parents need to take back their role as leaders of their homes. Today, too many adults want to be seen as "cool" by their kids, and want to "give their child some freedom." Children don't need freedom, they need discipline. They don't need mom and dad to be their buddies, they have buddies from school; children need mom and dad to be responsible adults and set a good example, laying out boundaries for them.

Many Southerners today want to revitalize our Southern culture. One way to do this is to reestablish the boundaries between parent and child. This isn't to say sit there reading your paper and ignore your child, acting like a parent who can't communicate with your kid. That's what is happening today; parents aren't talking to their kids. You can treat your kids with respect, but maintain your position of authority in the home at the same time.

Part of re-igniting our Southern culture is in rejecting the mainstream morally bankrupt culture that is promoted out of Hollywood, New York and Washington D.C. Re-embrace traditional values. There is a book coming out soon that is a good source for people in educating their children on how to act. The Life of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen by J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton has been out of print since 1917, but Virginia Gentleman Books is bringing it back. This tomb can function as a handbook for boys on their way to becoming a man (and it wouldn't hurt girls to read it so they can have a better idea of what to expect of a man).

Parents need to take the time to talk to their children on how to act, how to respect others, how to think of the consequences of their actions. Kids don't just absorb how to be a good citizen naturally. If anything, they absorb how to be dysfunctional by watching TV and movies. It is up to parents to take the lead in setting a good example for their kids. It is up to parents to take the time to instruct their children on what is good, bad, right, wrong, moral, immoral, positive and negative.

Recapturing and rebuilding the Southern culture starts at home. An old military saying, before divorce was so common, was, "if a man cannot even lead his house hold, how can he lead men into battle." It used to be that divorce for an officer could be career ending. He was seen as incapable of functioning in the most basic of leadership roles. Parents need to re-establish themselves as the leaders of their homes and get their troops (a.k.a. children) back in formation. This is the first step in salvaging our culture.

Note: To order The Life of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen, go to or call 800-526-0690.

Jeff Adams
12 March 2001