Finding the cure for kids

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

song in the Broadway play “Bye, Bye Birdie” starts off with the words, “Kids, I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today.”

It’s a sentiment that many people are wondering as they discuss how children have changed from when they were young to now, and I have to admit I have to wonder myself. This line of thought comes from the news we reported in the paper about a 16-year-old getting shot in the arm in the area of Monroe Street. The biggest question I’ve heard since that story broke is “what was someone that age doing out at that time?”

I’m not going to cast blame on anyone, because I don’t know the circumstances. But over the past few months, I have to wonder, like the song, “What’s wrong with these kids today?” This is not a blanket statement, I know from my own experience covering school events that there are a lot of good young people out there who are doing very positive things in their community and at their school. Still, there are enough so-called “bad apples” out there to make me wonder about the present generation.

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Allow me the opportunity to go back in time.

I, like a lot of other adults my age, and a few younger, were raised in a different time, when respect was taught and certain standards were set. There was a code of behavior that was followed. There was some latitude for mischief, but if we messed up, we paid the price. There were curfews set and followed, and there were consequences for not following the regulations.

At one time, neighborhoods were like large families; the neighbors knew who you were and who your parents were, and if you did something stupid and got in trouble, news of it beat you home.

It didn’t take my parents long to find out where I, or my sister or brother were. And during those afternoons when the local basketball (or football or softball) game was going on, it was inevitable that the mother of the home team would tell someone, “Your mother called; it’s time for you to go home.” And no one laughed at the recipient, because you knew might be the next one called.

I also remember how parents were involved in school, and kept up with their child’s progress. My parents did it, and my wife and I did the same with our daughter.

We can go on talking about the past and how different things were, but the truth is the traditional institutions that helped keep young people in line and encouraged good behavior, like the church, families, neighborhoods and in some ways, schools, have changed over the years and their impact has diminished. For whatever reasons, they no longer have the influence they once had.

That’s a shame. We need to find a way to bring those institutions back. We need to find the answer to what’s wrong with kids today and cure it.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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