SURRATT: The Mayor’s right; it’s time to recognize the ‘good’ kids in the community

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 10, 2023

Earlier this week, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would periodically take time at its meetings to recognize and honor young people in the community who have done well.

“It’s time for us to reward the good student; we’ve got to be more positive now when it comes to our children,” Flaggs said Monday. “I think when they (children) see others succeed they will learn to succeed and follow through. Let kids be mentors of themselves.

“We’re going to start recognizing some of our young people; we can’t keep punishing the good kids,” Flaggs said. “We’ve got to start punishing those that are bad and those that won’t obey the law, but at the same time, we’ve got to honor those that have paid the dues.”

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The mayor has a good point.

For some reason, people in the past have tended to highlight the activities of those youth who break the law or ignore the rules of society, casting a net that affects all young people to a point where they are stereotyped — “All kids are bad,” or “What’s wrong with young people today?”

We forget that in reality, those kids who break the law and end up in our juvenile court system are a minority; I’ll bet if you were able to check the youth court records you’d probably find the same names over and over again.

This isn’t to say that good kids won’t get into trouble; some will slip, do something categorized as “stupid” and get in trouble. But as one juvenile judge told me a long time ago, “The good kids who slip up learn their lesson; we don’t see them again.”

And it’s those good kids, the ones who obey the laws, go to school and participate in afterschool activities like athletics, dance, scouting and other programs that we need to recognize. When these youngsters bring credit to themselves, their school or the community we should make sure the community knows it and send the word that not all of our youth are bad.

That’s what makes the mayor’s idea to take time during meetings to honor our young people for special accomplishments a good one. The community needs to know that we have young people who are more focused on doing good and achieving a goal and the young people need to know they are supported by the community.

And for a young person, a pat on the back and a positive word can go a long way.

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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