Monday, August 20, 2007

Selling out the kids

I ran across a woman the other day, who upon hearing that I was running for mayor had a great deal of passion concerning a topic near and dear to her. Basically, she is concerned about the future that not only her children, but all children in the city. A valid concern I must admit. Why does it always seem that government, when forced to cut something, always dives right in to that which is most needed. I spoke previously about the Fire Departments, but now let us take a look at the programs being denied the youth of this city. I still remember a time when swimming in a public pool was free. Back when kids didn't need to break open piggy banks in order to help mom pay for a refreshing dip when the 90 degree Pittsburgh heat is only eclipsed by the 95% humidity. This issue, though, is bigger than mere swimming pools as this concerned voter and I discussed. We lose after school programs, we close parks, we continue to whittle away at what young, boisterous, energetic children can do. Not only are we stunting their growth but as we all know, a child left to his own devices will find his own excitement. Too often, unfortunately, that excitement comes with negative price to pay. Now, you may be well off financially and think that you will never have to pay this price...until that is, a child the city wrote off on his own devices is sticking a .22 in your back.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think government is the end all be all answer to any problem. But there are situations in which they can help. Finding ways to keep kids in a positive environment, constructively using their time while their parent or parents are working hard to earn a living is one of them. I am not a father. I know I wouldn't have all the answers on how to raise a child but I have my parents, whom I think did a fantastic job raising me, to ask for advice. Many people don't have such a support network, or have come from homes where their upbringing was less than optimal. The woman I was talking with suggested that classes should be offered to new parents on how to parent. I like this idea, in the army we call it "teach the teacher". Seeing how government runs I doubt that they should be teaching anyone anything, but I intend to work with the plethora of non-profits we have in the city to enact a "Parenting Teaching Class" free of charge to the participants and with no added burden to the taxpayers. I feel the benefits would be felt for years to come.