The Woodward News


August 25, 2013

We need to have real conversations

Woodward, Okla. — When I heard about the killing of Christopher Lane in Duncan by those three teenagers, my heart just sank on so many levels.

It was, for me, as if we hit a new low or at the very least, another low in this country.

I am left without knowing what to do next. I can't help but think this has something to do with me.

I am, after all, a part of the fabric that makes up the way our society is.

If I fail to see my importance in that role, then I become a part of a growing problem, right?

Am I not as guilty of getting distracted by things I think are so important like buying a new car, getting the newest phone or getting new flooring for my kitchen?

Am I not guilty of bringing home too much fast food and eating over the squawk of the TV set, instead of pausing over a meal at home in conversation with those I love.

I enjoyed the series "Breaking Bad" and what does that mean about me?

Really, I'm not kidding here. I have to ask.

There is a lot of argument about that one single television series that suggests it is really the story of a guy who loses everything and therefore it is against that lifestyle.

But the truth is, I find myself wanting Walter (the main character who has taken up producing Meth) to succeed. It is how it is written. You as the viewer become invested in his success as a meth producer and dealer.

If that is true of me, and I am a deeply thinking person who is old enough to separate the reality of life from the television show, what does it mean about our youth who are watching it?

I think its that simple.

I think those "nuts" who I thought were fanatics at the time, are right.

It is what we watch.

It is the loss of family who are supposed to be the warm blanket that envelopes us. It is the constant barrage of more coarse and depraved material that is just flooding our senses and our children's senses-to the point where we are all numb.

That's what happened you know. Those three teens were numb to the effects they had on so many others. They had been allowed to become numb so long, they were even numb when they killed.

I think its as simple as actually stopping what we are so busy doing and having a real conversation with our families.

I was listening to a conversation between two adults the other day who were justifying their need to go out for the evening, leave their children and party because "I have a life too," one of them said.

Yes, we do have a life. We are parents. That is our life. How dare we pray fervently the whole time we are pregnant for a healthy child, just to neglect and ignore them when our favorite show is on.  

When I think of my own childhood, the most damage came when my parents, either one, forgot for a few hours that their own personal life choices had a profound impact on me.

When I think of the things I feel compelled to apologize to my daughter for, they consist of all the little things I, as her parent, was late for or missed because "I had a life too."

I think it is a simple as just deciding that tonight, you will turn off the television and look at your kids and talk to them. Then do it tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

I believe its as simple as nixing the new kitchen cabinets and flooring and instead arranging a simple trip with the whole family where cell phones are prohibited.  

Today, as I worked on my story about those three teens, whose lives are over, I called Father Joe Arledge of St. Peter's Catholic Church.

I sent him some questions about how he felt about this crime and how it affected him. And at the end of my questions, I asked him what his prayer was for our community.

Funny thing was, I thought he was say something off the cuff, like "It is my prayer that our children stay safe."

Nope, he did not do that. Instead, he sent me a PRAYER. Like-a real prayer.

And I was changed by it.

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will abundantly bless our parents with the knowledge of what their children are doing, and help them to form their children properly.    

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will abundantly bless our teens with the ardent desire to be pro-family and pro-community.    

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will abundantly bless our teens' environs, so that they will not place themselves in the near occasion of sin.

Heavenly Father, we pray that your Son's victory over violence and death will radically transform all our minds according to the renewal of the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus' name....Amen!!!

Rachael Van Horn is a staff writer for the Woodward News

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