Once again, Grade 12 graduation is nigh and here we are congratulating the success of our future leaders. They definitely deserve the accolades for all those nights studying and fretting over tests.
But what about the students who are struggling to get up in the morning and face the day? The ones who don’t have much hope for the future because they hate school and argue with their parents all the time?
They show up late for class, hang out with like-minded kids, come home smelling of marijuana and don’t want to get a job.
A common reaction is to leave your boot print on the seat of their factory ripped $100 jeans. Isn’t that what we used to do with a 95 per cent success rate?
But times have changed and we don’t treat kids like that anymore.
The point is I hope we are not throwing up our hands and giving up on these children who have gone astray. We focus so much on the successful kids that I fear some of the troubled ones are falling through the cracks.
But it’s so difficult trying to reach these wayward youth whose teachers and parents have no control over anymore. Part of the problem is these kids don’t want to be controlled. And sadly, the only solace they find is with their friends who aren’t the best role models but are really the only people who truly understand them.
I used to think that most parents were to blame for their teens’ behaviour, but then I saw how responsible these parents were, and no amount of good parenting could change their kids.
I must applaud our teachers who do everything they can to help redirect these troubled youth, some of whom don’t even attend school because they can’t function in the classroom. It’s really sad. These kids are crying out for help but will never admit they need it.
Sometimes, every parent’s worst nightmare comes true when a young girl or boy falls prey to hard drugs and calls the street their new home.
I was shocked to learn that the Okanagan doesn’t have a drug treatment centre for youth under 17. The closest one is Vancouver, which makes no sense.
One recent horror story saw a mother send her daughter to a facility in Vancouver, only to find out that the girl began living on the streets fighting a worse addiction.
In closing, hats off to this year’s graduates for making us proud; they have already made a positive difference in the world.
But let’s not forget our troubled youth who also have talents they don’t know about yet and can also make us proud.
We believe in them and want to help if they’ll let us.