What an experience today! Nate, our 17-year-old son (soon to be 18), had a minor traffic ticket for failure to yield to a yellow light and had to appear in juvenile court. We went to court and paid the ticket several months ago. I posted a blog about the first experience. Read it HERE. Today we had to reappear to prove he had been to traffic school. After 3 hours of waiting (attorneys get to go first), they saw our case, which took no more than 2 minutes, and we were on our way.
As frustrated as I was at waiting (I kept thinking my time is just as valuable as those attorneys), I am still processing whether God had us there for so long for more reasons than just to teach me patience. While we waited we were able to see a side of culture and life than Nate and I seldom see. Honestly we see more of the good stories of parenting than we do the bad ones. My heart has not been able to release the pain and sorrow we saw today in juvenile court.
Here’s a small recap:
- Three children taken from their parents and sent to a detention center…one in handcuffs.
- One 16-year-old boy had been living at home by himself while his dad traveled. He was sent to live in state custody…starting tonight!
- One mother pleading with the court for relief from the enormous court costs her child is costing her.
- One family ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution for an accident the teenage son had just after their insurance was canceled.
- Several sets of grandparents raising grandchildren out of control.
- Teenagers making bombs.
- Teenagers doing drugs.
- Teenagers involved in burglary.
- One child in court for having brass knuckles at school.
- One parent who said she could no longer accept responsibility for her child.
- Teenagers who back-talked the judge and their parents in court. (Imagine what these kids do in the classroom.)
- Parents who back-talked the judge. (Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)
I must say the judge did an admirable job of counseling these teens and was firm, but fair. I wouldn’t want her job everyday. I have joked with my son about him being my juvenile delinquent, but I was reminded today how blessed I am with two very good boys and how vitally important the role of the parent is today. I was also reminded how desperately we need to train parents to raise children who respect authority and know the difference in right and wrong. I was finally reminded that there are good parents in the system who have out of control children through no fault of their own. All of it though broke my heart.
Has there ever been a time that society needs the church more than today? Does this kind of thing upset you as much as it has me? What can be done about it?
Please pray for our youth today.