A New Year – A New Path

As I sit at my keyboard reflecting back over the last 30 days, I feel as if the incident that changed my son’s life was a lifetime ago.  It is hard for me to believe that such a brief amount of time has passed.  There are still so many unanswered questions that look as thought they shall remain unanswered forever.  We have no idea how a traumatic brain injury will affect our future but we will face each day with strength and love for each other.

I have set out on a mission to make a difference in the life of a child.  But not just my child…your child as well.   Laws need to be written and put in place that will address the issues of bullying and cyber-bullying.  There have to be consequences for those who partake in such hateful acts and I am happy that my local constituents as well as my attorney agree and have joined me to begin this arduous process.

I promise I will not stop until “Jordan’s Law” (for lack of a better definition) is passed.  But what if that take years?  What can we do NOW to help prevent bullying?  To me that answer is very simple; we have to get involved.  As I look around, I see everyone (myself included) on their smartphones – talking, texting, recording, playing games, using social media, etc.  Guess what parents, our kids are following our example to the tee.

I have said this before and it bares repeating; you cannot iParent your kids – there are no apps for that.   You have to set the example at an early age and stick to it.  Put down the phones and talk to your kids.  Take their phones and see what they are doing.  See what apps are on their phones.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in giving my children privacy and building a relationship  based on trust.  But they are kids and kids need boundaries and these boundaries need to expand into the world of social media and the internet.

Lately, I have seen too many examples of cyber-bullying and it makes me sick to my stomach.  Kids tormenting kids for nothing more than the thrill of recording it and sharing it with friends.  Social media has turned everyone with a phone into a “reality” star.   There is something seriously wrong with this and we must help our children to understand that the world of social media is the land of make believe.

We all do it, myself included.  We post pictures of places we have visited, food we have eaten, friends we are with, etc.  But why?  Why are we doing this?  And what is it telling our children?  Are we doing it to show everyone that our life is perfect?  Look at the amazing food I just ate.  Check out my newest outfit.  Look at my newest car.  I see my kids doing it and it makes me wonder if they are posting pictures (and videos) because they are truly happy and want to share something or if they feel the need to constantly compare what they have to everyone else.  Is it a form of validation?   I don’t know the answers, do you?

I am not judging anyone and as I have said, I have posted thousands of pictures myself. I just think that we need to take a step back and take a look around without using our phones.  I took my daughter to the theater today to see Fame.  It was an amazing show, great music, great dancing, great company.  The best part, we made a conscious decision to leave our phones at home.  I wasn’t afraid that I would miss a call or text because if I did, the message would be there when I got back.  I challenge everyone to take your kids out to dinner but before you leave, put all of your phones in a basket and leave them at your house.  See what happens at the restaurant…you’ll be happy you did.

Sincerely, Jordan’s Dad