More opportunity to make poor decisions

Posted: October 3, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

I remember before I moved out to the burbs the conversation I had with my teenage and middle school aged sons.  I warned them about the difference is peer pressure and the types of challenges that they would face in the suburbs versus the inner city of Chicago.  The challenges within Chicago were kind of obvious.  They needed to stay clear of drug dealers, gangs, not wear the wrong colors and make sure they kept their hat on straight.  It may seem weird to some of you but that’s part of being a male minority in Chicago.  But the rules were pretty basic and engraved into them as part of my training and the training from the neighborhood.

I warned them that the challenges that they would face in the suburbs would be much different.  The kids in the suburbs had different problems.  In most cases their new peers would have excess material wealth.  Some of their friends would have a couple to a few hundred dollars a month in deposable income just from lunch money etc… This opens a whole new world of temptation for trouble that’s not apparent.  The obvious one would be drug use.  I warned them that drug use among suburban teens would be much different than drug use among inner city teens.  The options are just greater and even more dangerous.  It was these types of challenges that I feared the most.  The city was kind of easy for me to understand and navigate as a parent.  I grew up with similar challenges and could help my kinds avoid them where the suburbs were a completely different animal.

Both kids are now off to school and doing well but as I reflect on our transition, I’m grateful that both of them had strong morals and were good kids.  I don’t know how I would have handled the same transition.

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