The children of our Nation are our Nation’s future.  Taking care of them is not only the right thing to do, but it is critical for the continued success of America.  I am not so sure that we are doing a good job taking care of our kids, as evidenced by many problematic trends (juvenile crime rates, school shootings, poor performance in school, etc) Here are some suggestions:

Parents must communicate with their children.  When I was the Commanding General of III Corps and Fort Hood I mandated that all my Soldiers be home by 6:00pm.  The reason for that was so they could have a Family dinner.  I believed that the dinner table is where the Family unit forms and functions.  When I was growing up, it was the place where the kids reported on what they did at school that day, and the parents discussed how their day went at work.   Collectively the Family developed plans for the future.

I don’t see that happening these days.  Everyone appears to be too busy to stop and have a meal together.  When you go out to a restaurant, you may see a Family sitting together, but they are probably looking at their respective “device” (iPhone, iPad, etc).  They are not communicating.

Parents must be involved in the lives of their children at school as well.  They must know the teacher and work together to ensure their child is getting a great education.  Parents should volunteer in the classroom whenever their schedule permits.  That is the only way they will truly know what is going on there.  Parents should attend parent teacher conferences.

When I was a battalion commander in the 1st Cavalry Division the Division Commander developed an “Adopt a School” program.  My unit was responsible to work with one of the middle schools on post.  We adopted a “Parental Involvement Program” where we demanded that the Soldiers be involved in the education of their children.  We actually took attendance at PTA meetings and conferences.  We saw a marked improvement in the test scores of the children.  No surprise there.

I also worry that we have allowed our children to become desensitized to violence by allowing them to play these extremely violent video games.  In some cases kids are spending hours per day actively involved in death and destruction with video games, then we are surprised when they are violent at home or school.  We can’t turn over the lives of our children, their character and emotions, to video game developers.  Turn off the video games and have the kids go play outside.  Get them involved in sports or community activities.