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Remember when the street lights came on that signaled you either had to be in two places — your porch or inside the home.

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Remember the two things you had to do after school when you got home, before you went outside to play — change your clothes and do your homework.

Bedtime for me was 8 p.m., including weekends. Whether I was sleepy or not, I had to be under those covers at a certain time.

On the weekends, while there was no school, chores were still on the schedule and I had to take a nap afterwards before playtime began.

Did your mother or grandmother give you this advice: Never talk when you should be listening, and, let your books be your boyfriend/girlfriend?

If you did something you shouldn’t have been doing, or said something that was out of pocket, and the neighbor heard, you got in trouble.

If you talked back or tell your parents you weren’t going to do what you were told, did you find yourself stunned by a hit that you didn’t see coming? (I didn’t…I was no fool!)

Do you remember when you were scared for the teacher to call your home if you acted a fool or talked back?

What happened to those days?!

It amazes me to see children outside immediately after school playing or hanging out for hours, sometimes well into darkness. Isn’t there homework to do? Studying? Chores?

Dinnertime with the family?

What about the “smart mouth.”

The foul language that emits from the mouths of the babes is atrocious. And, when you go to correct them, the disrespect is worse.

Nowadays, teachers are scared to say anything to a student for fear of the student and the parents.

There is no respect for authority.

Could all of this be a learned behavior?

You bet.

Every thing I had to endure as a child, my children have to endure. When the time comes, I’m sure they’ll make sure their children have the same habits.

When you see negative behavior and somehow justify and mimic it, you pass along that behavior to your children. They, in turn, will repeat the cycle.

Parents, we’ve got to do better.

Let your neighbors intervene when they see something wrong with your children. Correct your children when they do something wrong. Don’t condone behavior that you know is wrong.

You run your children, they don’t run you!

Let’s get back to the old days.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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