Profiling is a big no-no in our culture.
But if you are the kind of parent that cares about your kids, profiling will be a vital part of what you do.
Your daughter wants to go on a date with some guy from school whom you have never met. Other than the fact that he’s your daughter’s age, 15, you know nothing about this kid. You decide to do a little research before giving your daughter an answer. You look for the boy in the yearbook. You ask people about him. Most importantly, you make plans to meet him.
Your first conversation with him is during halftime of a high school basketball game. Your daughter is really excited when she brings him up to you. He seems less than thrilled. By the time the meeting is over, you too are less than thrilled.
He never makes eye contact with you. He’s wearing a shirt with a half-naked woman on it. The waistline of his jeans is somewhere just above his knees.
When you finally get him to say something involving words with more than one syllable, things only get worse. He calls you by your first name, stops mid sentence every minute or so to hack up one of his lungs which he apparently damaged while chain smoking in the boys room. But that’s no match for the interruption that comes when he introduces you to his three-year-old and one-year-old. That’s babies, not horses.
The naive parent says, “Well, maybe next weekend, when he doesn’t have the kids, you two could go out on a date with each other. Just take care of her and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
This is the same parent who, a year or so later, will wonder where things went wrong with his sweet little girl. While that’s up for debate, it’s clear where things went wrong for the parent. At halftime of that basketball game when he failed to profile the 15-year-old predator who wanted to take his daughter out on a date.
Being a parent doesn’t automatically make you smart. Let’s face it, some parents are idiots. If you don’t believe me, watch your late local news. Better than that, spend some time at Wal-Mart.
I’m aware of parents who give their kids birth control and host all-night drinking binges at their homes. Their logic is simple. Real simple. Too simple.
“Kids are going to have sex anyway, why not make sure they do it safely?”
“Kids are going to drink anyway, at least when they do it in the field behind my house, I know where they are and I have their car keys.”
That’s sort of like giving your 18-month-old the keys to the Suburban.
“Well, he’s going to drive anyway. At least now I know what he’s in.”
We don’t have to give in to this defeatist mentality. There’s no law that says our kids are definitely going to sleep around and get drunk while in high school therefore learn to deal with it. Instead, we should do what we can to stop it.
And that means profiling. Not profiling based on race or economic background. I’m talking about profiling based on sorriness.
And that profiling tells you that a guy who doesn’t respect women by the clothing that he wears, the things that he watches and the words that he uses will certainly show no respect towards women when is alone with a real one. Why should your daughter be the experiment?
Profiling tells you that the nice church girl your son is interested in who constantly ridicules her father and whose favorite sporting activity is eye rolling probably won’t make the best companion for your son.
Too many parents have passed their job off on others. As a result, we have school systems that spend time teaching kids how to use condoms, government agencies that will quietly dispose of the unwanted fruits of teenage labor when said condoms didn’t work out so well and a president who assures us that it will all be paid for.
And it’s all worked out wonderfully.
The answer isn’t more government programs with more empty promises. It’s not even more church programs with more activities to keep kids out of trouble.
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as a mother and father who are willing to say no.
The kids who hear that may not like it at first. And they won’t be perfect. They will go on to make mistakes. Some will make grand mistakes. But when they do, at least they will know that they have a mother and father who care enough to speak the truth rather than simply giving up and hoping for the best.
Parents, learn how to profile.
Get in the habit of saying no.
Model love and grace when things get sideways.
That just might end up being the only sexual protection your kids will ever need.