When youthful creativity, rules of propriety collide

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2002

As is usually the case in controversial issues, the attention generated by the Empire's coverage of the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" issue has put the incident square in the face of thousands of us who otherwise might never have learned about it.

Upon first glance, and according to Superintendent Bader, the issue isn't at all about bongs or even Jesus, but about unruly teen-aged heathens who've broken the rules and need to be punished. Bader and his posse are doing exactly what we pay them for, but in their rush to define and protect the rules of propriety, they seem to have missed the obvious intelligence and creativity that originally fueled this stunt. Are they beating the proverbial watchdog for barking?

Behavioral scientists universally agree that the proper use of intelligence and creativity is to question the status quo. Bader and his dedicated crew work hard to help teach our kids these and other skills, which they need to be successful in the real world. When my kids need to test their intellectual prowess, the best they can do is embroil me and their mom in some controversial issue 'cause we're the smartest people they know. If they can confuse us, they feel much more important, powerful, intelligent and mature. We even agree, just as soon as we get past the anger we feel when we face the fact that our children have outsmarted us once again. Bad parenting to us is one who teaches wisdom with one hand and slaps the kid for using it with the other. We pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

It takes a village to raise a child, people, and sometimes that means gently nudging their instructors back on track. Lighten up and congratulate these young "criminals" for their smarts Mr. Bader, and you'll see them grow up with a healthy respect for the authority figures who care enough to admit they are capable of irritating us all.

Jon Stetson


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