Visiting a friend’s home one summer evening, I am indulging in friendly conversation with her family as I wait for my friend to come downstairs so we can head out. I later find myself taken aback the second I notice this twelve-year-old girl walk into the kitchen wearing low cut booty shorts and a white top, which she chose to tie up, revealing her belly. Now, allow me if you will, to give you a brief visual. This child comes from a family of curvy women. She is quite meaty with hips, butt, and boobs only at twelve. She can actually pass for fifteen. Right now, I am looking at cheeks hanging out of shorts that truly look more like underwear. In this moment, my face is saying everything that my mouth would not dare to utter. Everyone in the room continues in their conversation, appearing complacent, as I search for a reaction. Clearly, I am the only one bothered by a child who is dressed as though she is auditioning for the latest rap video. This girl has no idea that dressing in such a way will attach harsh labels to her name. My nerves force me to approach the girl and pull her shirt down. Fortunately, this twelve year old values my opinion. I tell her, “Less is more.” As I return to my seat, the sound of laughter overwhelms my ears. Everyone is laughing at me. I am at a lost. Giving a child positive advice on how to dress, which will also help her value herself has suddenly become humorous? Oh, yeah! How could I forget the joke of the year? I am clearly late to this party.
I will quickly fill you in about this family. Mostly adult women, all of whom are single with the exception of one, surround this kid. These women have an interesting view on men and relationships. Let me just say I would not be caught going to them for dating advice. Daily, these women speak openly about sex and their body, in the presence of this child. It is customary to find the members of this household to walk around in their “birthday suits” after showering. In the mist of all of this, I doubt anyone is fully explaining their conversations or actions to that twelve year old. After having a glimpse into this child’s atmosphere, you can see why she would throw on booty shorts and roll up her top with ease. Someone mocks me, “Less is more,” with a sly chuckle. I inform her she is correct. Standing firm in what I believe will keep her quiet, for the moment. I want to take this kid aside and talk with her. I would like to pick her brain and see what is going on to make her appear as if she is starving for attention. Knowing there is a good chance she will listen to me, I would like to speak with her about boys, self-respect, love, and to value her-self. Sadly, I do not get the chance nor will I ever again. My friend comes downstairs and we leave out. This would be my last visit to that house.
Many things can be taken from my experience. In short, children and parents need to talk. Kids, honestly, do not know what is going on. They can put up a front and mimic what they see on television, but they are clueless. I always say to my sister, “Babies are new to this world. They just got here. As they grow, they are looking to us to explain and demonstrate.” Children need us to lead by example. Do you not always find a child imitating an adult? They crave guidance. They learn through examples and we must teach them. This is our responsibility, not just for parents, but any adult. It takes a village to raise a child. Do not worry about touchy parents not liking the idea of another person telling their kid what to do. We all live in this world together. If you see little Sarah doing something she has no business doing, then step in. As a people, will we sit by and allow these children to figure it out alone? As a community, will we throw our children to the wolves? Fathers should instill in their daughters self respect. Mothers should teach their daughters the value of self worth. Together, parents must speak with their child (preferably at age twelve) about sex. You may disagree. You may love these ideas. As long as this article has you thinking, then that is a step closer. I hope that my experience has shed some light on a very serious situation, which will bring us closer to a world that cares.
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