I have been on a soap box lately when it comes to children, especially about how so many black adults seem to be in denial when it comes to what black children should and should not be exposed to. With both of my children now in their 20s and no grandchildren in sight (thank God!), I am seeing more clearly the kind of lifestyles that far too many children exist in today. Unfortunately from my vantage point, those children are subsisting in dysfunctional homes with corresponding dysfunctional adults.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have written about adults who seem to practice the “they’ll be OK” method of childrearing. That method requires little or no involvement with their children. Rather those adults expect that children will learn via osmosis as opposed to the tutelage of a parent’s guidance. It is very evident to me that far too many adults (and I am being kind in calling those grown folks “adults”) don’t have a clue as to what it takes to raise a child. They have no idea that there should be a clear-cut line on which adult behavior/discussions/actions should not take place in front of kids. Our children deserve a childhood, not a mini-adulthood. Yes, there are things that children will have to know when they grow up, but they aren’t grown yet.

Why are so many adults in the black community willing to rob children of the innocence of childhood? Many of us grew up in an era where adults would spell and whisper code words so children would not be privy to adult conversations. But today, when audio pornography is disguised as current popular music, we have far too many adults buying into the hype and exposing children to it without realizing the real consequences of their actions.

After writing several columns lamenting the language in a lot of the music being played by deejays in front of children, I am not shocked that my mantra hasn’t been taken up by others. Part of the reason we have ended up where we are is that far too many have accepted what is going on as par for the course. We don’t have any “moral authorities” anymore. We lack individuals who stand on principle and morality. There is no outrage over lyrics that would make a sailor blush. In fact, it is standard fare to play in front of kids. That is both sad and sick and a reflection on those who speak God’s name on one hand while serving the devil with the other.

I am not going to stop my tirade against those who should know better, yet choose not to do better.

I recently learned of an opportunity for us as a community to send a message to the children of Austin that we do support and care about them. Austin Town Hall is entered in a contest to win a $50,000 renovation from Maxwell House. All they have to do is get votes over the Internet. That’s right. No stamps, no checking the box. Just a simple click of the mouse. Of the 10 organizations vying for the money, Austin Town Hall is 10th!

That is unacceptable. As the largest community in the city of Chicago, we can do better than that. We can show our children we are willing to do what all the other communities do for theirs.

Take the time to do “good in the ‘hood.” To vote for Austin Town Hall to get the money, just visit Facebook and “LIKE” the Maxwell House site. Then be a real Chicagoan and vote early and often. Let’s see if we can get a million votes for our park and our children. Let us make the kind of news that is positive and puts us on the news showing that we care.