Patricia A. O'Malley

Social Policy & Programs Consulting

Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice

Teach Your Children

August 3, 2010


Six teenagers from two families drowned yesterday when the sandbar on which they were standing collapsed, throwing them into the Red River near Shreveport, LA.

None of them could swim. Their families watched from the shore, helpless. None of them could swim either.
This type of tragedy happens far too often, and it is due to irresponsible parenting.

Reports like this assault our sensibilities regularly, especially during the summer.
Children drown, disappear, or die in other tragic but preventable ways.

Yes, I do know that the families are hurting today.

And I do feel for them.

But THAT is why we need to do what we can to stop these tragedies.

So parents, PLEASE, teach your children the life skills that every human should know:

driving – changing a tire – pumping gas
banking and basic financial literacy
registering to vote

handling consumer complaints
reading a map
basic civics
making change
laundry and mending
grocery shopping
finding their way out of the woods – literally and figuratively

Not everything on this list is a matter of life and death, but they all influence the quality of life. If you can’t do these things, your life won’t have much quality. Of course, parents can’t teach their children what they themselves don’t know, but it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure that their children learn how to take care of themselves.

I've met some young adults who are so horribly unprepared for life that I worry about them. They don't know the difference between a labor union and a credit union, a checking account and a savings account, or income and property taxes.

Parents, our job is not to protect our kids from life. Our job is to teach them how to handle it.

Ignorance is no excuse. Your computer is staring you in the face. An abundance of information is available at your fingertips. Press the Google button to save your kids. Find a website with the information you need. Find a community agency that offers classes. Stick up for yourself and your kids.

Every big city has plenty of water sites – rivers, fountains, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and swimming pools.

Swimming is a good place to start.

Schools and parents must work together to find a way to teach our children.

Ask your children’s principal, superintendent, and school board to enhance their life skills curriculum.

Teach your children how to save their own lives.


6 Teens Drown in Louisiana's Red River

YMCA swimming lessons

 Contact Pat for email notice of new Community Matters articles.

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
412-310-4886    ~
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley    ~    All rights reserved
Established 1993