Our Angry Teenagers Are Going Wild


I recently read a newspaper article about a 17 year-old girl in The Bronx who beat a 48 year-old female bus driver.  Why?  Because the driver, following Metropolitan Transportation Authority policy, wouldn’t allow young Steangeli Medina on the bus with her dog unless it was in a crate.  How did Steangeli react to this?  According to a witness:

She punched the driver in the face.  She then drag(ged) her off the bus by her hair … where she punched and kicked her repeatedly about the body.

The result?  The driver was taken to the hospital with a black eye and facial cuts.

See full article here.

There is so much wrong with this story I hardly know where to begin.  I’ll start with her name.

I’d never heard the name “Steangeli” before, so I looked it up.  The first thing the search engine asked me was: “Did you mean to look for “strangely?”  I shook my head.  The next thing I noticed: there were no definitions of the name available.  All that was available were links to the same story about her viciously beating an elder.  So…what’s the definition of “Steangeli” now?  The reason why I searched for a definition is because I strongly believe that naming a child imbues that child with a spirit befitting the name.  If you don’t know what your name means, and if it really doesn’t mean anything, then who are you? Without meaning to rest upon, Steangeli’s actions have imbued her name with its own spirit: “I beat my elders.”  No wonder she’s angry.  My name?  It means “crowned one.”  I try to live up to that every day.

As a word of advice: if you have a name that has no history or meaning, then it’s up to you give spirit to it through your actions.  You have the power to define your name.  So don’t be angry.  Relish the opportunity and the blessing.  If your name does have meaning: LIVE UP TO IT!

Another thing that bothered me was this simple thought: had the bus driver been a man, would she have been so bold as to put her hands on him?  I think not.  All punks know who to pick on, and who not to.

The second huge issue here is a blatant lack of respect for one’s elders.  I don’t know anything about Steangeli or how she was raised, so I can’t comment on it, except to say that her actions are a direct reflection of her family’s ability to raise her.  My first impression: they couldn’t.  Perhaps I’m being harsh, but I don’t think so.  To wit:

When I was a U.S. History teacher at a high school in Baltimore, I drove to work one morning listening to the radio.  The story I heard as I pulled up to the school was about a teenaged boy who beat his teacher the day before in another state.  Apparently the teacher insisted that the boy stop listening to his MP3 player in the middle of class, and when the student refused, the teacher enforced school rules and confiscated the player.  The student promptly beat the much older teacher and hospitalized him.

I decided to put off my lesson plan for a few moments during each class and do some REAL educating.  I told my students about the story and asked them: who do you think was right?  Almost unanimously, my students replied: “It was the teacher’s fault.  He shouldn’t have taken the player!”  So, after hearing this, I closed the door to my classroom, and I had a heart-to-heart with every student I taught that day.  I told them simply this: “I love each and every one of you.  You are mine. So if anyone wants to mess with you, they have to get through me first.  But let me tell you one thing.  If any of you EVER put your hands on me, I’ll beat you until I can’t find you anymore.  Period.  And guess what?  Outside of the usual crazy teenager stuff, I never had a problem with any of my students.  It’s called PARENTING.  Tough Love 101.  Learn it.  Teach it.  Live it.

Our angry teenagers are going wild.  But guess what?  They’re TEENAGERS!  Part of the definition of “teenager” is “wild.”  But when they cross the line and not only disrespect their elders but hospitalize them, we as the village parents must step forward and take the responsibility charged to us by our age and place in the community.  Even if it means letting them know that an @$$-whipping can surely come back their way.

Sound Off!

Broadcast Your Inner Champion.

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