Here are some of your responses to Mike's last column:
Shannon C. writes: Mike, what about the boys? If the girls are too young to “be unchaperoned,” aren’t the boys as well? At what age is it appropriate for a girl to go on an unchaperoned trip? And who is giving these girls the date rape drug? Not other girls. I have always wondered why parents, fathers in particular, find it more important to keep their daughters at home than it is to teach their sons responsibility and respect. Of course I’m not saying that daughters are exempt from these teachings, but if parents turned a little more attention on to their sons instead of all their focus on sheltering their daughters, they wouldn’t have to worry so much about their daughters going on a trip with friends because guys wouldn’t be so much of an issue.
Growing up, my brother was allowed to have a three-day curfew which allowed him to get into a lot of trouble while I, who never caused any worry for my parents, was forced to be home by 11. How does that teach anyone anything? For me all it did was make me resent my dad for allowing my brother to have such freedom while keeping me at home. Rather than not allowing your daughter to participate in activities with friends, teach her how to defend herself, be strong and maintain good morals and values. If she knows who she is and is comfortable with herself, some guy offering her a free T-shirt to show her breasts will just make her laugh at how ridiculous his offer is. By sheltering her you just make her more curious so that when she finally does have freedom she doesn’t know what to do with it!
Anonymous writes: Mike, I love your column! I am a 35-year-old mother of four children, and it is because I worry so much about their future that I write this. Where did these "Girls Gone Wild" young women come from? The morals and standards for this society have dropped so significantly since I was in high school. I just hope that there are other parents out there like me who really want to see their kids grow up to be honorable citizens. Wake up America! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
Leslie writes: Hi Mike. This is in response to the cop who likes to make people work to get their ticket from the middle of the windshield -- I don't see how this is wasting our tax dollars. Personally, I applaud the cop for placing the ticket in a harder-to-reach place. If drivers obeyed the rules, they wouldn't have to worry about getting a ticket in the first place! It is the driver's fault, so he doesn't have the right to be bitter about the placement of the ticket. The cop did his job. Is there a rule that he can't be a little creative with the placement of the ticket? As long as the driver gets it, that's all that matters.
Another traffic Grrr of mine -- this will often occur when I'm at the front of an intersection, waiting for the green light: As soon as the light turns green, the car opposite me will make a left turn right in front of me, even though I have the right of way (they did not have a left turn arrow). It's not that I'm waiting too long to start moving again, or that the intersection is especially wide either. Of course, I honk at those ImporTants.
Tancredi writes: Mike -- loved the Grrr on spring break, as a “Dad” I couldn’t agree with you more. None of my kids has gone to spring break, 'cause I won’t pay for it! When I hear other 18 and 19-year-old Obliviots say that “college is sooooo stressful, we just need to blow off some steam” I think back to when I was in college and how I blew off steam in the summer, on spring break, at night, and weekends … I worked at least 30 hours a week at the local Shop Rite! All while going to school full time!
As to the people who wear too much perfume, I’d rather have that than the stink I smell on some folks walking in the mall and stores. Come on folks, this isn’t France, take a shower and try actually using the soap!
Lastly, I hope you got the ticket Czar's name and/or badge number and sent it in to the city? I’d let them know how unhappy I was with my tax dollars going to this guy! Keep up the good work!
W. Wilmoth writes: I totally agree with you on spring break. I have never gone to a spring break hotspot, because during my freshman year, a friend was killed in a drunken fall from a 13th floor balcony. I now have a daughter who will start college in 2008, and the policy is no spring break. She can spend that time visiting family. I never regretted not going to a five-day beach-sex-beer party, and neither will she.
Peter writes: I am the father of two boys. I don't want my kids to think I'm hip and cool. That's horse manure from the Dr. Spock era. My job is to be my children's father, NOT THEIR FRIEND! If it turns out that I am their friend after they're mature adults it's a plus. A big part of my job as their father is saying NO, repeatedly and continuously, with firmness and compassion until they're mature adults. It's not easy, and it can be tiring and frustrating at times, but that has been a parent's job since the caveman era. We're so smart today that we've forgotten that in recent times. Liked the rest of your article a lot and agree. Thanks.
Laurie L. writes: Loved it. You are right on about girls gone wild. What seems like a good idea when you are drunk is not such a great idea when you are sober.
My son (19 year old) is in Tampa for the past two weeks working at the Tampa Zoo with another older adult. When I told my friends and family that he was going to Tampa for three weeks, most of them said "oh lucky boy, spring break time, hope he has fun." I said, no he is not going out partying, he is actually working. Then they mentioned he would have a great time at night. Again I said no he will not be "partying" but working. I'm not naive to think he does not drink with his friends back at home. I know he does, because he tells us when he is crashing at a friend's house instead of driving home. That is fine, at least he is not out drinking and driving.
Katie S. writes: Glad to see some recognition of the danger young men and women are placed in at unsupervised spring break "festivities" -- particularly since there is almost always alcohol involved. I have worked hard to put myself through college and grad school, I put in long hours during the work week and often during the weekend to make sure my daughter has the things I didn't have growing up -- but my number one responsibility is to protect her. It's time that parents remember that while they should be their child's No. 1 supporter at all times, they can't always be their best friend -- children rely on their parents to set boundaries, teach them how to be safe, and every once in a while to say "no." They might not like it at the time, and it's too bad that they can't look back at their life and see the negative consequences they missed out on because they were/weren't allowed to do something -- there won't always be a thank you (even down the road), but I believe that it will be a lot easier to live with myself if I never have to look in the mirror at the person who knowingly let their child wander into danger.
Kim R. writes: Thank you, thank you for commenting on the spring break “phenomena” that is so prevalent in our society today! I am by no means a PRUDE. However, I AM a LADY (for whatever that’s worth these days). I completely understand the “need” to party, i.e. drink, flirt, be lazy and irresponsible, during a break -- especially when you are young!! Irresponsibility has a very definite limit, though. And I believe the denigration of this generation has MUCH to do with the PARENTS. I don’t know -- are they too busy? Too lazy? Or simply don’t give a rip??
My prognosis is based, of course, upon my own experiences: I was allowed to do many things and go many places -- including the beach (Daytona, South Padre included!) when I was a senior in high school, and all through college. What kept me “acting right?" I truly believe it was an inbred code of conduct/values that was instilled all throughout my childhood. I knew what was right and what was questionable, and -- most importantly! -- what was just downright STUPID!!Watching some of these young girls today, I wonder “what the HELL are they thinking? ARE they thinking? And aren’t their parents just proud as punch?” This, of course, does NOT excuse the MALES involved (or the parents of said males!) I have two young boys. I sincerely hope that the way in which my husband and I have raised them will prevent any really asinine behavior as they get older. I trust that they have values so deeply inset in them that they will instinctively KNOW when to simply walk away. In a world of “passing the buck”, I hope there are many parents (and children) left out there who will stand in the gap, be accountable and make a difference. God help the others ... SHEESH!