I'm pretty sure in some way or another everyone has heard about the rape trial in Steubenville . Or, if you're from Montana, perhaps you followed the Jordan Johnson rape trial, like me.
I followed both trials closely (being a former journalist), reading as much as the social media would give me. I tried to take a neutral stance and make my own conviction of each case based on the defense/prosecution presentations.
There were times when I found myself frustrated, horrified, angry, doubtful and just plain sad.
I have not been raped or had any kind of sexual abuse, but so many aspects of each of these stories tugged on my heart strings.
I have been intoxicated to the point where I've blacked out and not remembered half of the night, only to be filled in on bits and pieces of the night later. I have been ruffied before by a guy in a bar and had to be carried home and watched over. When I look back on those moments of my life, I am very thankful I have such responsible friends and an obvious higher power watching out for me.
I have been in situations that could have gotten ugly very quickly. But they didn't.
I do know people and close friends who have been raped and are victims of sexual abuse. I have listened to their struggles and tried my best to be there when they need someone to talk to.
So why am I bringing this up?
After all of my reading on these cases was exhausted, I would find myself continually thinking about how the cases unfolded and what it meant for future young men and women. I would be at the gym on the elliptical thinking about it, I would be grocery shopping, or even up at 3:00 a.m. thinking about these cases.
I am a mother. I am a mother of boys. I am a mother of two boys.
And now I'm going to get on my soapbox:
As a mother, it is my job to teach my boys about respect.
Respect for themselves. Respect for their family. Respect for people; whether they be good/bad. And, above all things, respect for women.
It is my job to make them respectable human beings.
My job to encourage, not demand, abstinence.
My job to encourage, not demand, religion and focus on them having good minds and hearts.
My job to drill into their minds that alcohol and girls NEVER EVER mix.
My job to let them know that television, the media, and Internet portrayals of females, males or relationships whether they are debuted as healthy or unhealthy are NEVER what you try and base your life on.
My job to teach them that they are not above the law, and to be righteous and good in all aspects.
My job to drill into their minds to treat every single person they meet the same way they, themselves would want to be treated.
My job to teach them between right and wrong.
My job to teach them not to give into peer pressure.
My job to encourage them to be their own individuals, unique and intelligent.
My job to encourage them to find a woman or man who is their equal, and to love and respect them.
My job to show them positive love and encouragement each day to model after.
My job to let them know they should also expect respect from their family, their friends, their wives or partners.
It takes a lot of work to be a parent.
You're not doing you job if you aren't encouraging your children to be the best people they can be each and every day.
Our kids need to have supervision and guidance. Heck, I still go to my parents for guidance.
If we, as parents, don't step up to the challenge of trying our hardest each and every day to positively influence our children, then I am fearful of our future.
Teach your kids, boy or girl, about respect.
Teach them by setting a positive example.
I am a mother of two boys. Two boys who will hopefully grow up to be amazing young men.