Summer began too early thisyear on that first Sunday of May in the northern Chicago suburbs. Perhaps toomuch was said about the hazing that day with the Glenbrook North High Schooljunior and senior girls?
What ishazing? Hazing originated in the 16th century among sailors and crew workerson long ship voyages. Webster's dictionary says hazing is the attempt to exactunnecessary, disagreeable or difficult work from the men.
The harassment usually tookplace on hazy days (which could drive sailors crazy) so it became known ashazing. Webster's modern definition says hazing includes excessive orunnecessary work, the attempt to embarrass by ridicule or persistent criticism,and the subjecting to treatment intended to put a person in ridiculous ordisconcerting positions.
Hazing is not defined as beingsubjected to the kind of treatment that lands a person in the hospital. Thatis still known as assault, and it's still a crime.
Parents of the students whowere charged with misdemeanor assault said that their kids are good kids. Thatis simply not true! Good kids do good things. When good kids do bad things,they apologize and accept the consequences of their actions.
Parents want to protect theirkids from the consequences of bad behavior. It's a temptation as old asparenthood. But the consequences of no consequences can be much biggeraccording to Michele Borba, author of "No More Misbehavin."
Borba writes, "To raisetrophy kids, the focus is on grades, athletics, SATs and Ivies rather thanmoral development. The trade-off? No conscience, no sense of remorse, noaccountability or empathy." Sounds like a summary of that Sunday in Glenbrook.0553573136
In his book "Parenthood",Paul Reiser writes about how parents prepare for their first baby: "Baby'sroom - check, crib - check, infant car seat - check, diapers - check, formula -check, morals and values - oh my God! I forgot to get morals and values."
Parents who wait until a babyis born or baptized to develop morals and values, and a relationship with Godand church are late. Parents who think that it is not important to teach andexemplify morals and values to teenagers have abandoned their teenagers.
Any fraternity, sorority, workplace, club, sports team or group of friends that hazes deserves no respect andcertainly not our membership.
Anyone who seeks to ridicule,embarrass or injure others is not a good person. You become a good person bydoing good things. Anyone who is contemplating subjecting themselves toridicule, embarrassment or personal injury in order to be accepted shouldalways remember that we belong to Christ, and we are members of His body.
Is it time for teachers, school administrators andparents to stop looking the other way and grow up? Then maybe our teenagerswill follow.
Fr. Angelo Artemas is a priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This article was published in "The Orthodox Observer." Reprinted with permission of the author.