Missing in Missouri

    Two weeks after a controversial encounter of a local police officer and an unarmed teen, the city of Ferguson, Missouri still feel the raw emotions of wanting to feel safe while hoping to seek justice at the same time. The unfortunate situation resulted in the shooting death of an 18-year old teen – no longer able to walk the streets of this Earth. He’ll never have a chance to go to the local community college his parents said he prepared for. He’ll be missed.

    As for the police officer involved in this tragedy, he’ll never be the same – his name will always be historically etched in the chronicles of this controversy. Whether he be hated or praised…his name will continue to stir debate at everyone’s dinner table for years to come. We’re missing his side of this awful story.

    As for Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, her name will now join the long list of agonizing mothers trying to cope with the lost yet wanting to seek justice on behalf of her child. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to see Michael splattered over the internet and to view the positive and negative statements about his life – mostly leading up to that deadly situation. She’ll miss his smile or have the pleasurable benefit to see him grow older, marry, have kids, and make his parents proud.

    People throughout the country (and the world) are depending on our government system to fill in the missing blanks of this tragedy. Will there be an indictment against the police officer? Will the grand jury find cause that Michael Brown assaulted the police officer before his death? Will the local police department of Ferguson ever find ways regain the trust of the community? Will the local police department become more diverse in the hiring of their staff?  So many missing pieces…

    But what’s missing in Ferguson and around the country is the missing element of human engagement. We rely too much on our electronic phone devices to be the source of communicating to one another. I sat in a barber’s chair this afternoon and notice that every guy sitting in front of me (about six of them), all focused on their phone devices. No one looked up and no one desired to raise a conversation.

    Days after the tragedy, I felt the need to spend time with my mentee Otis. I later reached out to a few young men across the street from my house. It was a way to engage with them; to hear them and how they felt about the situation. Maybe there is a way to ease the social tension of our communities – by simply talking to one another. One could only wonder, if every adult in this country made an attempt to talk or speak to the younger generation, perhaps most of them would listen enough to moralistically view his/her countrymen and learn how to respect one another. It’s been said that children spell love T-I-M-E!

    In Proverbs 22:6 in the New International Version of the Bible, it says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” So many of our children aren’t trained or correctly directed! That is what’s missing!

    So what are you going to do today? Are you blessed to have kids living in your home? Start right there; then bring your children’s friends over. Later, speak up at a PTA meeting and speak to the school faculty to begin conversations with the children. You may be encouraged to attend your church’s Sunday School ministry and start those conversations there. Perhaps you are a football coach; you might want to incorporate some social conversations with the guys. The cost is too great not to start somewhere. We don’t want to MISS out on this opportunity.

Let go people and do some good!

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