In Children of the Knight, most, if not all, of the young characters have been tossed out by their parents or society-at-large like yesterday’s trash. Sadly, these characters are all based on reality, on real kids I’ve known over the years who were treated like property, rather than vulnerable human beings in need of love and nurturing.
Has America become such a throwaway nation that even our kids have become expendable? When I was growing up, if something broke we did our best to fix it. Nowadays if anything breaks, it’s thrown away and replaced with something new, even car fenders or doors that become dented. Hammer out the dent and repaint? No way! Too old school. Now we just junk the door or fender and put on a new one. Sadly, our children and teens have become just as disposable.
The characters of Mark and Jack were kicked out of their homes by their parents and had to live on the streets as prostitutes to survive. Did they do something virulently anti-social? Did they commit a serious crime? Did they assault and batter either parent? No. They were gay. That was their crime. They committed the most grievous offense kids can commit against parents – they weren’t carbon copy mini-me’s of the adults. So the adults discarded them as having no value. My parents taught me growing up that good character and honorability were more important than anything else. Sure, my dad wanted me to play sports and I sucked at sports, but he didn’t kick me to the curb because I didn’t play sports. Kids who are gay are just gay. They aren’t a failure or a mistake––they’re just kids. Those parents who mistreat them or mock them or discard them are less than human and should be severely punished. Sadly, they never are. Only the kids suffer.
And what of the gang kids like Esteban and Jaime and Darnell? Did they join gangs because they were filled with hope for the future and were rife with opportunities in their run-down ghetto neighborhoods? Of course not! And like so many gang members I’ve worked with over the years, they wished for a way out, something to latch on to other than the gang, but sadly there wasn’t much out there for kids like them. Other than Homeboy Industries, a program in LA to help gang members earn honest money and leave the lifestyle behind, there’s not much else. Do the adult society and the powers that be offer them any hope? No. All our society is willing to offer them is life in prison, despite the fact that it was the adult society who created the problem in the first place! I suppose to a disposable country like ours, that’s an equitable solution. We adults teach the kids how to be anti-social criminals and then throw them away when they act exactly how they’ve been taught. It’s almost like an age-based genocide. Shameful!
In Children of the Knight, Arthur’s new Round Table provides every kid a place to be on equal footing, from the jocks to the nerds to the gang members to the gay boys. With a common goal and a strong, caring man at the helm, these kids prove just how “not property” they really are. They prove to the city, nay the whole world that the might of kids is powerful and fierce and the spirit of kids is indomitable. Check out the book and decide for yourselves if kids have real value or are simply property to be disposed of when they break, kind of like that old iPad that can’t even be recycled. In the case of broken children, however, we can always make new ones, right?
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