Judge on panel discussing challenges facing teens

Ben Franklin once said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Taking Franklin's advice, a panel of experts recently involved community members about key issues facing teens. The panel included Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren, the co-founder of Patriot Week; Tobi Russell, co-director/owner of Rochester Hills Counseling; Martin Alvin, Oakland County Circuit Court Juvenile referee; and Dr. Daniel Nerad, superintendent of Birmingham Public Schools. The goal of the evening's conversation was to help families navigate their way through troubled times, working out various issues and concerns that will best serve the needs of family and community.

The panel addressed scores of parents, grandparents, guardians, high school teens and other community members at Birmingham Seaholm's Wagner Auditorium. The panelists provided presentations on the effects of sexting, substance abuse and mental issues within the community, state and nation and how to address those challenges. The panelists fielded many questions involving mental health, criminal offenses, pornography, school services and other subjects.

The discussion was offered to help the many parents who are frustrated after receiving phone calls from their school suggesting all is not going well, and many are not the first call. Family members frequently say they could have predicted their children would get into trouble because of earlier signs and behaviors. However, families often feel powerless about how to address such situations. This conversation was offered to help family members understand potential solutions and know who can help.

"Too often parents and students forget that we are so blessed to live in America, where we embrace the founding First Principles of unalienable rights, the rule of law, equality, revolution, limited government and the Social Compact. Students need to remember that as citizens they have both rights and obligations," explained Warren. "If our teens would embrace those First Principles and remember that they have worth and purpose, that goes a long way to preventing and addressing anti-social behaviors. Once students respect themselves and others and have their eyes open to the rich and diverse possibilities available to them in America, they will have a much better chance of being productive and engaged citizens."

Audience participants expressed that they learned a great deal from the presentation and hope for additional gatherings.

Warren is the co-founder of Patriot Week with his then 10-year-old daughter Leah (www.PatriotWeek.org), a former member of the State Board of Education, and author of "America's Survival Guide, How to Stop America's Impending Suicide by Reclaiming Our First Principles and History" (www.AmericanSurvivalGuide.com). Patriot Week is anchored by the key dates of September 11 (the anniversary of the terrorist's attacks) and September 17 (Constitution Day, the anniversary of when the United States Constitution was signed). Patriot Week is a grassroots effort to celebrate and honor America by commemorating its First Principles (the rule of law, equality, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, limited government and the right to alter or abolish an oppressive government), key historical figures, founding documents and symbols.

Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015