10/05/2006 11:18 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are We Growing Kids, Or Raising Kids?

One of the most profound statements I have read in my 53 years was made by a man named George Dawson. George, with the help of Richard Glaubman wrote his autobiography. The book was published in 2000 by Random House and is called Life Is So Good. It tells the story of George's travels through the 20th century. The fact that he was born in 1898 and was a poor black man traveling around to find work isn't the real story. The true story is that George learned to read when he was 98 years old.

Richard interviewed George and helped him tell his story. They discussed a variety of topics and addressed how he survived without being able to read for 98 years. At one point Richard asked George about his thoughts on the Columbine shootings and George replied with the following wisdom. "Children killing children. That's a terrible thing. It's not just the children. It's the grown ups too. Some people are growing children, not raising children, and there's a big difference." He went on to say you just grow hogs, but you have to raise children. He said you have to help kids, listen to kids, discipline them and teach them right from wrong. He adds, "Buying them their food or even fancy clothes or a car ain't going to help if a child is hurting inside."

The last month has seen some horrific tragedies in an around our schools. Some of the violence and killings has been by children and some by adults. All have been hard to explain. We all know that there are many questions and there aren't any simple answers about what has gone wrong. The bullets fired in the Amish schoolhouse on Monday took me to a pretty low place and made me want to raise these questions. In the midst of these terrible events, I think we have to ask ourselves, is George right? ARE WE GROWING CHILDREN, INSTEAD OF RAISING CHILDREN?