Your kid misbehaving? Send him to Liberia

From the New York Times city front-page today comes a remarkable story of a Staten Island mother who sent her teenage son back to Liberia. He was starting to turn to drugs, gangs, and all those other things that inner-city teens find tempting them on the street corner. Her solution was to send him to live with her brother in war-torn Liberia.

I won’t ruin the story for you–it’s pretty long but worth the read. What I wanted to ponder was in what situations a mother would make this choice. There are roughly 4,000 other Liberians living in her neighborhood. Should the parents of misbehaving teens send them back to the homeland, trading a violence-riddled life in the ghettos for a violence-riddled life in another ghetto? Of course, the violence on these continents are of different sorts. But it’s clear in this instance that the mother truly loved her son, it must have been a difficult decision indeed. The article really made me think about the bond between mother and son, and the worlds of Liberia and Staten Island–how similar and starkly different they can be.