Give Kids Something that Makes Them Somebody

by Christopher Roy

Tribal instinct is real. Peer pressure is real. If you can’t stop kids from joining gangs, encourage it.

When you were a teenager, what your friends thought of you affected everything. Your friends were your life, your entire world depended on their perception of you. They came first. Your identity, your status, your image in their eyes mattered more than anything else.

Kids that become drug dealers often get into that business by necessity. Their parents do it. Their neighbors do it. It’s the only way they can make money and have something for themselves or contribute to their family and community. But most kids get into it because it makes them cool, turns them into a popular rap song they want everyone to sing. They found something that makes them somebody. They enjoy the status, enjoy having a reputation that’s talked about with respect or awe by the people that matter to them – their peers, the popular girls and boys that go to all the parties.

Kids need to be known for something. They crave it, and are constantly trying to impress and prove themselves. They need a place to apply this craving. That’s what makes sports, arts and academic programs so vital.

Star football and basketball players have something that makes them somebody. Their teams are their gangs, and every time a crowd cheers, every time their friends or parents brag about their wins as a group and advancements as individuals, pride swells in these young athletic prospects, developing a unique mentality that makes them unlikely to become drug dealers or get involved in criminal gang activities. Soccer, boxing – there are numerous sports that kids can get into free or cheaply and discover abilities that affect their entire lives.

Kids known as gearheads or great drivers are popular, and that status motivates them to work hard in automotive communities and become highly sought-after mechanics with promising futures. Kids known for building speaker boxes in highschool wood shop courses become furniture artists and homebuilders, and go on to run construction crews in successful businesses.

In academics, kids that excel in math are whispered about in conversations about known geniuses, and become prominent members of exclusive groups, and in music class the kids that can jam guitar like Tom Morello or beat drums like Danny Carey are viewed as future rock stars and join gangs we call bands.

Education and arts are the way to prevent crime, and the way to get kids involved is a bold exploitation of tribal instinct. Kids are going to join a gang (a social group or bad crowd) no matter what you do or say. Help them join the right kind of gang.

Make your kid or a kid you know popular. Introduce them to sports and arts and academic subjects – one after another after another until they find something they are passionate about and join a gang with a future.


Your child’s brain development is crucial to keeping them out of prison.

The recipe for raising a criminal? Poor education, poor nutrition, no arts, no fitness, no sports.

The recipe for raising a genius? Fitness, fish, math and musical instruments.