I didn’t have an easy time as a kid. I was one of 3 or 4 black kids in a school full of latino and italian kids, and then I had the nerve to be smart on top of it all. I was a nerd and I was different and there was an awful lot of ostracization taking place in my adolescent world. I’ve reflected on it a few times in my blog and stated how it helped. Being so young and being unable to really find a clique of good friends that I could be myself around gave me a thick skin. I learned early on not to care about what other people thought really and to just take my own assessment of things, ideas and constructs the first and foremost. It was extremely lonely. I carry around memories of days that I wish didn’t take place because of how they made me feel. But the retribution of High School stays with me. All that build up and thick skinned-ness made me “the man” at Prep and I had a glorious experience then.
There were some people i could pin point as having been the ringleaders of my embarrassing days and moments of my youth. I remember wishing HORRID things upon them for the pain they were inflicting. My imagination would run wild with the mean things that I would carry out on them in this make-believe world. Not death ever – but just vices to them. It never occurred to me that I could or should enact any of that stuff on them. It was a release enough to use my imagination. Fast forward to adulthood – most of the people from elementary school who were these antagonists that I hated have friended me on FB and have met up with me for reunions and have gone on and on about how beautiful and successful they observe me to be. And that is enough for me. To have ascended above and beyond where they limited me in their limited minds as kids and fueled me to get to the highest heights I could reach. This was the ultimate pay back to me. And it is lasting. And comforting.
The lack of backbone / self love / vision / insight / imagination that has permeated this generation that makes them regularly plot and devise to pack up a gun, bring it to school and shoot into the crowd of their peers because they feel ostracized then potentially kill themselves or suffer imprisonment for the rest of their days is something I am really struggling to wrap my mind around. It is limited revenge. It is wrought with consequence. It is not actually satisfying because the punishment would take the sweetness away from it all (unless these kids are sociopaths – which I cant imagine that they are because if they were, kids razzing them wouldn’t make a difference at all). The skin these kids are being raised up in is so painfully thin….it is truly frightening.
I remarked to the hubby this morning that for a generation of kids raised in this whole “oh.. don’t hit your kids to discipline them” “corporal punishment is wrong” “put them in time out” frame of mind – two things have taken place in the fiber of these kids’ personalities: 1) they have this crazy thin skin 2) they only respect violence. So if you come at them with reason and rationalization they blow you off. They don’t have any real respect for authority or structure. But threaten to beat their asses or yoke them up and suddenly there is a glimmer of deference that surges up in their eyes. It is a total contradiction. I consistently think on the verse from the bible…. “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Of course I don’t believe that they mean to brain the kid or lock them up in damp cellars for weeks at a time… which makes this the issue. It is all up to interpretation. And some people based on their experiences are horribly skewed to the extremes. But treating babies and kids like adults and trying to reason with them for everything removes the instillation of humility and respect for authority that used to be a backbone of society.
As I take this painstaking care to raise my daughter in such a way that would make my elders proud, news of kids whose parents didn’t care enough to do the same for running into an place of education and shoot just anyone makes me want to home school my baby. I think sometimes that I did a very terrible thing to her by bringing her into such a backwards place and hope that she makes it. We will give the foundation to her. But… regardless of foundation – how did that protect the innocents that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
We are all entwined in this. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the children affected, hurt and murdered in the Chardon High School massacre.