Tag Archives: Those Kids

A Moment Of Silence

by Richard

I work in an elementary school. I deal with these little dudes and dudettes every single day.

The horror of Newton, Connecticut, is almost overwhelming.

I’ve tried to write this post for most of the weekend and came up with nothing. Every time I try to gather my thoughts, they simply disappear into the well of despair the parents of Newton must be feeling.

Those kids were no older than 10 years old, most not even into double digits. It’s just not right.

No matter what was wrong with the shooter’s brain, no matter what might have led to this. . . It’s just plain evil. Those kids did nothing. Those teachers and parents did nothing.

And now they have to suffer.

And all we can do is watch, and wonder and hope that it never happens again. And, when it does, the whole cycle starts over again with a different group of parents in mourning and a different group of parents watching and wondering and hoping.

There will always be mental illness. There will always be people who are just plain wrong. But we can change things if we make it harder for these people to get at the weapons that make it so much easier to kill others. But that is for later.

For now, all I can do is sit still and sorry and be quietly relieved it didn’t happen here.

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Embrace Them For Who They Are

by Richard

One of the hardest parts about raising young dudes and dudettes to adulthood is that we have to, at some point, let go. After all, that’s the whole purpose of parenting: raise them as best your able and then let them go out on their own to start making their own mistakes.

It’s difficult when those kids who you’ve been feeding and guiding and mentoring for so many years start to act in ways you know you didn’t teach. Sometimes that can be something as silly as liking your arch rival’s college football team instead of your own, to something as serious as going out and stealing stuff, or worse.

As much as it hurts to admit this, young dudes and dudettes aren’t simply the sum of the bits we cram into them. They have their own thing or thirty-two to say and, by golly, they’re going to do so. Often. And loudly. So what can we do to offset this?

Absolutely nothing.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

Contrary to what some parents might believe or hope for, children are not born a blank slate. Rather, they come into the world with predetermined abilities, proclivities and temperaments that nurturing parents may be able to foster or modify, but can rarely reverse.

The goal of parenting should be to raise children with a healthy self-image and self-esteem, ingredients vital to success in school and life. That means accepting children the way they are born — gay or straight, athletic or cerebral, gentle or tough, highly intelligent or less so, scrawny or chubby, shy or outgoing, good eaters or picky ones.

The above came from a really nice opinion piece by Jane E. Brody that ran in The New York Times earlier in November. It got me to thinking, especially considering it was sent to me by my dad. I wonder if he was trying to say something about me? No, probably not. It’s difficult to critique perfection.
Trying to fit children into a predetermined mold, deciding what they will like and what they won’t, is a mug’s game, argues Ms. Brody. And I have to agree with her.
Differences, no matter how annoying, should be celebrated. It’s our differences that make us who we are. If we were all the same, wouldn’t life be boring as snot? We’d never have a surprise, never hear a passing remark that allows us to see the world in a new way.
That’s teens, really. We raise them, teach them, love them and then let them go. And, once free, we can begin to marvel and the wonderful and unique being standing before us. And then wonder why they keep asking for our car keys.

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Anticipation Nightmare

by Richard

If there’s one thing I forgot to take into account when I decided to take the job as a part-time tutor at the Wonderful Elementary School, it’s that I would have to deal with little dudes and little dudettes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an idiot. I knew I’d be teaching the little shriekers. It’s just that I forgot I would also have to put up with them.

Especially when they’re wound up so tight they could snap a spring in twain. And, brother, when it’s Halloween and they’re going to be going out to hunt up candy in only a couple of hours, they are wound — the heck — up. Way, way up.

Most of those kids who celebrate Halloween were up and down out of their seats faster than a hyperactive mole trying to escape the hammer. (Sure, there are some kids who don’t celebrate Halloween. I was told by one that his mom considers Halloween to be the devil’s birthday so it’s no reason to celebrate. There are times when I have a very, very hard time holding in my opinions. That was one.) The enthusiasm/excitement was contagious.

Kids who wouldn’t have their parents catch them dead wearing make up because they worry the parents might think they’re in costume, were grabbing onto their chairs with clenched fists to make sure they didn’t accidentally join in on the suppressed sugar-party-to-come.

All I’ll say is it’s a good thing I got to leave just after lunch. If I’d have had to stay much longer, there was a very good chance some of those kids would have had to trick or treat on crutches. Accidentally, of course.

Now my only problem is trying to keep myself calm until I can get out of the house and start trying to scare some people. Or something. I’ve heard. Not that I would do that on purpose. Only, you know, accidentally. Of course.

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