Do you have one of these living in your house?
Is there a body in your home that seems to have been taken over by an alien from the planet GRUMPY?
Do you feel like the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers actually took place overnight and they left their "duds" behind?
I have always had a passion for teens. When I taught high school, before I had children of my own, my heart was reserved for my husband and the teens I spent the day with. I sat for hours and listened to their pain. I had them come to my house to keep them safe from situations in their own homes.
You wonder if I really CAN connect with and get into the teen mind? Here is an excerpt from a novel I am currently writing:
"I barely make it to the stall before the chocolate muffin I had on my way to the bus makes its return and spews forth splashing my feet with toilet water. I wash my hands and watch the water run. I have come to the realization that my life is a lot like the never ending swirl I am staring into. You know, that last bit of soapy filth that never quite disappears. It lays dormant and dries up after all the water dissipates but comes rolling back to life when the roar of the faucet drenches it again. I have so many evils in the Rolodex labeled “abuse” in my brain. More evils than I can handle sometimes. But those same evils are my best weapon at times and help me handle the world around me so I don’t draw attention to myself. Look, the memories I dredged up ten minutes ago helped me sail painlessly through my mock presentation. I splash my face with water and head back to class."
They say the teen years are the most frustrating and painful for parents and teachers... no one knows what to do with them. Many people throw their hands up and give up. They determine "there is nothing we can do!" Well, this is my niche. I am not saying that I have all the answers but I AM saying that I vow to try and find them for a teen who has no where to turn. I have a passion to save them. One by one. But I can only save the ones I know about - the ones I have contact with.
My husband and I have hand-picked a couple other adults who love teens for who they are, see their looming downfall and want to jump in with both feet. We are creating a middle school program that will travel from school to school and not only teach tolerance, gentleness and respect but arm them with the tools they will need to survive those who are chronically intolerant, who bully like it's their job and are increasingly disrespectful to everyone in their wake.
If you think of every horror that has been born in or played out in a school... school shootings, sexual offenses, bullying, suicide, cutting, and verbal or mental abuse it all comes back to RESPECT - but there are three variations of RESPECT - respect of self, others and life.
Somewhere in our timeline, in the last 20 years, we have gone from "stupid" being unacceptable in a school setting to the words "bitch," "faggot," and "f*ck" being thrown around between classes with nothing more than a sharp look or a grimace from an adult. Teachers allow it in their classrooms, parents allow it in their homes. Sure, they are just words, but this is the FIRST place RESPECT tests its boundaries.
From those words that SHOULD make us cringe, they move to actions we don't approve of. We turn our heads and say, "they are teens, that's what they do." SURE that's what they do WHEN THEY KNOW WE ARE TURNING OUR HEADS! But what if we go toe to toe and look them right in the eye and face it...WITH THEM?
But when we don't partner with them they ACT out on themselves and others.
From words to actions - just two steps - two small steps that can mean life or death for the victim.
THEMSELVES (drugs/alcohol, cutting, depression, suicide)
OTHERS (bullying, violence, murder)
It is a vicious circle that starts with WORDS, they are the first POWER they are given and the first one they TEST. It is up to the adults in their lives to make sure they use the POWER they are given appropriately! But we don't. We look away when it gets too heavy.
Do you shudder when you hear about the 14 yr old who hung herself b/c everyone called her a slut?
Does your heart ache when you hear of the gang rape at the school around the corner?
Are you horrified when you hear what a RAINBOW PARTY is?
Shocked to hear they pour alcohol in their eyeballs so you don't smell in on their breath?
Well, WAKE UP! They NEED us and they are CRYING out with their ACTIONS!
Neurologists will tell you that the brain is not fully developed until the mid 20's. It develops back to front. The back is where impulses are born and the front is where the control is. The teen years are filled with drama but their brains have NONE of the skills it takes to handle that drama.
If you are a teen, wish someone loved you when you were one or have one you don't know what to do with, leave me a comment. Tell me what's on your mind.
Peace out, Mamas.