Sunday, February 12, 2012

Complicated lives 33

I ain't never shot nobody...

I grew up in the South.  Everyone...EVERYONE of the guys seemed to have a shotgun rack in their pick up.  Teenage boys especially.  Almost all of us, (girls included) had a pocket knife.  We had knives and guns falling off our person's constantly.  We used to make knives out of ordinary objects, we drew guns, we had real metal cutlery at school.
Teachers made us angry, classmates picked on us.  We got in fights all through Elementary...even in to Junior High (middle school) by High School there were still some fights but not many. I remember in Elementary school up until about 5th grade..boys and girls alike came in muddy, bloody, dirty, skinned knees, bruised, but with an understanding there would always be someone larger, faster, more adept at hitting or dodging.  We learned that hitting hurt!! We learned that we needed to work things out on out own, with our words and shake on it.  We learned that if you hit your friend, chances are it was going to hurt both of you.  Their body,  your fist...or we learned  THEY HIT BACK!!! That hurt both of you at times equally if there was no winner.

It didn't take long for playground law to take effect and for us to realize we had to solve this on our own or we'd never get to the bottom of the slide, we had to do it with the least amount of blood possible, and with the least amount of pain possible.  When we got in trouble in school, we got in trouble at home.  We learned that our parents were bigger and stronger (paddles hurt!!) we learned teachers and principals were bigger and stronger (Paddles in public hurt our egos much worse but we cried less) We learned that we earned respect from our peers by being able to not show too much emotion in public, to be faster or stronger, to be a master negotiator, to avoid fights by being so darn personable no one REALLY hated us.  We also learned that teachers cared when they said.."break it up, now shake and move on"  We learned to take care of our friends who couldn't win in a fair fight because they had physical or mental disabilities.

When did this all change??  When did we cripple our society by not allowing or empowering our son's and daughters to learn these valuable life lessons?  When did we take away problem solving skills for tattling and not learning to protect those who needed it?  I never felt out right bullied, I did feel intimidation, I felt un-included, different, picked on, I knew I wasn't like everyone else.  I knew if it really, really was important to me I could stand up and they would back down.  I learned that at any point I had only myself to embrace, my differences to accept and that one or two good friends were all that mattered.  I learned to think about others as people not how popular they were or weren't.  I learned to see soul ugliness and bitter loneliness in the most popular of people.  I was at times depressed...all of us were, we were teenagers!

But not once, never once...did any of the boys I knew, or the girls I knew ever once go get their gun and use it.  We just weren't raised that way.  We were raised to know that men solved problems, women talked about each other and then made nice.  We knew that only REALLY bad kids ever pulled knives or did bad things.

I really wish that our schools would allow the boys more freedom when it came to learning to settle disputes.  I know people highly disagree with this stance and consider all fighting to be abnormal.  It isn't aberrant behaviour as many schools and parents will have you believe..if it were, it wouldn't occur in all aspects of nature. We have to learn to respect those who outrank us.  I've noticed more and more disobedience in the years since the zero tolerance policies went into effect. I have noticed only hostility and bullies grow, but not understanding or problem solving skills.  It seems boys can't breathe without being sent to the office, yet girls continue to damage the psyche's of everyone of their classmates but remain unpunished.  I am a girl and we were some of the most vicious things on the playground!  We tore up guys!  Guys now have an uncertain sense of self and it seems are more troubled and prone to act out.  I can't stand to see good boys rough housing, laughing and having suspended because they had the nerve to touch one another.  While having the misfortune to have a teacher run across it and report it rather than just say.."ok guys you've had everyone ok?  Move along"  That's really all rough housing requires.  Not behaviour to be vilified.

We all seemed to survive for centuries observing societal norms, learning the ways of the world, navigating our lives and learning respect.  Now it seems that society is sinking into a pit of teenage rebellion, mutual disrespect and is in many ways worse off than we were before in the halcyon days of fights on the playground, though by rights they were supposed to be more tumultuous and damaging.

Through all of our insanity and our run amok desires...we never acted on least none of  the kids I went to school with.

Maybe not a complicated life per say....but but it certainly makes for a complicated existence

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