#774 – Dick Bernard: The A(De)scendance of "Me"/Tea

This morning my spouse, Cathy, is on a mission of mercy for a friend.
Cathy is very good at “missions of mercy”.
In this case, she’s going to a private school to retrieve the belongings of a troubled adolescent who was dis-invited (or, shall we say, thrown out).
None of this was a surprise, including to the youngster, who didn’t want to go to the school, and said so before the year started: “I wonder how long it will take them to kick me out”.
Less than two weeks, it turns out.
I taught junior high kids for nine years back in the 1960s, so I am not unaware of the nature of the ‘beast’. They were just less sophisticated then, and they were less sophisticated only because they did not have the array of information and options that they do now.
But the dynamic was the same: they knew all the answers, but they didn’t even have a clue about the questions.
Their future was NOW.
For most, they grew up, but for some the consequences were severe.
This particular student is a female.
I had great friends back in the 1980s, pillars of the Church, just absolutely wonderful people, whose adolescent daughter, their only child, took her walk on the wild side, coincident with her mother’s terminal illness. The young girl was a sweetheart before she went ‘south’, in the manner we all understand from having watched such things in our own circles.
A single parent, she had her baby, who would now be near 30 years old, I’d say, and she’d be about 45. She’s had twice as much life after the pregnancy, as she’d had when she became pregnant. I haven’t seen/heard from her since, but she’s likely out there, somewhere, perhaps recovered, perhaps not.
And she’s had her own teen go through his or her own times.
There are times, like this, when you realize that you as a parent are not in control. Here is a child who for whatever reason hates others, but really hates herself, and doesn’t know what to do about it. Many of us have “been there, done that”, with such a family member. It is not fun to be in it alone….
The young lady will go back to the place she wanted to be in the first place, a public school, but that isn’t going to solve her problem, and the public school knows it: but they don’t have the option of the private school. That’s what “public school” is about: serving public needs.
Luckily, in our particular town, and in most towns, there exist an array of services to spring into action if needed. I don’t need to recite them.
But as a parent, and as a school person, and involved community member, I know there are assorted persons, agencies, groups, most funded by tax dollars in some form or another, most only vaguely known to me, who are there to intervene, and hopefully move the troubled adolescents ME into a healthier perspective. WE are in this business of life together, and WE cannot do it alone.
None of us can control the destructive behaviors of this youngster and the persons of all ages and relationships around her who enable her, but we can help society be ready to help her out, whatever happens.
And hopefully in a few years, she’ll be a functioning adult, maybe even acknowledging what she did, back then, without having experienced too much long-term damage.
So, why the word, “Tea” at the end of the subject? And “A(De)”?
We are experiencing plenty of stupid “ME” behavior amongst the people too many of us have elected to make policy for this country. The folks whose only priority is their priority, whatever that priority is. In fact, too many of us are completely oriented to ME thinking: what’s good for ME, NOW.
Not you? Think about it.
We go, now, into the serious times of the “sequester” that most of us have forgotten about, since it hasn’t, so far, affected us directly.
But this fall, and next year in particular, the “chickens will come home to roost”, and the kind of services our troubled adolescent might need, might not be available.
For a good ongoing briefing, much longer, about the actions in Washington, I recommend following Just Above Above Sunset, free, daily, the most recent number here.

1 reply
  1. Dave Thofern
    Dave Thofern says:

    Well said, Dick. I’m amazed and distressed at the number of people, some of whom are in positions of leadership, who simply do not believe that there is any sort of social contract between all of us.
    During the last election, President Obama was pounced on by the Republicans for stating that successful business people didn’t reach there status totally on their own. Are these people really that dumb? Don’t they see the obvious? Where would they be without public schools to provide an educated workforce, a police and fire system that protects their assets and their lives, a public infrastructure that allows the products they produce to and the materials needed for production to reach their destinations? I could go on. Even Red Green knows enough to state the obvious: “We’re all in this together.”


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