Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Surviving By Meanness

One of my kids from last year, Juan, was knocked off his bike while he was riding to the store and thrown on the ground. The kid is ten years old, and he now has a black eye and a puffed-up lip, and his whole face generally looks like he was in a prize fight. He says the boys who did it were teenagers and that there wasn't a reason for it. He's scared but doesn't want to show that so he's just acting a lot meaner.

I want to find the teenagers that did it and get them arrested or beat them up or something. Until I remember that they're not that much older than him and the exact thing probably happened to them. And that I can see in Juan's eyes that he's learning to do the same thing to smaller kids and he'll probably end up right in the same position. Then I just want to cry, because he's figured out that to survive in his neighborhood, he has to be mean. There are a lot of characteristics inherent in this child - he is creative, loving, loyal, and hardworking. He is not mean. But you better believe he's going to learn to be, in order to survive. Just like a lot of the older kids around him, meanness is going to become a quality that defines him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. Not if someone shows him how to survive without being mean. At least then he knows he has options. He also needs a safe haven; some sort of respite, whether it be books, a game-with-rules game (I favor the martial arts for boys and gils his age) or a secret hideout. Oak Town still has a lot of trees, doesn't it? Maybe he can build a treehouse where he can read books about Tai Kwando....
In any case, you are crucial. I'm not sure what grade you teach, but I'm guessing 4 or 5. For some reason, everyone seems to remember their teacher at that age; I sure do. So does the guy who just donated 12 and a half million to the college of education I attend; at least that was the reason he gave.
Your blog is awesome. No, better than that: it's sick. And you're phat. I'm sure your kids will agree with me.
Thanks for the inspiration.