Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blue Candy

Last night I was working with a kid in my group who is being bullied in school. While this is a very common occurrence in America it got me to thinking. I have done a lot of research and reading on other cultures and most if not all third world countries don't deal with the bullying like we do, it just doesn't come up. Perhaps when you are faced with finding your own dinner and protecting your siblings you can't find the time to pick on someone because of their parents income or living situation. So why in a country of abundance (obesity is still one of our Nation's most effective killers) aren't we more content and less likely to turn against each other. Dogs will go after one another if you deprive them of food but will run as a pack if times are good, not us...the better times are monetarily the more likely we are to turn on one of our own.

I found myself once again without answer on a Wednesday night. I know that pain he was feeling. Our home burnt down when I was 12 leaving us with nothing, we wore hang me downs from the church and stayed with friends. I can assure you that not only did I not strike the match that burnt it nor did I have the ability to rebuild or replace my home, but it was in fact my fault for being "without" in school. The ridicule that brother and I faced on a daily basis was incredible. I tried to draw from that experience last night to help this little face in front on me. I thought back...what did I do to make them stop. The answer is simple. I conformed. As soon as I was old enough I got a job that enabled me to buy the name brand clothes, I moved schools and started a whole new life in which no one knew that I was poor or that I paid rent to live in my Dad's house. So back again to my dilemma, do I tell this little boy to conform? After all it worked for me, even though it goes against EVERYTHING I stand for now. Do I tell him to ignore them, even though I know it is pointless...I mean common' the kid lives in a Safe House after being transferred states in the dark of night in police cars, sad for adults to think about, but brilliant for bullies. Nope instead I just starred back at him blankly, my mouth wouldn't move, couldn't tell him the options I had. He's an amazing little boy so it didn't take long for him to smile and mention that his tongue was blue and go back to coloring. I suppose I will feel this helpless a lot as a parent, hopefully I will be blessed with a daughter who eats blue candy.


Barb said...

It is certain that you had no responsibility for your socioeconomic positioning growing up. It is also true that we didn't have a lot of money when you were little. You had to learn how to enjoy playing in the woods, or riding bikes, or horses, or other 'mountain kid' things, but you had a lot of friends, and a lot of love, and seemed like a happy kid. It was devastating losing our 'stuff' in the fire, and I always felt bad that you had to be the 'poor kids' who had nothing. We moved away and started over, and had more money, but weren't happier. Weird. Anyway....

I have seen first-hand, very recently, what happens to people who aren't forced to face adversity on a regular basis (occasional issues don't count). They think everything is a crisis and their lives are filled with drama. People who face adversity regularly, like your young friend, will quickly learn how much good is in his life, because he can measure it. George told Amanda one time that she would probably be happier if he had beat her more often. She asked why. His response: Because if you missed your beatings one day, you'd be stoked.

You are an amazingly profound young woman and I am thrilled that you turned out so terrific, even though the silver spoon in your mouth was really plastic, and your name brand shoes were 'Cheetah's.

You are going to be a terrific mom - not because you've had training, or because you have had experience, but because you want to be a good mom, and you try, and you care.

You amaze me...I was truly blessed to be allowed to raise kids who like blue candy :) .... I love you.

Deb said...

I think that it was from eating all the bark as a young girl. Eating bark makes you appreciate things more! Just kidding! My kids faced alot of adversity growing up also, we didn't have the money to buy the name brand clothes and shoes either so at the age of 13 and 14, my kids got jobs so they could go and buy the cool clothes to fit in. I think that it helped teach them alot. Nothing is free in life, you must work hard. It's okay to spoil your kids but you also have to know when enough is enough. I think by you being there, Crystal, for this little boy and many others, you will make a huge difference in their lives. You are awesome for taking the time to change a life. I love you!

Crystal said...

Between the two of you wise women I think you have answered my question...just assure him that someday these experiences will pay off. I couldn't imagine having a different childhood and I know that my life experience made me who I am and I wouldn't change that for anything. Love you the way you made a pregnant lady cry on a Friday morning. :-)