Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lost Generation

We adults will all agree kids have much more to deal with than when did when we were in school. Technology has shrunk the world into sound bytes and mere seconds of information bursts. But what adults generally find disagreement over is the amount of stress a child is encountering just trying to make it through an average day. Take time. Time is in short supply. Get up, hurry up, get dressed bag a quick breakfast if at all, and run to the school bus. Don't be late to class. There are no excuses. Two tardy's and your in detention. Then there are the social elements in schools. Imagine having to spend 8 hours in a place crammed with people whose sole reason to exist is to harass and bully, you sometimes to the point of physical assault, but always including emotional abuse which leaves much longer deeper scars. We can all agree security is a prime need for healthy children. Yet we tend to gloss over the effect of violent graphic news items depicting the death, rape, abduction brutalization and basic enslaving of innocent children by the adults charged with protecting them. Add to that fear. A fear of not knowing if they will have a place to sleep tonight, where it will be, will it be warm and safe. Or will they be huddled in a corner on a city sidewalk somewhere. Parents are another cause for worry. Will Daddy be drunk again he he gets home? If he is, how drunk and what can I do to be sure he doesn't get angry again? How can I be sure not to get hit? If mommy comes home at all, will she bring some strange people with her who keep trying to do strange unspeakable things to me? If there are other kids in the home, can I keep them from being hurt. I may be the only chance they have. The child now has adult responsibilites no child should have to handle. Police officers seem to be the enemy. They see a kid on the street and automatically they think , if your are a girl you are a prostitute. They don't hear your side of the story about how the guy who swears to look out for you actually wants a lot in return, usually involving some sex act with him or maybe many of his friends. The icons of what we adults hold as the trappings of childhood, ply hide and seek, daydreaming and bike riding, have been replaced with fear, anger, worry, stress, and panic. They all breed mistrust in a world the children don't understand and are trying their best to figure out as they go. This includes very little healthy adult input. I saw a group of about 30 teen aged kids who had just gotten off the school buses. They all ran to a vacant lot and started kicking and hitting a particular boy. The mob grew. The kid tried to run. They surrounded him and pushed him back into the mob waiting to hit him. They had him on the ground, kicking him in turn. He finally got up long enough to run a few steps, before they caught up to him again. Down he went. More kids arrived in cars. Gang signs flashed as as I watched in the rear view mirror while I was on the phone to the police dispatch. I watched as a young man pulled gun from in his pants and ran down the street pointing it at the boy who was being victimized. By now there were close to 100 kids.. still no adults but me. I don't know what the outcome was. I never saw a cruiser arrive. No one contacted me as the witness. I live in a relatively good part of town in 5A rated school distrcist with people who have modest means. I have never seen this type of mob mentality before. This boy has a long journey ahead of him, if he is still alive. This is a normal day in the live of many of our children. Just one millisecond away from the end of their lives. We all need to take a good look at what kind of a world we are bequeathing to our children. So far it seems their legacy is fear, anger, rage, violence, apathy, predatory tendencies and a world devoid of empathy and respect for something as divine and miraculous as a living being. Our kids stress levels are equal to if not greater than most adults,and they don't have any tools to deal. We need to recognize that childhood is no longer the time of innocence and carefree days of play and daydreaming. Our kids are being taught guerrilla tactics simply to survive. And we don't understand why teens who have babies end up beating them, or killing them. We can't conceive of how a mother can leave her baby alone for hours while she goes to a bar. We have no idea what it is like to be a kid today. Perhaps it is time we really start to see what our kids put up with from schools, teachers, adults, and the world around them. If we start reaching out to them now, maybe we can save a few before it is too late. The really scarry part of everytning I saw, was the kids involved were laughing and enjoying this incident where so much pain and suffereing was inlflicted. For More information on stress and its effects on kids please go to

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