Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sunday with the Monkeys II

Hey all,
I am going to get right to it. I have a busy day today and I don't know if I am going to have time to fit it all. If you have not read Wednesday's post stop right now.
You have to read Wednesday's post to understand today's.

Okay now that everyone is up to date I will continue with the story.

I was getting in my car kind of pissed, and I saw a kid I knew (he was in the seventh grade) on his bike. I said, "Hey kid are you going to ride your bike home?"
He said to me, "Maybe!"
Now I just about had it and I said to him, "Excuse me (with a tone like I am about to get up out of this truck and Rambo flat blast you)?"
And he wised up and said, "Yes sir."
I said, "Because I was going to offer you a ride home, and we could put your bike in the back of the truck."
Now it was a lot of, "No thank you sir."
Then I saw a friend I knew who has a couple of boys (one in the seventh grade and one in the ninth) and I told him my stories.
He just shook his head and said, "I know brother, it is something we are going through right now."
I remember a lot about my middle school days and I don't remember being such a punk.
So I marinated on it for a day, and I called the woman that is in charge of the youth group.
I told her the story and I asked her if this was common.
She, of course, said YES.
I asked her how she handles these boys. She said I usually just go home and cry.
Now this is a girl that has spent her whole college education learning about theology.
She probably wanted to do something with kids because "she loves kids."
Don't we all say that, "I just love kids."
She graduated from a Christian college and couldn't wait to get out in the real world and put into practice everything she had learned.
Now I am going to tell you that it is not the Jesus thing. I spent way more years learning about teeth, and I spent many of nights crying because this profession was beating the crap out of me.
See, she didn't have an elementary education degree (which I am sure you have to have to learn about this kind of middle school behavior and you have a year of internship where you see in a class room how kids act) so she doesn't know how to do this.
Now this woman has a huge heart and sounded so deflated on the phone.
She told me that last year was bad. She said that she would start to call parents and ask them to come to class and see how their young man was behaving. She was thinking this would either make the kid behave or show the dad how the kid was behaving and he would step in and whip this kid into shape.
She said the dad would come and then kid would act like a monkey, and the dad wouldn't do anything.
She said that she told some kids not to come back and then the parents would call her up ticked off because they wanted the 2 and a half hour break from THEIR kid.
I was sitting there listening to her in utter disbelief.
I started thinking of solutions to give her, like she hasn't thought of everything.
There is a 7th and 8th grade youth group and a young man runs this.
I asked her if she has ever talked to this guy to see if he could help her. She said he has his hands full with his set of monkeys.
See the class of sixth grader that she gave to him was worse than the set she has now.
See this is not just this class.
Last year, it started kind of the same as this year. The boys were unruly and one of two things would happen...they were asked NOT to come back or they thought there were too many rules and they stopped coming.
So it became a girl's thing.
Now the young lady that is in charge did not want it to be this way. The boys need this too. The boys need a place to hang out. It is not supposed to be like church and Sunday school where they have to sit still and be angels. It is supposed to be a time when they can talk and be with their friends and other kids.
See what would also happen in the boy's group is someone would be different, and they would either bully this kid or make fun of him until he didn't come back.
Now to me, this is sad. Just sad. All of it. The kids...the bullying, the making fun, the bad behavior. The parents...the apathy, the laziness.
Now I am not saying being a parent is easy. I am not saying being a 6th and 7th grade kid is easy. I am not because I know it is not.
But I am just trying to think through this.
I was sitting with my friend who has two children in college, and I started telling him this story. He said, "let me guess" and he ended up telling me the rest of the story.

I said, "how did you know?"

He said, "Things don't change, John. People, kids and parents, don't change."

I was sad before now I am really sad.

Is there nothing we can do as parents to make sure our kid is not a punk?

Now, I remember being a punk, but not that bad. I remember being this shy kid just trying to find myself in a group of punks.

I started to think that I'm paying a lot of money to send my kids to this school (I know I am being naive) so the kids would be different. So the parents would be different.

I want the parents to be engaged. Not just send their kids to school thinking the school is going to raise them. Now I know this happens. I know, probably more because there is some entitlement when it comes to paying tuition.

(Now I am not harping on my school, because we really do love it and love the people and what it brings to our home.)

But if the kids are going to be the same at a public and private school why am I wasting my money?

I know it is not the school.

I just don't know the answer.

But I am learning. Kids are kids. They need parents. They need direction.

They also are hormonal and need an outlet.

They need people to love them. They need to know that we understand they are going through a change in their body that makes them do weird stuff.

But there still has to be consequences for their actions. Even if we, as parents and teachers, hate enforcing the rules.

Acting like an idiot can sometimes be overlooked, but being mean to someone can't be tolerated. Being disrespectful to adults will not be tolerated.

And we all MUST know that everyone is made in the image of God.

Punk-ass kids are. Parents are. Teachers are. Youth group facilitators are.

The nerdy kid is most definitely is. And we all, they all have treat and to be treated as such.

I finished my conversation with the youth group leader, and I told her I was going to help her.

I don't know how I am going to help her, but I am going to.

If it is that I have to bring a couple of dads and hang out in the classroom.

If it is to get all the dads together to talk about our kids. I don't know.

I know I will be there on Sunday.

Sometimes I think that is the answer. Just being there.

If you have any suggestions, I am open.

Well we are 9 days from the official due date of our new son.

Our last kid, Noah, came 2 weeks early and he was 8 pounds 12 oz.

So we are on pins and needles at our house. Our bag is packed. Our whole house looks like a nursery. But so far no baby. I will keep you posted.

If the baby comes this week, well the blog might just be some photos.

Have a great weekend.

I am running 16 miles tomorrow.

My marathon is on Thanksgiving Day weekend.

That is only 7 weeks away. (That means Christmas is only 11 weeks away. Are you kidding me?)



Anonymous said...

Hope everything goes well and smooth with the baby.

The parents these days are not parenting. They simply have kids to justify their needs to validate their existence in this world. In other words they have kids because it is what they think they should do. Most don't realize what is involved after the kid pop out and you actually have to raise them. As the old saying goes if you talk the talk you must also walk the walk and most are not ready or willing to do the walk. Parents turn on the TV give them a video game send them to school and Day Care then tell the kids don't bother me cause I am busy. Most kids who act up just want the attention that they are lacking at home. Some of course some just need an azz whooping and discipline that they are also lacking at home. Spare the rod and spoil the child. I don't know where this idea of entitlement in this generation comes from but they will have to learn that hard work is the key to success.
Good luck sound like you have your hands full. My suggestion would be to get their attention with what they like or interests them then give them the attention they need.

Zach Van Dyke said...

John, you are a good dad.

There is a great book called "The Primal Teen." It's worth checking out.

Congrats on the baby!!!

So glad it's all about grace.


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