I learned yesterday that the term “pork barrell politics” means a political decision that will benefit a particular politician’s constituency while the cost is borne by all. Sound familiar?
See? I am already learning things in my new course.
On another note, I am reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, which is raising all sorts of interesting ethical questions for me, as her books usually do. It’s about a boy who is bullied mercilessly all his life, who walks into his high school one morning and shoots it up, killing students and teachers. It’s told from the perspective of the boy’s mother, a popular girl who used to be his friend, and the girl’s mother. It’s giving me a little insight into being the parent of a teenager in this day and age, which seems, I must be honest, a lot different than when I was that age.
I don’t remember ever caring if I was one of the popular kids (I wasn’t). I never worried about peer pressure or being bullied (I wasn’t). Maybe I was one of the lucky ones who was never affected by either, or maybe Ms. Picoult has used a little literary license to make her character more sympathetic. Either way, even in my own kids, I have rarely had an inkling that the bullying she describes is happening, either to or by my kids. I have been told by other families that their children have had some rough times at the hands of other kids, but not much beyond that. Are we lucky? Is the book fiction? Or is there a little time bomb waiting to go off in our school too?
Either way, I’d like to think I would know if my kids were involved on either end of torment.
Now this is all a segue into a little conversation I had with Aimee this morning which probably would have been utterly insignificant if I hadn’t been reading this book. Aimee starts school choir today, which is comprised of kids from all schools in the division. She needs to be dropped off at another school for practice this evening. I received a call this morning from the choir director asking if I would be willing to take another kid from Aimee’s school as well, since he doesn’t have a ride. I agreed. When I got off the phone, I told Aimee what I had agreed to. For the tiniest moment, a look like I-can’t-believe-you-did-that-how-could-you? crossed her face. Oh, no, I thought. She’s thinking no one at school will ever speak to her again if she’s seen with this kid.
“Is there a problem?” I asked, trying not to sound defensive.
She thought for half a second, and said, “No”, and continued on with her morning, monologuing her plans to connect with this kid and meet me outside the school at 3:30. There was really no problem. Jack seemed to have no opinion either way.
It might be that stuff other kids say just doesn’t bother her, or maybe she is truly a kind girl at heart. Hopefully she’s both – strong enough to withstand pressure and kind enough to know the right thing to do. In any case, I hear that her kids her age, especially girls, start getting really nasty to each other. I’m watching for it, but so far I don’t see it. Hopefully if I do, we will be able to nip it in the bud.
I understand kids need to try out personas to find out what fits, but I feel sorry for those kids who latch onto people and identities that are not good for them. Makes you a little nervous as a parent – how easily they can tip over to destructive behaviours just to feel connected.
Makes me want to quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom some days.