this morning my little beautiful thing slept in…til almost 8:30! it isn’t a ‘school day’ so i let her be. but still, worried about her, i checked to listen that she was breathing. i always do this. well into their teens i have crept silently past the doors of my childrens’ rooms to make sure they haven’t died in the night.
yesterday was a bit of a hardship for her. altho she loves playing with her cousins, she is autistic and often has a low level of tolerance for certain aspects of normal childhood play. pretend escapes her, but she loves to make up stories. competitiveness is beyond her ken and nuanced meanness also goes right over her head.
the cousins are public schooled, the only time they get to spend with their mom is weekends and the period between the time they’re picked up from the after-school program and bedtime.. perhaps only two hours at night, while their mom tries to feed them and get them to bed, only an hour in the morning while she tries to feed them and get them to school.
lather, rinse, repeat.
this reality is one shared by not only single moms, but also by many two parent families in this economy. to make ends meet and afford their life (under a roof), the children are shuffled off to pre-school daycare or regular public school for the older ones, while the parents get into their cars and head to whatever ‘wage slave’ jobs they’ve been able to secure.
children of the 1% (i.e. rich fucks) are often not much better off as regards time spent with their parental units. some are shipped off to boarding schools, those that aren’t also attend school, albeit often nice ones, and the parents, who have ‘careers’ to attend to spend just as little time with their progeny as the 99%.
childhood is becoming a thing done alone or with minimal parental input, and it’s beginning to show. in the frequent instances of severe bullying, the gang activity, the way in which the politeness and good manners that were expected of my generation (feigned or not) are all but absent in most young people today.
if a fight breaks out in the school yard, more likely than a good samaritan intervening are a crowd of would-be film-makers brandishing their smartphones over the heads of others, vying for a clear shot of the skirmish, which they will almost immediately upload to facebook and youtube. in my day, someone would try to break it up, and others would be pulling the combatants off of one another.
there’s hate-speech, bullying and bigotry roaming the school hallways. often a serious student must struggle to learn in an environment that is rife with violence and bereft of adequate adult supervision. schools don’t pay teachers well enough nor is their time for them to embue our kids with morals and values that should’ve been learned at home. with often 34 or more kids per teacher and classroom, it’s hard enough just to get through the curriculum.
i could provide many more instances of the ways in which modern life has shortchanged our children. the television baby-sitting them, the texting that replaces communication. it goes on and on.
are the kids alright?
i don’t know.
there seems to be a difference between those children fortunate enough to have more ‘face time’ with their parents…grandparents or other adult tasked with raising them. the jiminy cricket effect. they seem to have been at the very least introduced to a conscience; to life lessons that have less to do with arithmetic than with a right path, less of reading words and more of reading situations and knowing the appropriate response.
it is lucky for ziona and i that we are able to homeschool. not just because her autism would present special issues that schools haven’t provided for, not just because she is transgender and would likely be bullied, perhaps even to death (by suicide) as some have been. but because by having so much time together the values passed down to me by my mother, are rubbing off on her. and it’s a good thing. (my mother’s heart is a beautiful thing)
a while back there was a movie called “pay it forward”. a wonderful moral-of-the-story type venture that depicted a very special boy and his choice for a school project: his idea involved helping others with only the caveat that they ‘pass it on’. in other words help someone else. (i highly recommend this movie, by the way)
i think that as parents our special project is to pass on values, morals and rules that will help not only our children but all of society by extension. it isn’t easy to carve out chunks of time to be with our kids these days. but if we don’t ‘rub off’ on them, someone else will…and that might not be so good.