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I Had Forgotten

September 29, 2012

Having homeschooled our children and having only church teens I”m regularly in contact with, I’ve become sheltered.

My youngest is taking a couple classes at a public high school; ROTC, that’s got to be safe, right, with all that discipline?  Today they did a field trip to Kennedy Space Center and I volunteered to be a chaperon (a free trip to the Cape; who wouldn’t?)

47 public school teenagers.  As we boarded the bus, all the other chaperons were bunched up in the front and middle.  I figured we should be more spaced out, so we went toward the back of the bus.  Clearly, the other chaperons had experience and/or remembered what the back of the bus was like from their own school days.  Why O why didn’t I?

It was horrifying.  I heard the word “gay” at least 500 times (NOT exaggerating; at least 1 per paragraph spoken).  Many more words that slander women as a group and another word that if I said it, I’d have been beaten and left for dead.

The words were different, but the same thing went on when I was a high-schooler, so I’m not judging.  Much.

The individual insecurity expressed in gender put-downs, the sheer lack of respect for authority (kettle calling the pot black, here), and unbridled freedom tempered by quick looks at me to see if I was going to slam down on them.  Couldn’t really, without expecting retaliation on my daughter, so I left it at stopping them from physically hurting each other or girls being physically disrespected against their will (there was a lot of willing disrespect accepted).  Further down the bus, I saw that some girls had learned to defend themselves coarsely, showing survival of the most profane.

Oddly, in some cases, I had difficulty telling boys from girls (someone needs to tell rotund young men with soft features, high hair and feminine earrings that they aren’t doing themselves any favors).

At the park there was a lot of misunderstanding of boundaries, which I blame on parents, but also a lot of examples of sweetness and kindness.

I was horrified to see a mother happily taking pictures of her son grouping his girlfriend in ways not fit for print.  Perhaps she’s making tons of money posting them on the Internet.

Mostly I saw teenagers struggling with the transition to being young men and women through the mental haze of disgusting music.  I suppose our Rock and Roll was equally appalling.  At first I thought to myself, “I was just like them and I turned out sort of okay.”  Then I remembered my encounter with God that forcibly yanked me from the self-destructive path I had been on.

I know what I’ll be praying for, for a long time to come.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2012 5:21 pm

    This is a very informative post, Rob. It also confirms to me that you are a brave man. Great writing!

  2. October 1, 2012 8:10 am

    Let us not forget our forebears:

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
    (Socrates, as reported by Plato, ~400 BCE)

    “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”
    (Hesiod, ~700 BCE)

  3. October 6, 2012 2:41 pm

    I admit I love those quotes. Of course… Rome fell…

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