December 8, 2022- A chirpy voice uttered a “complimentary” greeting to me, as I was leaving the building. I looked down to see a very short person, looking up at me with a radiant smile. This was either a ruse or a slightly disturbed individual, given the nature of the words-which I will not repeat here. Suffice it to say, a person my age is NOT someone who is usually the recipient of such comments. We both kept walking in opposite directions, and I did not look back; there was no reason to, unless I myself was disturbed. Making a big deal of it would have been evidence of the latter.
My charges and I had just had a good, honest talk, in which I reassured them, especially a young man, that they could opt out of a reportedly graphic information presentation on matters which used to be handled between father and son, or mother and daughter. Both the boy and his female classmates seemed relieved that they did not have to sit through someone else’s idea of valid information. (The individual mentioned above was not part of that class, and was not anyone I had ever seen before.)
We live in an age when there is both honesty about matters of the flesh and gross overkill as to how soon in life someone should make a determination about his/her gender identity and as to who is to help make that determination. (My own position is that no gender change should be made, until a person is at least 18, and then, only when armed with full information on all aspects of such a change,) We live in an age when entire generations have grown up with adulterated food, air and, in many cases, water. We have no clear idea what specific effects the substances, from GMOs to microplastics to heavy metals, have had on human beings and other living things. Hormonal imbalances, along with mental disorders and early onset diseases, may very well be a result of these substances being present.
We also live in an age when there is both free flowing commentary about once private matters and anonymity, in speech, and between even people living in close proximity to one another; sometimes, between people living in the same house. One by-product of these is a plethora of confused and frightened individuals. Thus, the highly intelligent young man who was all too vocal about what he regarded as institutional overkill, in trying to influence his decision-making, which he preferred be a matter between his father and himself,
It is no secret, in this community, and on the pages of this blog, that I love young people very deeply, in the true sense of the word. I recently watched a program, in which one of the characters said, “We safeguard those we love. We keep them from harm, coming from any source.” That has been my modus vivendi, since I was probably 9 years of age. Maybe being the oldest of five children had something to do with it; maybe realizing that life is tough, no matter what age one is, had its influence. In any case, I long ago decided my life’s work would be helping young people safely realize their dreams and to the extent possible, on their own terms. That is how our son was raised, and that is how I advise anyone else.
If I again encounter the child mentioned at the top of this post, my words will be the same as with others: “Walk carefully; speak thoughtfully; live authentically; dream fearlessly.”
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This is how it has to be.
Wise words indeed!
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Thank you, Val!