Quick, Not Dead

8

May 25, 2017, Prescott-

The verdict came, this afternoon.

As I expected, the complex position,

with multiple  and conflicting levels of supervision,

was judged not a good fit for me.

I will most likely work with teens, next academic year.

Adolescents have indeed been a better fit for me, over the years,

whenever discipline was part of the job.

Reason is important to me,

and I see childhood as not a time

for confusion or conflicting expectations.

Teens can reason with the unreasonable;

so can I, when they are unreasonable, themselves.

We will come upon a time,

when the children we call “indigo”

will have more on their plates,

decision-wise,

than their still forming minds

can handle.

For now, though,

whoever takes my place,

with the little ones,

will need to temper

the skill set of external control,

with a truly loving heart.

As for me, I am among the quickened.

No one in the head office wants me

professionally dead.

I will go on working.

Seen, Heard, Believed

2

May 4, 2017, Prescott- 

My kids value being greeted at the bus

each school day.

It actually hurts their feelings,

if circumstances get in the way

of this happening.

They tell me things that go on

at home, around the neighbourhoods,

just like my other kids did,

back in the day.

There is this thing

called eye contact,

undivided attention,

heart connection.

There is this thing

where they matter,

more than the rules

of “Boys Town”,

more than Policy.

There is this thing

where I see them

down the road,

in a few years.

There is this thing,

where I tell each

of them,

that a bright future

lies ahead.

There is this thing,

where I tell them,

that the only one

keeping the door locked,

ultimately,

is themselves.

I’ve said it before,

“seen and not heard”

is a heinous lie.

Whoever coined that phrase

is guilty

of crimes

against humanity.

There is a child,

whom I’ve never met,

who was molested,

a few years back.

I read of her family’s struggles,

trying to deal with

something they don’t understand.

They want it to go away.

Sexual abuse,

like any other loss,

never goes away,

entirely.

Whoever said “seen and not heard”,

is a secondary monster,

extending the pain

inflicted on the child,

by the primary perpetrator.

Victims:

Be seen, heard and believed.

 

Conversation

4

April 20, 2017, Prescott-

Boy:  “You’re old!”

I:  “True, that.”

Boy:  “You have no friends.”

I:  “Actually, I do.  One is very special to me.  Many others are also in my heart.”

Boy:   “No one has friends, so that’s a lie.”

I:  ” Well, I have friends.”

Boy:  “Pants on fire!”

I:  “Her name is _____”.

Boy:  “She doesn’t exist.”

I:  “She would beg to differ.”

Boy:  “People treat ME, like I don’t exist.”

I:  “You very much exist, to me.”

Boy:  “Well, no one likes you, or me.”

I:  ” That’s sad to know.”

Boss:  “Alright, you two.  Quiet in there!”

I:  Silence

Boy:  ” See what I mean.  She would rather we don’t exist.”

I:  “No.  You just need to follow rules.”

Boy:  “I’ll never follow rules, ever!”

I:  Silence

Second boss:  “_______, sit against that wall for one minute, then come out.”

Boy: (After five minutes of not sitting against the wall:  “Let me out, so I can do what the first teacher said.”

I:  “Certainly.  Go clean up your mess.”

Boy:  Goes and cleans mess.

Second boss:  “Hey!  You didn’t follow MY instruction!!”

I:  ” Look at what he’s actually doing.  Let’s choose our battles.”

Second boss: “We’ll have this conversation later.”  (Leaves room in a huff.)

Boss, to boy:  “Welcome back, _______!  Thank you for following instructions.”

I:   “Let’s follow the rest of the plan.”

Boy:  “Okay, Mr. B.  Thank you for putting up with me.”

(The above is an altered version of a tale out of school, indicating what is wrong with both the education system and the American concept of hierarchy. The biggest lie ever told is “Children should be seen and not heard.”)

The Last Resort, and Ignorance

4

April 13, 2017, Prescott-

A boy kicked his “best friend”, in a fit of rage.

The “best friend” is a girl.

I told her to never, ever again

accept such behavior from any boy,

or man, or man-child.

She agreed, wholeheartedly,

and he is now short one friend.

People have no business,

settling their affairs with violence.

This is true for men vs. men,

women vs. women,

women vs. men,

adults vs. children.

Harm is always foul.

No person, on earth,

need pretend that business is usual,

even after having turned the other cheek.

Either issues are addressed,

and amends are made,

by the perpetrator,

or the perp goes on, alone.

Changes are made,

by the aggressor,

or the oaf does without.

I have never struck a girl,

or woman, least of all, in anger.

I own my mistakes, though,

and have left the person

whose feelings I hurt,

as alone as she has wanted.

My son was raised,

to never strike a girl,

or woman.

To that end, he has

remained a gentleman.

To that end,

I hold myself,

accountable.

 

Lessons from Little League

4

April 10, 2017, Prescott- 

One of my students asked me to attend his Little League team’s game, this evening.  Having no appointments or meetings, I eagerly headed over to Roughrider Park, the Prescott League’s primary venue.   It was carved from Fort Whipple, many years ago, along with Prescott VA Hospital and Yavapai College.

Team sports teach children several skills.  Some are obvious, like looking out for one’s teammates, decency towards one’s opponents, the value of practice and accepting constructive criticism.  Other lessons, such as everyone has something to contribute and there is no task too menial for a team member to perform, are less front and center- and sometimes must be sought out.

It’s been several years since I watched 8-10 year-old children in the course of learning these types of lessons, in an athletic setting.  Some things have changed:  Adults are not necessarily the only umpires.  Men are not necessarily the only coaches and managers.  The opposing team was managed by a woman.  Each team had at least one girl player, and each girl held her own.  Proves what I have felt to be true, since junior high school:  Skill is skill.

The basics, though, remain constant, and baseball will remain a key pastime of youth, for a good many generations to come.

Peter Rabbit’s House

6

April 7, 2017, Prescott- 

There they were, the day before  the  first demon came,

living in beautiful anticipation

of the joy that is equal parts sacred and secular.

On the day before the first demon came,

a little boy took his father’s hand

and went to call, at Peter Rabbit’s House.

There was where they both went to dream.

On the day that the first demon came,

young friends mused, about just how

amazing that Christmas would be.

On the day the first demon came,

a grandfather started his day,

sitting in his own house of dreams,

and looked out on the school,

across the street.

Then the first demon came,

the little dreamers fell,

along with some

of their protectors.

The first demon died,

of his own hand.

Some other little dreamers

ran to the grandfather,

who took them in,

on the day the first demon came.

Other demons came,

in his wake,

threatening the grandfather,

and the families,

of the fallen little dreamers.

They always come in packs,

these demons,

even though they claim

to not know one another.

We, though, know who they are.

We, who love our little dreamers,

will stand for them,

and the packs of demons,

will fall by the wayside,

far from Peter Rabbit’s House.

( This is inspired by viewing the film, “Newtown”)

 

Not Like Animals

8

April 6, 2017, Prescott-

On the television series, Chicago PD, Intelligence Sergeant Hank Voigt loves his people- family annd fellow detectives alike.  The show frequently addresses misuse of power, both by police and by miscreants.  Among the latter group’s most common misuses of power is rape.  Last night’s episode addressed the neurotic means to power, of the rapist.  As Sergeant Voigt inferred, his people don’t act like animals.

While it was playing, on network TV, seventy five of us, at the main campus of Yavapai College, were gathered to hear the testimony of a dozen women, and one man, who had suffered sexual assault and domestic violence.  They suffered at the hands of those whom they should have been able to trust:  Their fathers, husbands, siblings’ friends, step-parents.  Some got no support from their mothers, siblings, “close friends”, even counselors.

I have, as many of you know, been a counselor, at three different schools in this state.  I have seen all manner of human brutality, and have seen the best of human kindness. Strong women and girls have come to me for assistance,I believe them-then and now, and I have had their backs.  Caring boys and men have pitched in, and helped.  Then, there are the depraved, of both genders, whom I have helped put away.  One case, in particular, stands out: A well-connected individual violated a child, was arrested, and got some of his friends and neighbours to try to impugn my character.  He was tried and convicted, his friends found themselves dispersed, by the government agency which employed them (through no action on my part, by the way), and I continued to work at the school for several more years.

The thing is, as a good friend said recently, men and women need each other.  I have many women friends, of all ages, ethnicities, physical characteristics and marital statuses.  To my mind and in my heart, they, and the men who love them most, are family.  If anything happens to them, their husbands/boyfriends, children or grandchildren, it’s as if it has happened to one of my biological family members.  This goes double for my schoolchildren, but that is a whole other ball of wax, given the protocol under which I work.

People who beat others, devalue others, torment others, have a mindset in which control is paramount.  Co-operation, in their twisted view, exists only for the purpose of accomplishing their agenda.  This is largely the province of men, though I know of several women who have followed the same path.  Little by little, case by case, their victims are stepping forward.  They are learning strength, they are learning to speak out, to walk away and to heal.

In this heart, and in many others, they are loved.

Khan Sheikoun

2

April 5, 2017,Prescott-

Gas flowed silently.

Children stopped moving.

Leaders ducked down.

(This is in reference to the poison gas attack that killed at least 74 people, nearly half of whom were women and children, in the Syrian village whose name gave title to this verse.  There are those on the Alt-Right, in this country, who have stated they’d like to see immigrant children killed here, as well.  Shame and disgust will follow those black-hearts.)

Wild and Woolly

7

April 3, 2017, Prescott-  Things were relatively tame at work, today.  The wild child was determined he wouldn’t be a nuisance to me, and did his absolute best to focus on his learning.  Supervisor A was reasonable and co-operative, saying that the next eight weeks need to see us all united, as a team.  These were both welcome preludes, to what I intend to be a successful end of the academic year.

Mother Nature sent Prescott a whopper, this evening.  As I began walking downtown, an intense microburst swept through, with the high winds knocking down tree limbs and a brief, heavy rain coming down, just as a planned conference call was coming in, (guess what didn’t happen), and I was stepping inside Marino’s Mob Burger.  Dinner was lovely ( zuppa avgolemono, with pita slices), and I was able to wait out the worst of the rain.  Walking over to Sprouts, and along my favourite backstreet, on the way home, I felt safe and composed again, despite the light, cold rain.

It doesn’t take much to keep me happy, in reality.