Among the Indigo

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April 30, 2021- The small girl spoke with a voice that was quiet, but full of thunder: “Don’t!”. Few people in my life, up to now, have shown the quiet determination to stand their ground and speak truth to power, at such a young age. She was not only speaking to me, but to several of her classmates, making it clear that the revelation she had just made about herself was the outcome of measured, long-considered self-evaluation.

For my part, everything within me said: “Abide this”. I had responded to her sharing with a standard concern, one that she had obviously heard several times before. The same concern came out of the mouths of her classmates. The notion of prolonged innocence is pretty well-embedded in our psyches.

Times, though, are bringing about a different, much earlier maturity-one that actually hearkens back to a pre-industrial past, while at the same time pointing to the evolving future of the human race. There is emerging a period of time, in early adolescence, when a person is examining feelings as to who attracts them, what it might mean for the short term, whilst recognizing that those feelings may very well change, over time. The person is definite about one thing: This is their life, and the number of people who get to weigh in on it is very much limited. Everyone else will be told, in terms that are, at least initially, respectful, but no less forceful.

I was in the presence of an indigo, someone fairly born with a sense of mission, a clarity of purpose. She is no less mirthful, spunky and mischievous than others her age, but in the quiet times when she ponders life, there is little confusion. All an indigo person needs from others is a respectfully listening ear and acknowledgement of the better angels of their nature. In turn, each of us gets to summon the better angels of our own nature. The appreciation of a child as an evolving, complete human being has never been more critical. We remain in good hands.

The Road to 65, Mile 335: Sound and Fury

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October 29, 2015, Chino Valley- The child’s piercing shriek rattled few nerves this afternoon, coming as it did in counterpoint to the pounding rain and hail that visited our school’s roofs.  Her plaint was due to the toppling of some cans of food that she had carefully stacked, in the back of our room, when her classmates went back there to place their Scholastic News copies in their mailboxes.  (We are collecting donations for the needy.)

The girl’s disability leads to these sorts of incidents, on occasion.  On a more regular basis, the innocence and lack of life experience of my eight-and-nine-year-olds bring into play the sorts of events that remind me why I stick with this enterprise called education.  There are many moments of delight and small victory.  There are many moments of hair-pulling (figuratively speaking) and exasperation.    It’s a lot like parenting, or marriage, in that regard.

I had only a few tasks which I needed the kids to finish.  At one point I had to raise my voice, for only the second time in three weeks, when their personal concerns of the moment got in the way of schooling.  I don’t enjoy that part of the deal, and so I keep the roar relatively dull, and infrequent. Nature’s roar, though, was a lot more discomfiting to the children, being less predictable and far less sensitive to little hearts and minds.

In the end, the rain subsided enough for me to get the kids to their parents (We have no school bus driver, and therefore, all students are met by at least one adult family member.) The disabled child was wrapped in her mother’s arms, and another girl, who had gone on a small group field trip, proudly showed me the 20-pound pumpkin she had won.

Tomorrow, I will visit the Arizona Department of Education, in Phoenix, and if my son’s plans coincide, I may stay down there, as a Halloween party is on tap there, on Saturday night.  The sound and fury of this afternoon will have moved on, to New Mexico and Colorado, then to the Mississippi Valley, in time for some frightful scenes on All Hallows Eve.

The Road to 65, Mile 124: Stuff and Nonsense

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April 1, 2015, Prescott-  I spent the day with Second-Graders, enjoying the silliness of April Foolery, at the elementary level:  “Look, your shoes are untied”  So much innocence, and underlying trust that things are basically okay, fuel the basic sense of relaxed fun.

It doesn’t last, and more’s the pity.  I fielded a phone call from my landlord, who lives in another state.  He learned of my client’s lingering presence on our compound, and gently-for now- expects me to bring the situation to a close.  I gave my client two more days to move along.  My eviction is neither a joke, nor an option.

His reaction was predictable, and after finding him a motel room, in lieu of his sleeping under the stars, in a forest not far from here, I formulated a plan to keep his belongings safe, should he revert to a passive- aggressive abandonment of them.  That may well be how the situation “ends”.

That’s the thing about endings; they are usually hiatuses, breathers that are designed to give the tormented soul a chance to regroup his/her thinking, in light of a reality that is hard to comprehend.  Here’s the rub, with my client:  He was never really parented.  Raising oneself, even in the rather tame world of the 1950’s, leaves lots of gaps.  One only learns to consider others if one has a mother and/or father, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, who is modeling such relative selflessness.

So, I would find room in my storage closet outside, for the dozen or so boxes he has organized, and when he, or his adult children, show up to collect them, the stuff and nonsense that have played out over the past four months will have not caused any harm.