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Hey Kids, Your Lives Stink

By The Cynic



After hearing about more school shootings and the ensuing outrage I am coming to the belief that I would hate to be a kid growing up these days.

Yes, I am probably remembering my childhood more fondly than it actually was, but I do have to wonder what kind of society kids are looking at today.

Things seem so much different now.

When I was a little brat growing up in the suburbs in the 70s, Mom was always home. I mean always.  She was there to kiss every bump and scrape, and she was there to whip my ass into shape when I started acting like a little jerk (I say that figuratively, because Mom and Dad never hit me....although they probably should have). The TV was only on with permission. Friends could only come over only after I finished my chores. If I wanted the newest toy or game the answer was always the same: "Maybe for your birthday."

When it came time for school, I had this belief that my teachers and my parents were conspiring to make my life miserable.  It was a cooperative effort to keep me in line. Any punishment I received at school was followed up by a worse punishment at home. Oh, the oppressiveness of childhood.

It seems that today, kids don't receive that type of consistency.

From the moment they can turn the TV on they are bombarded with advertisements for everything from Tinky Winkie's Ice Cream Parlor to the ever popular Tickle-me-Castro dolls. Where are Mom and Dad when the kids are being marketed to? Why they are both at work, because they have this idea that they must attain the same standard of living at age 27, that their parents have at 55 (I am just as guilty of this as anyone).

Kids aren't even home during the day anymore. They are now at day care. This is where they are one of 16 little snot infested ankle biters being rounded up by a 'rent-a-parent' who makes a little more than minimum wage to raise them for 9 hours. Mom picks them up at 5:00 and takes them home...only to rush a quick meal of Hamburger Helper into them and hope to have enough time to play with them and maybe read a bedtime story. Because of the pervasive parental guilt, discipline becomes an afterthought and to compensate for this guilt little Susie not only gets that Tickle-me-Castro doll she also gets the Socialized Medicine Play Doctor accessory kit to go along with it.

When it comes time for school they are immediately told from the time they enter the building that they are special (special? I always thought special meant you rode the short bus to school). This false sense of accomplishment is put into every child's head from the Kindergarten until they graduate from college. To me, Albert Einstein is special, Stephen Hawking is special....hell, these kids haven't even mastered the art of shoe tying and they are being told they are special. Ugh.

It's all downhill from there.

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Aside from all the self-esteem indoctrination, schools have a problem with the concept of discipline. Whether it be from a general civil mistrust, or just plain lazy parenting, teachers have lost their ability to dictate how their classes are run. They have an all or nothing approach to discipline. If a kid draws a picture of a raygun...immediate suspension. If a kid fails to shut up during class...Ritalin. If some kids start a riot during a football game...they get Jesse Jackson to come to the rescue to avoid punishment.  

When I was a youngin' (boy, that sounded like my Dad), I was always told the my teachers have the same authority as Mom and Dad when I am at school. Recently, a teacher was given a leave of absence for, now get this, putting tape on the mouth of a disruptive student. The parents demanded the teacher be fired. Come on people, this was an everyday occurrence in my school just 20 short years ago. Your kid is being an a-hole, the teacher treated him as such. How about doing more to make your kid less of an a-hole, and leave the teacher be? Had I come home complaining about a teacher using tape to shut me up my Dad would have said...."Maybe I should try that at home."

So we have parents too guilty to discipline and teachers unable to discipline and your little angel goes to high school. High school is where these kids learn that this whole 'special' garbage is a bunch of, well, garbage. They realize that there is a very good chance that they are ordinary. Maybe even worse, they may realize that they are an outsider. Other kids sense this. He gets picked on. Maybe his clothes are stolen out of his gym locker. Maybe he is teased in front of girls. He is being bullied.

So what do we do about the bullies? Well, because they haven't mentioned the words gun or kill they are almost immune from suspension. If you were to suspend these little jerks, their parents would be in there with their lawyers threatening to sue for emotional damages. The school's hands are tied. The parents are either at work or busy catching up on the chores and bill paying that they were unable to do because they were at work. So the bullying continues.

So this kid feels like a loser. He is harassed and has no recourse. The school can't help him and his parents aren't home to give guidance. He begins to feel out of options. He locates a gun and takes care of the matter himself.

And somehow we are surprised.

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