A few weeks ago, I watched My Lamb in a play. She’s an excellent actress. I believed she got the tar beat out of her by her senior high boyfriend. Oh, did I not mention the subject matter? Teen dating violence. Not the most comfortable way to spend 45 minutes of my life, btw, watching simulated knock-down-drag-outs between high-schoolers involved in inappropriate relationships.
Put me in mind of the time I volunteered to judge a public high school forensics debate. The 8 AM offering of that Saturday’s dramatic reading was about a straight man’s homosexual lover dying of HIV AIDS. It was followed by stories of a Chernobyl survivor, a man dying of cancer and one humorous treatment of insurance fraud. Yeah, whatever happened to cartoons on Saturday morning?
Am I that sheltered? Is this how today’s young people spend their time? Getting beaten up by boyfriends and reading books about HIV AIDS? Apparently, I am that sheltered. Listening to the crowd at the play (we had a debriefing afterwards, with a real live psychologist ), every child involved with that play was someone or knew someone who had been victimized in such a way. These were children from different schools, if you’re wondering.
The play before My Lamb’s first dramatic non-ditz role involved school bullying. A one-two punch, so to speak. The common denominator with these two plays (other than the author)?
Lack of parental involvement.
One play did have a mom, who tried to help her daughter behave well, but obviously didn’t know how and sort of gave up halfway through. The other mentioned parents peripherally as people who were working or dealing with their own abusive relationships or out of town and had to be called when their little girl finally found the courage (with the help of her also sophomore-aged girl friend) to leave the abusive relationship.
Here’s my takeaway from the experience, and I can promise you it wasn’t the “learn to love and care for yourself” message the author intended.
Humans need training.
People aren’t alligators. Or ducks. They don’t pop out of their shells already knowing everything they need to know to survive. If they did, they’d grow up faster and move out sooner.
Humans take 18 years (some would say more) to mature into adults. During that time, their parents – the adults – are supposed to be teaching them everything they need to know to be human. This includes how to behave like humans in groups, how to behave like humans in private and how to behave like humans in general.
When parents are continuously absent, for whatever reason, children don’t learn these things. They certainly don’t learn them from other children. Instead of becoming human, they become confused, spiteful, abusive monsters. Unfortunately, this can happen under the watchful eye of some parents, too, but most parents do a passable job of teaching little humans the best way to be big humans, if they take the time and effort. Teaching does require both.
For my readers who are parents, know this: you have the most important job in the world – training up the next generation of humans. Please take it seriously.
“Cause they’ll choose all our nursing homes.
“Hear, O Israel, The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:4-7 NIV
May God bless the reading of His Word.