Helping Real Kids in Their Real Lives, Right Now

27 10 2010

This teen reporter underlines a key point as we try to help all kids, not just those bullied at school — that their real lives are right now. Today matters utterly.

Dear Husband and I both were the oldest children in our families, and both my parents were firstborn as well. Talk about delayed gratification! — we were masters.

Fortunately for my own children, I was able to change or grow out of this mindset or learn its limitations at least, after the painful epiphany of losing both my parents much too young. I saw the gratification they’d so conscientiously delayed and delayed, denied to them forever . . .if you’re a Thinking Parent, that really makes you appreciate the people you love and the life you can live fully with them NOW.

Sayre Quevedo, 17, is a reporter with Youth Radio, a youth-driven production company based in Oakland:

I love the “It Gets Better” videos as much as the next gay kid. But I worry that the campaign makes it seem as if gay teenagers need to stow away in a time capsule until adulthood, when we can feel fulfilled and safe.

. . .I don’t think we should have to wait to live happily. . . Kids don’t change because we realize we’re gay. Our opportunities to be happy shouldn’t either.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a gay issue or a girl issue or about sex at all. Upper-crust universities have bullies. They just tend to make it about money as power instead of sex as power (well, except for the Duke Lacrosse guys who one might reasonably observe, combine both and don’t ever defer or deny gratification!)

By the end of the month, only a handful of students hadn’t given.

. . .”There was a huge push,” she says, which included knocking on the doors of those who had not yet donated. The student interns who ran the drive encouraged volunteers to ask about a student’s personal reasons for not giving but to accept no as a final answer.

With 24 hours left, there were, serendipitously, just 24 students who had not donated. One volunteer, an honors student in sociology, sent out a list of those students’ names via BlitzMail that was passed along to many people.

Candais Crivello was on that list. A former fund raiser for Dartmouth’s annual fund, she was surprised that some of the tactics her peers were using . . . In the end, the lone holdout was Laura DeLorenzo, a physics and astronomy major. Her decision not to donate was criticized in The Dartmouth, the college newspaper, by Zachary Gottlieb, a former president of the Interfraternity Council.

“You have symbolically shown the Class of 2014 that you do not consider their chance at happiness valuable,” he wrote, not naming Ms. DeLorenzo. The day after his column ran, someone using the pseudonym Arnold Tungsten published Ms. DeLorenzo’s name and photo on a popular Dartmouth student site, the Little Green Blog, along with his own sentiments about the matter: “You’re not even worth the one measly dollar that you wouldn’t give.”

Both writers were especially concerned that Dartmouth would lose the $100,000 gift from the Class of 1960 [contingent on 100% senior participation].

. . .”My decision not to donate to Dartmouth reflects my personal conclusion that the negative aspects of Dartmouth outweigh the positive, and nothing more,” she wrote, stressing that donating money was a personal choice. “I resent the pressure that was applied to me as an individual . . .

[Other students agreed after the fact] “Would I have given without the pressure? Probably not.”
Another comment said: “You have made it nearly the equivalent of a tax, so it no longer means very much.”

Social pressure to conform with the crowd or suffer, is a highly flammable mix. Douse any individual with it while ringed by a mob, and we know someone WILL throw that first match. Grown-ups in charge of “education” know this is true yet they focus on money as power while preaching delayed gratification to its student victims, perhaps because the blame and social pressure they fear most comes from bullies wielding greater power outside education?

It’s time to ask the right questions and educate ourselves now, to figure this stuff out now and act now, to make lives better NOW. Thus the future can take better care of our kids as it becomes the new now, and the kids will take better care of that future, because both will be better. Better than bullying at least, but think how excellent the future might be if we also help them grow up to be better than letting kids learn that now doesn’t belong to them, that now is never their time to be happy and free and fully human.



3 responses

27 10 2010

So those who have the power and responsibility to protect and serve, cash in instead.

Example: if you can’t care about this, you don’t deserve any power over any child’s life:

Above the river, Dominican border guards, soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers are tasked with keeping the peace and preventing this human trafficking via the river and bridge that links both nations. None of them react.

It took the young smuggler less than five minutes to ferry the children into the Dominican Republic, an easy, well-timed and completely illegal maneuver that repeats again and again on what is supposed to be the most surveilled border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“It’s a game,” said Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, readily acknowledging to The Herald that smuggling is an economic driver between both countries. “A lot of people are trafficking. They make money. Everyone along the frontier is benefiting. It’s the sole source of revenues. And everyone accepts it like that.”

27 10 2010
Mrs. C

I’ve heard the same reasoning as above on the issue of child brides from people who are overseas. I cannot imagine having to go through something like this, or any of our children having to go through it. Maybe we are just so outside that sort of desperation that we can’t possibly get it.

28 10 2010

No, I get a parent’s desperation very easily. I don’t easily forgive exploiting it though, or at all.

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