December 12, 2016

The World I Imagine

I spent a lot of my day trying to figure out how to help young boys learn how to be their true selves and be nicer to each other, seeing that their natural tendency, for some reason, is to build a wall around themselves and act like assholes.

Making fun of those who are different or smaller or weaker or weirder than you is such typical pre-teen male behavior, but that doesn't make it any less a cop-out. As an educator I'm constantly reminding myself that these bullying kids are just young children too, who have their own issues- as I try to untangle the issue from the kid and the behavior from its damage, I can’t help but think of the same behavior I see in adults.

I have said it many times before- working with young boys to learn how to be open-minded, fearless, kind young men is some of the most crucial work that we do as educators.

I am not saying that there aren’t very similar pecking-order issues with the girls, and that they don’t have their own set of problems, but learning how to navigate the build-up of a testosterone fueled alpha-male world is a project I have been grappling with since I was picked on for being small and weird and different.

Saw this today on Twitter:

We have been instructed to disbelieve the news, the gov't, the scientists, and the academics. But we're supposed to believe in America?

The world I imagine, the world I have been working toward my whole life, feels so distant these days. It is getting smaller and farther away and harder to achieve, but I must have faith that this is the world that we have been promised.

I have not spent my entire life committed to education, I have not spent my entire life reading books about peace and justice and love and art, and watching films about diversity and race and class and poverty, I have not joined organizations and NGOs dedicated to peace, I did not join Peace Crop, teach in The Bronx, join The International Socialist Organization, and march in the streets, and teach for fifteen years, just to watch it all get pissed away by some two-bit snake-oil salesmen and his gang of thugs and billionaires.

Some nights, I need these little pep-talks- soft gentle wisps of breaths on the embers of the fire in my heart to get it going again. I have seen a few flames here and there. I know it has not gone out completely, because it keeps me warm and the glow shows me that I am not alone in the darkness, but the flames still need fanning.

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