Sometimes you gotta open your eyes. You get a better understanding that way. I recently had to visit my oldest son's school to complete my parental mandatory volunteer hours. Deion, age 11, is in middle school and the volunteer hours are a prerequisite for attending his theme school. On this day, I was assigned to help out the in the cafeteria. Simple assignment. I had to help clean the tables once the students had finished eating. This was cool because it allowed me to have a seat on the stage and watch the the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I found the next 2 hours to be very interesting. I watched as the kids came in. The cool kids. The nerds. The girls. I was within earshot of the kids as they came in. As I played with my blackberry, I listened to some of their conversations. They ranged from being very silly to very serious. I even heard one 8th grade girl say..."He asked me if he could get some." Wow. These kids are different from when I was a youngin.
Or are they?
I mean, it's a typical theme school. A school of kids from middle to upper middle class black families. Not ONE tough kid in the whole school. LOL. Seriously, I don't think one kid (including Deion) could have survived a week at my middle school. Don't get it twisted, Williams Middle School in Florence, SC (my school) could never be confused with NYC or LA but we were tough. There a lotta soft kids here. Maybe it's because their parents are soft? Then it dawned on me. I forgot. I forgot what it was like to be that age. I can't imagine how it feels to be 11, 12, or 13 yrs old right now. I'll be the first to admit that I'm hard on Deion. I want him to be great at whatever he does. I'm hard on him about his grades because he's an 'A' student. You can't bring no 'C' in my house. Deion's the oldest so he has to set the example for his brothers. That said, I realized everything aint easy for him. He's better off than I was at his age. However, it won't be easy. The world ain't easy. He'll have the same peer pressures that I had. Drugs, sex, cigarettes, alcohol will all be there. I told him the other day about how I had to do my research by using something called an "encyclopedia" but he has the Internet. That makes it easier for him.
Technology is great but you can't lose your creativity. Kids don't know how to MAKE up games to play. They'd rather be in front of a tv than to be outside. Nevertheless, Deion is not in an easy world.
Spending time at the school reminded me that I forgot what it feels like to be a kid again. So the next time he makes me mad, maybe I won't yell at him. Or...maybe I will but I won't yell as loud as I normally do...