Biyernes, Pebrero 20

Child Rearing in these Precariuous Times

“They get what they want,
But they never want it again
Go on take everything,
Take everything you want to...
You should learn to say no.”
-Violet, Hole

I was a crazy kid in high school.

Reminiscing high school life fills me with alternating dread and relief. I was so “socially adept”, it was horrible. At that juncture of my life; I didn’t have much respect for authority. Generally, I lacked respect for anyone. Irreverent, would be a nice-sounding description for it.Thankfully, I did eventually grow out of that phase.

And while I am as irreverent as ever, I have learned to channel my energies better. Call it maturity, call it getting older, call it getting tired…basta napagod ako sa pagiging pasaway.

When those “open party” stories circulated through the blogosphere some time back, I was left reminiscing times past. After sifting through epic proportions of reposts and replies, I now have the basic facts:

A high school kid went to an open party. He danced with a girl. They cam whored. And some time later, the same kid got beat up.

End of facts.

When I look at the incident through my wild child high powered lenses (also known as I thought about it for five minutes…while taking a dump), my reactions were the following (in order of thought process):

-Whut?! OMAYGAD. That’s so appaling. How could these people do this?

-I am never letting my (future) kids parteeeey

-Meh. It’s so epic. And so high school.

-Must get to the bottom of this.

So I made an effort. I sifted through more blogs. I even wrote to the people involved. It was a helluvalot of clicking and googling. Such a Herculean task. But I didn’t want to just repost stuff. I mean, so many people have reposted the beat up kid’s mom’s letter. I didn’t want to join in, repost without verifying.

In short, ang arte ko kasi kaya nag hirap akong magresearch.

After all that investigative journalism, I came up with these conclusions:

  • The kid was beat up at an open party, that much is true. But when it comes to determining which party he went to, confusion abounds. There were two open parties that night.
  • Some people and groups have become whipping boys. Other kids have taken (undeserved) heat for this. Just because they were mentioned in the beat up kid’s mom’s letter.
  • So many people have posted,reposted and reacted to this issue; it has become a case of mass paranoia.
  • People seem to have forgotten that high school kids tend to do stupid things, it’s what they’re supposed to be doing at that point. We “grown ups” should hold ourselves morally accountable to them. And accountability as elders includes being mature enough to keep oneself in check before lashing out on kids. This means that: GROWN UPS SHOULDN’T JUST REPOST WITHOUT CHECKING OUT THE FACTS.
  • And lastly, though justice must and should be served; let us not blow things out of proportion. I will say this again: these are high school kids.

When you think about it, it is not their morality that we should question.It is our own morality that we should question. We should ask ourselves how could we have let this happen? And how could we call ourselves adults if we refuse to see beyond the blame game?

This incident should serve as a wake up call for all of us. It is not a reason for vendetta or prohibition campaigns. It is a call for tolerance and maturity. It is a call for self-examination.

Raising children will be difficult, no matter what decade you happen to be in. When our children get hurt, we naturally want to retaliate. We want to strike back at once. We suffer with our children. We have all the reason to be mad.

But you know what?

When we strike back at those other kids who have hurt our own; WE FORGET THAT THOSE KIDS HAVE LOVING PARENTS TOO. And that these parents can and will be equally hurt by our actions.

Who shall cast the first stone, then? Cast it you may, but remember to look at the dirt on your palms.

Martes, Pebrero 10

The Real World vs. the Realistic World and Other Anomalies

When I was in college, I used to be told by my parents that I would get my shot at independence when I moved out and got a job. Then I would know the hardships of the real world and appreciate how much they sacrificed to give me a good education and stuff.

Luckily (or depends), I had my shot at independence long before I finished college. I did not have to wait to finish my degree to get pushed into the real world. I didn’t need a diploma to know what it was to starve. I made a deal with my parents: let me do my activist stuff and will not ask for money.

Now that I’m working, I’ve moved out and have generally steered clear of my family’s precarious finances; I would like to commemorate this event by listing down the top ten things that set “Icanmakeitonmyown” from “Buymestuffmommeh”.

10. The consequences of waking up late.

Waking up late in college meant two things: not showing up at class and sleeping the day off or two, spending your day’s allowance drinking, lamierdizing (bwahahahaha) or going to random places.

Yuppie stage: waking up late can mean a number of things. It can mean a salary deduction, it can me you were too drunk the night before to remember you had work the next day, it could mean staying late at the office to finish stuff you could have finished if you’d arrived on time or it could me you take a day off and drink more beer.

Being a yuppie will force you to wake up on time. When you are faced with HR personnel from hell, administrators that make hell seem like a peachy place to be and demanding bosses who can make Hitler cry; you have no choice.

Actually you do: you can quit your job.

9. The consequences of being pissed drunk at 6AM.

Being one of the cool kids in college; I had my share of drunken 6AM, 10AM, 3PM and what am pm (?!) moments. As much as I would like to say that I paid dearly for these drunken festivities, in all brutal honesty; I didn’t. And if I did, I may have been too hung over to remember.

When you’re earning your keep, one of the major consequences of being pissed drunk at 6 AM is no. 10’s consequences. That, and you can’t make heads or tails of anything at the office when you come in (if you do).

8. When you want something, you…

Ask your parents to buy it. Whine till they buy it. Or skip lunch for a whole week so you can buy it. Pretty simple, right?

In the real world, you learn that saving money isn’t a suggestion, it’s a must. Especially if you’ve moved away from you parents, saving up and controlling your expenses can be a real challenge. And by challenging, I mean practicing practical consumerism can drive you to tears. No matter how much or little you make, you will always have to save for a rainy day. Corollary to that; this also means that you can’t just splurge on impulse buys, conditioners in pretty containers, sleek gadgets and foodstuff that strike your fancy.

You have no mummy or daddy to “borrow” extra money for “stuffineedpleaseohplease” You will have to bite the bullet and admit that you may be a little too poor for some things.

7. There will always be food when I get home.

One of the most ignored facts of college life: your parents’ pantry. Getting that degree may throw so much shite at you, you’d wish you stayed in high school. But no matter what happens at school you can be sure you’ll be able to wolf down something when you get home.

Not so when you move out.

6. Your college self uses all the household utilities till kingdom come.

You pay the bills now. Enough said.

5. Explaining why you crawled in at 7AM the next day when your class ended at 3PM.

Moving out and being on your own does have its perks. If you’re like me and you live alone in an apartment, you can crawl in at any time of day or night. You have no one to answer to and conversely, no one to be stressed about.

Living alone means that you have to learn to take care of yourself. This also means you will have to know how to get home by yourself.

A lot of college kids take this for granted. Independence entails getting to places on your own. It also means figuring out how to get home when you’re wasted in a place which seems like another country.

End point: no explanations means no stressing. But it also means keeping up with the wide world out there by yourself.

4. Clean up your own mess.

Robert Fulghum one said: “being grown up means scooping the gunk out of the kitchen sink"

Let me tell you this: grown ups should not flinch at the sight of icky stuff. Or at least, should control their flinching. A big part of growing up is having sufficient gag reflex/strength to clean up your own mess.

We shouldn’t expect the following.

-that mommy will do your laundry

-that daddy will help you get a new job

-that you can run home when you run out of food

-that you can hide behind your parents’ influence/money/glamour/fame/personality when you fuck things up.

Growing up is like acknowledging poop. It’s disgusting, it’s hard to ignore but you can be mature and clean up.

3. Buying Furniture

When you move out, don’t bring all your teenage furniture with you. Leave your baggage at your parents’ house. Similarly, leave parental baggage behind. Just like pushing an old, bulky sofa up a flight of stairs: it is simply not worth it.

Buy new furniture. It will teach you the value of not spilling stuff on the upholstery. Something that your mother tried in vain to teach you when you were young.

2. Balance your life.

Balancing your schedule was hard enough in college (with all the parties, tests, parties and more tests). It becomes doubly harder to sort out your professional and personal schedule when you don’t live at home.

Make sure to call mom every week. Moving out isn’t about pushing your parents away. It is giving you and your parents room to grow.

Kung baga, tapos na paghihirap nila sa iyo. Mwahahahaha.

And lastly, independence means having two things: wisdom and freedom.

You are not supposed to be a wild child at this time of your life. You will just have to accept it. Embrace your freedom with some maturity. Make yo momma proud.