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Posts Tagged ‘raising’

We have taken on a roll that many adults now hold, and that is grandparents who become parents to their grandchildren, as well as taking care of their own parent.  It is one thing to raise a child from birth, or a young age, and it is another thing to take on a teenager.  I mean, come on guys, the world is WAY different now than it was when I was a teen. 

 

The deal with these guys is their previous upbringing, or lack thereof.  There was a big focus on being obedient and saying “Yes, Sir” and “No, Ma’am.”   While, we feel it is more important to have respect and give respect than it is to say meaningless words that you are beat for, if you do not say them. 

 

The boys did have varying degrees of influence from us.  They were with us, for their first: nine years, six years, and three years respectively.  The youngest does not remember living with us at all.  The oldest made a fluid transition to our home.  He did not make a fluid transition to school.  He once did a whole semester of homework, without ever turning it in to the teacher.  This is something only a homeschooled boy would do; or an idiot.  And, he is not an idiot.  We found out about it because we had four teachers tell us, at his first public school conference, that he was a genius.  I could only look down at the F’s across the page and ask “Why this, then?”  Not turning in homework will make even a genius fail. 

 

What worries me is the lack of “love of knowledge and education.”   It was more important in their stepfather’s home, to fear than to love.  Fear Stepfather’s belt and retribution, fear (for girls) of not wearing prairie dresses and head coverings.  Fear of the word “Foolishness.”  That last one is because it means the “rod of correction” is going to beat it out of you when your grandparent’s leave. 

 

These three are safe now and have varying degrees of success.  They do not know how to judge people, as their past experiences consisted only in friends like themselves.  Which consisted of other ultra conservative Christian home schooled children who are protected from the world out there by paranoid parents.  So, we are now locking our doors and covering our windows so the Bi-Polar ex-girlfriend of EMT will leave us alone, perhaps proving that it is not so bad to be paranoid.  But, it is not a good way to live.  He trusts everyone and is friends to everyone, even someone who is in need of commitment (even her mother says so at this point). 

 

I do not understand why these parents, who isolate their children from modern society, do not realize that their children must go out and live in the world we all live in and if you do not provide a child with the tools to recognize and understand that world, that they will have a hard time getting along in it.

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I gave birth to two daughters.  I watched them grow and marry and have children and I am here to tell you.  Raising girls is WAYYYY different then raising boys. 

 

I did not give birth to these boys but they lived with me for nine, six and three years before their mother’s second marriage.  Then, I spent an average of three days a week in their home or they in mine.  The oldest, Gaffer, moved in when he was a freshman in high school and he will be twenty-two, in November.  The middle, EMT boy, is nineteen and JRockGuitarMan is sixteen.  These last two have lived with me for the last three years.

 

The big concern for girls seems to be their hair and their butts; and the respective size of each.  Boys: the big concern is more varied.  Shirt sleeves are a big concern.  It is amazing how much time a boy, in Brown County, can take rolling up and down a t-shirt sleeve.  We do, sad to say, live in a rather red-neck county. 

 

I know this because, periodically I have to remind JRockGuitarMan that he does not have a southern accent and that “ya’all” is, in fact, not a word.  Try calling his cell phone and you will think that Randy Travis is answering; with a hint of twang to it.  The boy was born in northwest Indiana and raised in Wyoming, but three years of Brown County takes over.

 

My brother, David VanVleck, was six years older than me.  He read books, listened to music with headphones on and played the clarinet.  He was quiet; unless he was complaining that I was not rinsing the dishes good enough.  This is not the norm with these boys.  They are anything but quiet.  I have stopped sword fights and wrestling in the front room.  If I pull in the drive, and only the boys are home, I can hear the stereo vibrating the neighbor’s windows. 

 

I think that girls are a bit more consistent too.  EMT boy has had his ear pierced three separate times, Gaffer, at least twice.  They decide to let it seal up and then redo it.  Is this some ritual to prove you can endure pain?  Girls are smart enough to do it and keep it.  Why go through that again?  Then, there is the tattoo.  EMT boy designed a fireman tattoo and has had it touched up once.  JRockGuitarMan, who hates needles with a passion, periodically discusses getting a tattoo.  I’m not sure he totally believes how many needle sticks are involved in the process.

 

Then, there is the military.  Gaffer will never let them get their hands on him.  EMT boy dresses military, goes out to Camp Atterbury and challenges them to the obstacle course and wins.  Wins “cool” military posters at school by doing more push-ups than anyone; but until yesterday, he was never entering the military.  I understand this, however, he has found out how much money they will pay him to get his RN.  He does not like debt. 

 

Now, JRockGuitarMan is talking military.  He, like Gaffer, has an aversion to homework and some idiot in Brown County, told him that he could quit school, get his GED and join the military.  He has visions of being Special Forces.  He was informed, yesterday, that if he drops out (in his continuing effort to avoid homework) that he will have to get sixty credit hours at the local college before they will take him.  Opppss!! That did not work out so well for him, now did it?  And, since all the teachers agree that he is a very bright guy, he will be doing his homework. 

 

The best laid plans of mice and young men—

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