As I’m struggling with being a member of the 51st state in Special Education, feeling as though the IEP I moved here with is about as useful as the tissue I keep rage crying in, I can’t help but ask a lot of questions. Mainly, I wonder how it is we all collectively as parents are okay with having annual iPhone updates and rushing out for 10 this and v25909 that, when the education system where we send our kids has remained largely unchanged since we were in school? If I worked, I would have lost my job eons ago as I try to just get my kids what they need to just barely hate school enough that it’s not suicide threats to get on the bus.
Why is it that a service we are taxed for seems so difficult to provide what we ask for? I’m not interested in hearing about budget cuts, I’m not interested in hearing anything but why we keep allowing piss poor management of our most precious resources: Our freaking kids. Ya know, that whole, kids are the future thing people like to blab about. Personally, I have no idea who will wipe my butt when I’m too old, but I’d really hope my kids are around to hire someone else to do it.
How many of us really feel school actually educated us for life? Does my memorization of the fact that Carson City is the capital of Nevada give me any actual knowledge? Or a practical application? Moreover, when has compulsory anything bred any feelings outside of resentment?
I used to get calls asking if so and so was medicated today as if that’s anyone’s business, and as if it’s perfectly normal to dope a child into submission. I’m so tired of educating people about mental illness, and that a pill doesn’t solve all your freaking problems. If ADHD was LSD, maybe I could get people to understand Set and Setting play as much of a role in your trip as it does your educational experience. How many adults can sit for 8 hours in a classroom environment, and why do we all seem to think this is some shitty right of passage that needs to be inherited and forced on the kids?
I try to walk the middle between my hippie proclivities and living and let dying and damning the man, but also understand that there have to be standards, systems, and structures. Anymore, though, it seems as though it’s as if a kid doesn’t fit in a very particular mold, he or she is shit out of luck.
Obviously, I’m a normal mom. I want my kids happy, I want them educated, etc. but, what do I do when the education provided doesn’t meet their needs? Or, worse yet, the environment is so unsupportive it affects their mental health and begins manifesting with symptoms of trauma?
Many of us have awful memories from school, and we write it off or heal or grow, or repeat history. But, now on the other side, I keep asking what school actually did for me. Did being called fat every day really give me a thick skin? Or did it give me self loathing? Did feeling ostracized every day of my life give me integrity or did it give me a desire to slice myself up like an Easter ham? Did school give me the intellect I’m so proud of, or the constant need for external validation because that fucking A was the only thing I could rely on as my brain devoured my heart and soul? Did school teach me how to enter into life or how to escape it with anything and everything including sex, drugs, and rock and roll as I became a devil worshipper because Metal was the only thing that made the voices in my head shut up and listen and feel like maybe I wasn’t the only one?
As music and arts funding continues to be cut, as services are cut, am I really supposed to be glad my kids will know the capital of Nevada is Carson City? As it seems like we’re more concerned with preparing children for adulthood by teaching them that play and rest are less important than the almighty homework…As we watch other countries blow past ours in everything educationally speaking…Am I really supposed to believe my kids are being set up for anything other than a path of destruction?
We’re all born as blank chalkboards. Everyone makes marks on that board, and eventually, those marks become the sense of self and inner monologue. This is unavoidable and no matter how hard anyone can try, we’re human and we will say dumb shit that hurts people. Systemically enforcing dumb shit that hurts people is a lot different though. Because systemic dumb shit seems like it’s okay since everyone else is doing it. Systemic dumb shit makes the people who don’t fall in line feel alienated. More importantly, no one seems to bother to teach any kids that although their chalkboard may get messy, each of us hold our own chalk, our own eraser, and we choose how to keep our boards. That means, as a mom, too, I get to choose who the hell is writing on my kid’s chalkboard, and I’ll be damned if it’s this kind of stupidity.
Kids are the wisest teachers if you’re smart enough to shut up and listen to them. The rising rates of ADHD diagnoses, depression, and the subsequent meds and suicide rates says to me maybe we reaaaally need to start hearing that it’s broken and fix it. Or, maybe I better go upgrade my iPhone so I can take better pictures at their graduations or funerals – whichever happens first.