I don’t ever want my kids to join a cult, or attend Yale.
That’s not as out-of-the-blue as it seems. I read some news that made me reaffirm these two long held-fears for the futures of my children.
The cult thing, that’s often on my mind, actually. No one wants their kid to join a radical cult, so that’s a no-brainer. All my boys are interesting, unique, free thinkers. Admittedly, one of them does have a bit of a bow-tie-wearing accountant streak in him, but he makes up for it with puns and fart jokes, so I think it balances out. I would be crushed for any one of them if some day they met up with a group of people who brainwashed them and took away those individual thoughts and kooky ways of looking at the world.
All of you cultists, stay away from my babies or Mama’s comin’ after you. I’m not going to be one of those mothers who says, “Well, if Sonny is happy drinking the kool-aid, who am I to interfere?” Who am I to interfere?!? I’m the bitch who gave him life, that’s who! You better believe that I WILL find the compound and I WILL get my kid away from you one way or another!!
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
*deep breath* *slow release*
There. Just had to make that clear. *achem* Moving on to Yale…
First of all, who wants to admit their kid has to settle for a second rate Harvard? Oh, the shame I’d feel at Miffy’s next country club luncheon! I. Would. DIE. No, that would simply NOT be the thing.
Aside from the basic shame at the thought of one of my boys joining the ranks of those pathetic Harvard wannabes, Yalies have an interesting new chant that has confirmed my deep hatred for the out dated ivy league. (Not Yale alone, I should say in the interest of fairness. It’s spreading to other campuses across the nation.) Want to know what these fine, allegedly brilliant young minds have come up with to yell at events and gatherings?
“No means yes! Yes means anal! No means yes! Yes means…”
Well, you get the basic repetition required of any chant.
Isn’t that stomach-churningly revolting?!
I’m trying to raise MEN. Not spoiled, self-entitled wallet-drainers that think they are entitled to just take whatever they want. MEN. Men who respect women. Men who respect other men. Men who realize that they are individuals who have NO MORE rights than anyone else, whose wants and desires are theirs alone, who know that the world does not and should not cater to their whims, and understand that they’ve got no right at all to expect people to go along with their schemes.
Remember when people were proud if their son got into an ivy league school? I wonder if those parents are proud now.
The sad thing is, they probably are. They probably laugh it off as “boys being boys.” I know it’s judgy, but it’s also most likely true. There’s a reason why there are so many brats that think it’s okay to chant something so appalling. There’s a reason why so many pathetic boys are taking it a step further and acting out the chant when they’ve got a girl they somehow feel entitled to. There’s a reason why rape culture on college campuses is what it is…and a reason it’s so prevalent that we had to create the term “rape culture” in the first place. These kids were not raised with the understanding of the word “no.”
I want my boys to become men. And I’m terrified of all the things like this that can lead them the wrong way.
I’ve got a whole list of fears for them, actually. Every parent does. But, I think about them probably more than I should. Perhaps that’s another aspect of having a tendency to hoard. I’ve said before I also hoard thoughts and obsess over them.
To be clear, this is NOT a list of fears in general, like health, monsoons, pianos dropping on their heads, etc. This is my fears list of wrong choices they may make, things they will have direct control over in their lives. If a virus thinks one of them is a good host, it will multiply. If a piano’s gonna fall, it’s gonna fall. There’s nothing to be done for it but to try and pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Oddly, though I am a natural worrier, I worry way less about that stuff. Can’t control it, can’t change it. So I guess this is a list of fears of…
Potentially Bad Choices I Don’t Want My Kids to Make
Drugs- Has to be right up there, right? Especially with the heroin resurgence in my area at the moment and personal experience with addicts of all kinds in my family.
My stance on drugs in general is not cut and dried (pun ALWAYS intended). It’s probably best summed up in the advice my dad gave me before I went away to school. He said, “I’m not going to tell you not to try anything. That’s stupid, because you will. But follow these two important rules: Don’t do anything that could kill you, and don’t call me to bail you out if you get busted.”
*taps chest* Still gets me, right here, Pops. *sniff*
Drugs. Legal or illegal, some are scary business. Some are not. I just hope I can give the kids enough education (and healthy fear) to be able to make the right choices and draw the right lines.
Suicide– More than reasonable to fear this, and again, based on personal experience. I think every parent can agree this should be on the fears list, though so many people are still too uncomfortable to discuss it. Talk to your kids about it, if you haven’t already. Please. Let them know their troubles and pains will always be temporary, that even though it feels like a mountain their trouble is really just a speed bump, that they’ll get through it, that they can talk to you, that you’ll help them make it better, that they should never, ever even consider a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Idiotic Driving– Any style of it, really. Too fast, too slow, under the influence, texting while driving, half the shit we used to do when we had hoopdie wheels and a shiny, new license… I believe this one is normal, especially to those of us who are watching our teens eye the family station wagon with primal hunger.
Hacking– Look, we’re geeks here. Some of you won’t understand why this is a legitimate fear, but it is. Anyone who understands what’s happening when they glance over and see that their kid brought up a root menu in an online game knows that flutter of fear at the thought that their progeny just took the first step on a very slippery slope. There’s a fine (and often blurred) line between tweaking a root menu and becoming a dangerous hacker. I’d hate for them to ruin their lives because of a techie joke or challenge taken that one step too far.
Staying with The Wrong Partner– They will have a series of failed relationships. It’s just human nature. However, what I really fear is that they won’t admit they chose the wrong partner and get out, that they’ll feel so beaten down or resigned that they stay in a damaging relationship far too long.
Having Closed Minds– This is important, and not just because it’s a total representation of my inner hippie. If your mind is closed, you never grow. If your mind is closed, you’re stagnant, and will remain so. You won’t gain any new experiences, you won’t learn from the ones you have. To me, the idea of it is like being choked. If you aren’t growing and learning every single day, then why bother? Why be here at all? I cringe when one of them thinks they know something when they’re only looking at one facet of a complex situation.
Being Late– Okay, look. I some of these are unreasonable. And while, at heart, this would be considered just a matter of politeness if it was casually instilled in the kids, I am legitimately panicked when it seems like they will be late for something. Anything. Even a “drop by if you want” type situation. That’s what makes this one a tad on the crazy side…the level to which I care. I know I drive them nuts with it, especially Teen Prime who is punctual to a fault thanks to me. Sorry, kids. I gave you that complex. Hey, you had to have something to tell your future therapist, right?
…and while we’re in the land of LaLa…
Horsing Around Near Electric Fans– When I was younger, I had a recurring dream of my baby sister’s leg getting cut off by an electric fan. That dream morphed when I had my boys. I didn’t grow up and stop having such silly, ludicrous thoughts. My mind just changed the protagonist. I *STILL* dream about them getting maimed by the blades of an electric fan. Somewhere in my mind, I am convinced that one of them will lean in to do the Darth Vadar voice and things will go horribly awry and their lips will get cut off.
…I said some fears were more reasonable than others.
Acting Like A Know-it-All– As an admitted Know-it-all myself, this is a legitimate fear for my boys. They ARE like that at the moment, but I’m hoping it’s more a symptom of young male testosterone, than a lifelong, socially crippling awkwardness people don’t want to put up with.
On the flip side, even worse is…
Acting Stupid to Impress People- There’s a fine line between being confident and being a know-it-all. I never want my boys to pretend they don’t know something. I don’t want them to “dumb it down” for any reason. I just want them to know how to present the info better than I do. And yes, parents of girls…this most definitely IS an issue boys face, too. My kids are smart. They should feel comfortable BEING smart. And they should definitely have friends who are comfortable with that level of intelligence as well.
Forgetting to Be Brothers– This is probably one of the most important things I fear for my boys. I have been told time and again that my relationship with my sisters is “weird” because of how close we are. Hang on, don’t perv out on me. It’s not anything untoward. We’re friends, not just genetically linked humans. We talk a lot, we laugh even more. When we’re in the same room, shit’s going to deteriorate into side-splitting, rip-roaring idiocy, and it’s fantastic.
You have a buddy like that. Everyone has a buddy like that. I just happen to be related to mine.
I don’t think it’s weird, but other people do. There are many that have commented about it. They have sitcom style relationships with their siblings. They meet once a year for a family holiday, guzzle the eggnog to “get through it,” and spend the whole ride home asking their significant other how in the hell they could be related to those people.
Maybe that’s how the average family works. There’s a reason the storyline plays in sitcoms. It wouldn’t be rehashed if people couldn’t relate. However, as real as that might be, I’m the one that’s got it right, and no amount of naysaying changes that.
My boys are all close. I love it when they laugh and joke, even when it’s at my expense. They have “things” and looks that no one outside their familial clique would understand. They can glance across a room and bust up, secure in the fact that the other is having the same silly thought. They flash each other hand signals, or break out in the same stupid saying at the same stupid moment. They’re buddies.
…right now. Right now, they’re friends. But, right now, they have no choice, do they? They live in tight quarters with each other, and it’s far better to get along rather than live in a constant state of animosity. One of my biggest fears is that once they leave the den, once they get out into the big, cold world, they’ll forget that they’ve still got those close brothers, that they have a support system, that they’ve got others in the world that WILL care and WILL be there if the shit hits the fan. Or, you know, if lips hit the fan.
I don’t ever want them to forget that they have a ready-made group that will band together and help if they fail to make the right decision on drugs, that will be there to hold their hand during a long overdue break up, or talk them off the ledge if need be. I want them to rely on each other to be the voices of reason and give them shit for acting like a moron behind the wheel, or blowing off an important interview, or being the asshole at a party. I most definitely want them to feel close enough to each other to bitch slap any of the others that even think about joining a cult, and I’m counting on them to talk each other out of applying to Yale.
I read something the other day. It was one of those saccharine Facebook posts in cursive that usually make me roll my eyes. This one…it got to me. Maybe it’s my advancing age. Maybe it’s PMS. Dunno. Something made this one hit home and put me in this rambly, pensive, contemplative mood.
“A mother’s greatest wish is that her children will love each other long after she’s gone.”
What will happen to them and for them if they don’t?
Remembering Eye Rolls Instead of Advice– I’m staring at two birthdays for the teens coming up in less than a month. They have mustaches and can reach things on the very top shelf. Teen Prime is about to begin his senior year in high school. They’re about to enter a time when I’m not the one in control of the day to day. And as I look around at my almost-men, I guess I just can’t shake these fears right now. Too soon it’ll all be put to the test.
And I suppose that’s the biggest fear I have for them over everything else. I’m afraid I’ve spent years talking at them, not to them; that it all went over their heads and I didn’t notice in time to make the important lessons stick.
Is that really a fear for them? Or a fear about myself?
Thus concludes a…cathartic? Rambling? Wordy? …Musing for Tuesday, August 11, 2015. I’m going to go paint in the other room and let the kids take over the stereo while they game. It’s a rainy day, and they seem to be in the mood to enjoy the mellowness, not get snippy. What? I said they’re buds, but they aren’t perfect. It’s two months into summer vacation. They’ve GOT to be getting sick of looking at each other by now.