Our Future by John E. Stack

Sometimes children are known for exaggerating circumstances, especially those children in middle grades. Hormones and peer pressure can do strange things to a child’s brain.  You really have to listen carefully and try to discern what is true and what is not.  Even if you have years of experience you can be completely wrong in your assessment.  I know I was.

I had a young man about eleven years of age in my class, I will call him Tim.  Tim is kind of scruffy looking, often wore the same clothes, really thin.  He often made decisions that would get him in trouble.  One day I asked if he wanted me to call his mom about his attendance.  He said it wouldn’t matter.  It would just give her another reason to hit him.  I just looked at him, but I didn’t call.

Usually when a child has two homes, mom’s and dad’s, more often they will live with mom.  Usually, dad is out of the picture and has another family.  In this case, both parents are well educated and they share custody.

On another occasion, Bill told me that he was glad he was able to get lunch at school, because his mom never had any food in his mom’s house. Bill would laugh and cut up about how he couldn’t stand to visit him mom, because she didn’t care about him.  Again, he mentioned that she like to hit him in the head.

I don’t get some parents.  Children should be something you want, not a by-product of sex.  There are many ways to not get pregnant.  But, if you have a child and the marriage ends in divorce, it is not the child’s fault.  Even if the child reminds you of the other parent, they are not the cause of your problems.

Tim came in this past week and told me that his mom took away his phone and locked him out of the house.  He was only wearing a t-shirt and jeans (no shoes).  This was December and the temperature was in the low 40s.  He finally got a neighbor to contact his dad and his dad came and got him.  The police came and arrested his mom.  I asked what his dad was going to do and he said that he went to court and was trying to get full custody.

Hooray for dad, but why didn’t he see what was going on before now?  Why didn’t I see what was going on?  I only see him for forty-five minutes a couple times a week, but why couldn’t I see it?

The more I teach and the more I deal with the foster care system, the less I understand about people.  Everything is more important than their children: their addictions, their drugs, their alcohol, their other families.  Kids come in last in most cases.

In the foster care system, the average time that a child is in the system has gone from 1 year to 2 years.  This is due usually to extra chances for the birth parents to make some right decisions.  It doesn’t work

We really need to come up with a system to deal with parents who abuse or neglect their kids.  What we have now rewards the parents.  When are we going to wake-up?  No one seems to realize it, but the kids are our future.  They learn to treat people by the way they are treated. We have to do a better job of raising our kids.


***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.


Filed under children's books, John Stack, life, writing

4 responses to “Our Future by John E. Stack

  1. This is a huge subject, and I often wonder if we equip our teachers and social workers for real life. Yes, there are neglectful parents, there are abusers and there are many who are simply in denial, but we have to peep behind the curtain now and then and ask ourselves why they behave as they do, and maybe examine the societal issues that surround the problem – then maybe we have a chance to solve it.
    I feel passionately about this: that the assault of Academia on every level of society, its intrusion into every field, no matter how inappropriate, has created a demography of haves and have nots which relies upon a moral code dictated by the haves.
    We feed a televised expectation of life-style and existence to everyone, regardless of their ability to achieve it. We throw money at those we have failed to educate and produce a stratum of indebtedness they cannot cope with, pressures they can never resolve. Then we bombard them with accusations because they fail. We never see the pressures bad education and sheer bloody misfortune rain upon the burgeoning ranks of the poor.
    Those less equipped deal with hardship in many ways. Most will avoid the violent or neglectful path, but inevitably some will turn to drugs, or drink, or intense introspection to escape real life. No, contraception is not an option to a drunkard, nor is a child conceived in desperation because every other thread is breaking a wanted child. So often the child becomes the butt of the parent’s madness against society, so often, too, the one more mouth they can’t provide for. Believe me because I have been there. I know the intense enmity, even the hatred, with which the poor regard Social Services. It is just not that simple!

  2. I worked for many years in an urban school. Seventeen years as a special ed teacher and 13 as a counselor. When we hear of parents neglecting or abusing their children it’s our obligation to report it. Nothing changes without change. Yes, the foster care system is a wreck. Yes, the parents won’t change unless they want to and can. But to ignore what’s done to these kids makes us a party to it, by taking a backseat. If teachers don’t want to stick their necks out they can refer the child to a counselor/social worker, or administrator. And should. It’s the law.

  3. Kids are experts at hiding what embarrasses them, acting out to fit in, pretending to be someone they’re not, and blaming themselves for everything. They fool us and we forget to look deeper, perhaps because we’re doing the same thing.

    • How true. I saw that a lot as an educator, now I see it in my grandkids. Thank you for the reminder to be more cognizant of it. And yes, adults too are guilty of this. Myself included.

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