Youth Group Yuck

After the publication of “I Hate You, Mom!” Jones (a regular reader of this blog and now a contributor; thank you, cherie!) kept emailing me to ask if Seth enjoyed himself at the youth group retreat after all, and I kept forgetting to email her back, so…this one’s for you, Jones!

And the answer is, not particularly. Plus, he was really tired, having been persuaded to stay up all night, which is not something he’s good at. The other day he said to me, when I asked, “I don’t really get it, Mom. I like the kids, the things we do are ok, but I just don’t like youth group.”

Not one to process, my Seth, that was about all I got from him (that was a lot!). I don’t know exactly what’s bugging him about youth group, other than both Linda* and I have really pushed him to go. But one thing that bugs the hell out of me is the sick-o attitude of many of the adults at church.

People are always gushing. Always going on about how amazing our youth are, how lucky we are as a congregation to have such amazing youth, who are so amazing and unbelievably amazing. It makes me gag. The kids don’t make me gag, I like the kids. Not all of them – many of them I don’t know – but the cutie pie 10th grader who’s been helping with the LGBTQ organizing is a nice girl who I enjoy working with, and some of the others who I know I also like. But the way most of the adults go on, it’s really too much.

I mean, it’s practically masturbatory. “Our kids are so great – yes, just like that – oh, yeah, our kids are fantastic! Yeah! Oh yeah!” Because if the kids are great, we must be great also. So maybe that’s what Seth doesn’t like, I don’t know.

It’s so hard for kids to get a chance to actually do something meaningful when they are thwarted at every turn by over-eager adults like in our congregation, or teachers who are too overloaded to even see who they might uniquely be, and anyway, have to teach to the standardized tests, like in Seth’s high school. Everything everywhere is fakey fakey. Probably that’s what Seth doesn’t like, how contrived everything ends up being. I asked him if he had his way, what would his ideal life look like and he said he would longboard, play guitar, and take math and science. Would that he could! This is probably not a good time for me to go into a rant about how I wish he could homeschool again, now that he’s been thoroughly demeaned by 6 years of school and understands why homeschooling can be so great, but he said it, not me.

In the meantime, watch this, and send Seth some good vibes!

*My ex, his other mom; gets a different name in every post!

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 5:30 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Birthday OTL

Teaching English to non-English speakers is transcendent and frustrating and I’ve been doing it since college. These days, my students tend to be Korean, thanks to the desire of many middle and upper class families in Korea to have their kids attain fluency in English. One of my current students is a 16-year old girl who is having to repeat 9th grade in order to accomplish this goal, at a Catholic girls school, no less. She’s living with a friend of her mother’s from college, a family she had never met, out in the suburbs where it’s impossible for her to walk anywhere other than around the neighborhood. I try to bring her a little fun along with helping her with her homework and whatever tedious English work she has to do, by throwing in a lesson on swear words and the like every now and again.

At any rate, this often-frustrated but brave and cheerful student recently reminded me about OTL, something I’d learned from a previous Korean student far from home (and he was only 11). Don’t look at it as letters, look at it as an emotional state: the O is a person’s head, the T is their body and the L is their legs. Get it?

I am completely OTL about my upcoming birthday. It’s that one where afterwards they send you that magazine in the mail. Not that I’m not glad to have made it this far, because I certainly am! It’s just a little daunting, is all. Someone’s happy, though – Tex just pure-d loves that magazine!

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,