Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm not sure what happened...

Life happens. It sneaks up on us from behind, and it gooches us into the sudden awareness that, well, we need to be more aware.

Our lives can quickly get bogged down with day to day living, with errands and chores and work and play. One day, you turn around, and you just feel old.

I've been struggling a bit lately as I've started noticing lines on my face that weren't there a year ago and gray hairs that are harder and harder to cover with Miss Clairol. It's as if 42 years hit me all at once, and suddenly I'm standing in front of the mirror wondering where did time go?

Tomorrow I celebrate 21 years of marriage. I don't use the word "celebrate" lightly, because, doggonnitt, isn't it just a blessing to be able to spend 21 years loving the same person? Like my parents and grandparents before me, I take marriage very seriously, and I find it unfortunate that too many others do not. I truly believe that it's a reason for the state of the world we live in.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think every divorce has screwed up the kids involved. Some have grown stronger I'm sure. However, when selfishness seems to be the center of a split, the children truly become the victims. I see this every day at school. Kids screaming out for attention in one way or another. The cry for help I see in their faces is sometimes overwhelming. I wonder what their parents are thinking when they fight back and forth, pulling the children with them. I wonder how they justify dumping grown-up problems on 9 year old children. Just today, a beautiful young lady just spilled her guts to me, and it was obvious that she was in intense pain and unsure how to voice it to anyone. She ended up in tears, and I reassured her, but deep down, I just wasn't sure what I could say to bring that child's world back together.

When a wife tells a husband that he's useless when he loses a job and that she's worth more than him, kicking him to the curb for the next best thing to come along, she teaches her children to give up. She shows them when the going gets tough, the tough give up and move along. She's modeling to her child that love is conditional. I believe it leaves children wondering what they in turn have to do for mom to give up on them.

When a husband decides to go out drinking with his buddies, placing more importance on them than his own family, he leaves children feeling insecure. He makes them feel that they aren't good enough to get dad's attention. He teaches them that it doesn't matter how you treat your spouse as long as you eventually come home. Or, when he chooses instead to run off with the younger model, he once again makes his children feel that his own life is more important than they are, or that they have to be exceptional to garner his attention.

Darnit, why can't we model security and stability? Are we so screwed up in our society that we've forgotten the importance of it? Are we just so selfish that we don't care what it does to our children? Do we just decide that we are going to leave them fending for themselves, becoming whatever this world shapes them to be? Why are children being left to take care of themselves at such an early age? What kind of examples are we setting for our kids, or are we even concerned with setting any kind?

Kids are feeling so insecure and unstable these days that you can almost feel the pressure building inside them, and you can almost hear the steam escaping through silent screams. I think so much of the behavior problems we see today is just the bottling up of these emtions escaping in any way they can figure out. Their tiny little minds can't comprehend what they're feeling enough to express it, so they just act out in any way possible.

Gosh, my plan was to talk about how blessed I am to have been married to my best friend for 21 years, and how my parents and grandparents have modeled such great examples of endurance to me. I guess that little girl made an impression on me today. She just wanted her daddy. Nothing more, nothing less. Luckily, he stepped in, and the child I saw walk away with him was not the same dark-eyed girl I had been talking to before his arrival. If parents only knew what a difference they make, good or bad. I'd like to think our society would be a better place if parents would just think.

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