A Bunch of Other People
Some of you need to stop.
Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to say it.
This ALWAYS applies, but nor, more than ever.
Stop and think and walk away and come back.
Step outside yourself and your world view. Try on another man’s shoes. You don’t even have to walk anywhere, just try them on.
A bunch of people are missing some pretty important moments.
A bunch of other people want them to suck it up, because at least their senior trip wasn’t a one way ticket to Vietnam.
Screw that second bunch.
These amazing kids and their parents ARE finding a way to look through and beyond this. There IS much more to life and we parents are tasked with helping them understand something that we are just now wrapping our own heads around.
There’s a reason we’re all tired of hearing the word, “unprecedented.”
Most of us have exactly ZERO idea what this feels like to these kids. How could we? I have the unique advantage of having gone through something very similar to what my senior is currently experiencing and am able to truthfully tell him what I felt then and understand to be true, now. It doesn’t make it easier. His experience is his own.
There’s something missing in all of these memes and keyboard warrior opinions, though.
The missing concept is the expectation of CATHARSIS, meaning “ an emotional moment that leads to positive change in the person’s life.”
- the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotion
Here’s a link to some helpful information about why cathartic experiences are so important. A ceremony to signal the end of something and/or the beginning of another, like, say, graduation. There are other ways to create a cathartic experience and move on emotionally, sure. However, while a graduation ceremony is socially acceptable, verbally expressing disappointment seems to be less so. They can’t throw themselves into their work, or take a long run, or have a sleepover and cry into their nail polish, or meet out on some gravel road for a few cold ones they pilfered from someone’s parent’s garage fridge.
Normal is off the table.
They are experiencing the loss of social norms that run so true and so deep that they literally create the fabric of our society. Our American culture. It’s part of our collective experience. Our traditions. The captain of the football team and the Prom Queen.
They’re not mourning the loss of 6am alarms and biology homework, you know. It’s the state championships and school records that will never happen. Band trips that kids have endured 4 years of marching parades and fruit box sales and booster meetings to earn- have vaporized. For some, prom is a culminating experience. It’s part of our MUSIC (Fifteen, Jeremy, just about everything Bob Seger sang) and our MOVIES (Breakfast Club, anyone? Or 10 Things or Mean Girls…) and it is our LIVES.
Please remember that not everyone grows up in a city, with opportunities and options, and not everyone is college bound. The next step for most of America isn’t frat parties with a little higher learning mixed in. For some, this signals the end of childhood and the beginning of 40+ years in a factory, because it’s a “good job” in their town and they’re lucky they knew someone who could get them hired on.
Read that again: Childhood just ended.
It’s not just their lives, either. It’s ours, too. Some of us parents needed this process to ease us into the next phase. We weren’t ready, emotionally or otherwise, for the abrupt end. We needed these rites of passage as much as they did.
Are there worse things? Sure.
But everything is relative. My problems might look like a walk in the park to someone else.
So you didn’t get a prom? Quit crying. At least you’re not being shipped overseas. At least you’ve got the Internet. At least you can Snapface your friends and not live in isolation. At least you didn’t get the virus. At least no one you know got the virus. At least no one you know died. At least you’re not dying. At least… Where does it end?
They have a right to their feelings, be it grief or joy. Stop with the judging and the guilt trips and the “suck it up” attitude.
Can we just meet them where they are and support them?
I can. Please join me.