When I finished grad school, I found myself in a classroom, sharing my other love – history – with high school students. Developing lesson plans, grading papers, contacting parents, and administrative duties left less time for my passion – getting men and women who are no longer committed to one another to channel that lost love and language into the lives of their children.
Rationalization is such a drug!
And then one day, as part of a classroom activity, I had my students list one major thing/event/social structure they would change if they could change anything. The second part of the activity would be a discussion on whether the change might occur via radical or gradual change.
We never got that far.
The students who were willing to share their critical change wish all shared one critical – and chilling – area of change; the relationship between their mothers and fathers. Unwed. Divorced. Separated. Missing in action. Whatever the legal status, my babies were stuck in the middle of parents who didn’t talk. Wouldn’t talk. Refused to talk.
Does this communication instead of chaos thing really matter? A wide-eyed, tiny little teen shared “when I’m supposed to be at my Dad’s house I can be out all night because he and my Mom don’t talk, so I know they will never find out. I just tell him I’m with a friend who lives near Mom”. Asked how that made her feel, she replied, “I know its not good, but its their fault. If they would talk to each other, I couldn’t get away with it”.
Children in chaos have no boundaries. That’s a cute tee-shirt but a loathsome life. Talk to each other, y’all, talk to each other. By the end of the school year, my tiny little girl was pregnant. In ninth grade.
I’m thinking they are talking now.