The Growing Up Years

Generally every morning, the Crankee Yankee and I grab our cups of coffee and sit on the front porch. It’s a lovely way to start the day and to enjoy the sunrise. We often see the neighborhood kids trudging off to the bus stop to go to school. Generally they are pretty quiet and still look sleepy.

There is one lone girl I always notice. She is a bit on the heavy side, and I never see her with other girls. She walks with her head down and I have never seen her smile. I could be very wrong, but she looks as though she needs a friend.

Heaven knows how hard it is to grow up; everything, including kids’ bodies; are changing. Today’s technology is no help either; there are so many ways to hurt and humiliate each other via social media. Not only that, but just imagine a shy person in the gym class, taking a shower. All it takes is one mean person with a cell phone to snap a picture and then send it off to everyone. It’s an extreme bullying tactic and can cause a lifetime of shame. Often someone who is bullied in this way may take their own lives.

When I was in grade school, the worst thing that anyone ever did to me was to stuff my brand-new suede shoes down the toilet. Of course they were ruined, and the gym teacher told me to tell the principal’s secretary to call my parents. I was terrified that they would think that somehow the ruined shoes were my fault. It was bad enough to have to wear my gym sneakers to class for the rest of the day, but worst of all was the feeling that someone hated me.

At the time, money was pretty tight at home, and somehow my mother found out who did the deed; the daughter of the garbage man who picked up our trash. Long story short, the daughter was punished, and the garbage man picked up our trash for free for a month.

So these days when I watch that lonely girl walking to the bus stop, my heart goes out to her. Her growing years are far different than mine, but just being a kid in school can be pretty rough. The growing up years can be a trial by fire, and my wish for kids today is that they have all the love, support, kindness and help they need. A bit of kindness and understanding can make a world of difference.

Remember the song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Teach Your Children?” It still bears wisdom today:

“You, who are on the road,
Must have a code
That you can live by.
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye.

Teach your children well.
Their father’s hell
Did slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams.
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry.
So, just look at them and sigh,
And know they love you.

Can you hear and do you care
And can’t you see
We must be free
To teach your children
What you believe in,
Make a world that we can live in?

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears
That your elders grew by.
And so please help them with your youth.
They seek the truth
Before they can die.

Teach your parents well.
Their children’s hell
Will slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams.
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry.
So, just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.”






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