Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Life Lessons?

This is not going to be the typical Kim Runs to Eat post, so if you are easily offended or don't like to hear truths, you should probably stop reading now.

We moved to a small town in northeast Texas just over 3 years ago.  It is actually C's hometown where he grew up and graduated from high school.  It has not been an easy move for any of us!  In the 1123 (but who's counting) days we've lived here, very few have gone by that I haven't regretted the decision to move my kids to such a place. 

E and N were raised from the ages of 3 and 7 until 11 and 15 in Austin. TX.  Austin is a fabulous place to raise kids!  People from all over the world live in Austin and you are exposed to many different cultures, religions, beliefs, etc.  When you meet someone new, you ask where are you from? because not many residents actually grew up there. Your kids learn to be tolerant and even accepting of others, especially those who are different. They learn to embrace and appreciate those differences.  They had friends from many different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Then we moved here. 

Let me start by clarifying that I have met many wonderful people since moving here and most of them have welcomed us with open arms and hearts.  We are active members in an incredible church and this is not about our church family.  It's not about any one person specifically.  It is just my observations and experiences and those of my kids.  So, here we go:

I could not find a job, not because I was unqualified, but because I was not part of "the good ole boy system".  I truly believe God has had other plans and I am quite happy where I am now. I may not be doing the exact job I would like, but I am appreciated for my talents and leadership abilities, and it has nothing to do with being a "good ole boy"! 

E has wanted to be on a drill team since she was 3 years old. She was on one at her high school in Austin and then we moved.  She made the drill team here, but only stayed one football season because it was not at all what we expected and were used to.  There were several  mean girls who did not like her because she was different and were not at all afraid to engage in bullying behaviors.  That coupled with an incompetent director who forgets she is the adult and not one of the 16 year olds caused an unbearable situation.  Not that E didn't contribute to the situation, she did.  She went through some personality changes like being happy all the time to being sad most of the time.

I received a malicious letter about E through interschool mail in an envelope with district letterhead.  I took it to the high school adminstrators and told them who I thought was behind it. The response I got was "I've known those girls all their lives.  They wouldn't do something like that!"  Which to the mom of the victim translates to 'I've only known your daughter for a few months so she's probably lying'.  E graduated in June and has not looked back.  Her attitude and personality are back to what they were before we moved from Austin. Even someone I trusted completely questioned her honesty because they did not want it to reflect poorly on them.

Things were a little different for N. Boys just seem to be more accepting.  He started high school this year and things have been going well.  Until this last week.
At the football game on Friday, there was a "Go Lions! Class of 2015" banner.  There were 25 names on the banner.  There are around 300 students in his class.  It does not take a mathmetician to realize many names were left off, inlcuding his.  He noticed.  And wanted to know why.  I did not have an answer.  I posted to Facebook about the situation, hoping for a reasonable explaination as to why most of his friends were included and he was not.  Guess how many responses I got?  ZERO!  Not one single person who's child's name was on the banner responded. I don't think the banner was done maliciously.  I think someone came up with the idea and, like sheep, everyone else followed along without asking any questions.  My child was not the only member of the Class of 2015 with hurt feelings over the last few days.  Other people did respond though; about how they and their kids have been excluded over the years.  Oh, wait, they weren't born and raised here either. 

So here's what we've learned:
  • Small towns can be very exclusionary if you and both your parents weren't born and raised in the town.
  • No matter how intelligent or educated, people can still be ignorant and/or thoughtless.
  • As a parent, you can only protect your children so much. 
  • People almost always look out for themselves, even at the expense of others. 
  • The "good ole boy" system is alive and well.  If you are part of it, great; if not...
Are these life lessons?  Maybe.  Did my kids need to learn them in such a brutal way?  NO! 

I didn't write this post for any reason other than to vent but, if you have read all of it and recognize yourself in any way, please think about how your actions impact the lives of others!

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