A Self-Absorbed Village

While sitting poolside on what might possibly be the last such opportunity this year, I was surprised to see the whole gang of my son’s “colleagues” from our street also show up. Although it’s only been three or four months since I’ve seen them, the changes in the individual selves and their group dynamic seems great. Unfortunately, as is often the case in the United States, the change that predominates is the drastic gaining of weight.
Gone are those sweet little kids who would beg and plead until I gave in and took them on a bike adventure. Those innocent, smiling children, giggling uncontrollably to my silly stories and quirky catch phrases replaced instead by sullen and too easily bored pre-teens too self-conscious in front of their peers to exhibit any politeness or courtesy. These once swift and seemingly spring-loaded children are now already showing the unhealthy results of sloth: too many rolls of fat on backs and bellys, clumsy and labored movements in their limbs and the loss of any semblance of a neck. Even the chubby but always cheerful kid is starting to show a bit of a battered ego coming through in his personality.
I am saddened by their loss of any loyalty towards each other, with their friendships seemingly only based on their interest in using/consuming the material possesions of another: bike, gun, game controller or rated R movie.
This quality became obvious to me in a disturbing manner; seeing what little regard these children had for my son when he slipped and hit his head. Not only did not one of them come to help him or see if he was okay, they did not even stop their fun for a second to see what all the adult commotion was about. Are children supposed to be this way or are the parents and our “village” failing them?
In trying to compare this my childhood, the only concrete example I could think of was an incident when I was 11. My buddy accidentally stepped on a 2X4 with rusty nail which became embedded well into his foot far enough that he was afraid for me to pull it out. I held him around the shoulders while he hopped all the way home, explained the situation to his parents and came by the next day to see that he was okay. Maybe it was only the fact that no adults were around that made me act this way.
I suppose this is just anxiety about the approaching teenage phase of my son’s childhood with much worrying about him being able to take care of himself and hopefully get by with a little help from his friends.

Also, I’m a little sad about having to have my tallest pine tree cut down.

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2 responses to “A Self-Absorbed Village

  1. Miguel, you have touched here many examples of teenage apathy. I bet my bottom dollar that this group has very little parental guidance in their lives. Either that, or their parents are where they have picked up their eating, disrespectful and apathetic habits.

    I say no, it’s not right for them to continue playing while your son was in harms way. I also bet that these boys have not taken part in team activities, such as sports, boyscouts or any other type of activity where each child depends on the other to particiapte and succeed as a group. These kids sound bored, undisciplined in even a modicom of social grace and your worry is quite validated by their behavior. Worry for them.

    As far as you own child, he is the product of your and his mom’s upbringing. From what I’ve seen, your child is the central part of a family unit, consiting of a mother, father and child. If you teach him good eating habits and provide healthy food, he will, most likely not become over weight. If you teach him compassion for others, he will stop what he is doing and offer to help someone who has become ill or injured. If he is provided with a team experice, he will learn to be a team player. To be considerate and loyal. And knowing you, I am very confident that those things are already intigrated in your son’s personality.

    My son is now 15, and I have been forturnate that during all of my working years since he was an infant, he had his dad home. He had his dad join boyscouts with him. He had his dad by his side during all of his school and sporting events. And now the two of them share their love of being part of the fire department. I truly believe that spending time with your child is key, working parents who sacrifice their precious free time to spend it with their child do, because they realize how important it is. And when it’s all said and done, you can’t take that time back and do it again. I know this first hand becuase I missed so much of my son’s first 11 years. Thank goodness for pictures and old videos.

    What I’m trying to stress is that those boys need some direction….SOON. Your described behavior of them shows they are heading in wrong direction. Very unlike, your nutured and well parented son.

    Great job, great blog~~

    Joanne

  2. Also, sorry about about pine tree and you need play around with your widgets and add a “subscribe button” 🙂

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