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Entry date: 2-1-2022 - Don't Smash Dreams, Man - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I realized this morning that telling these stories out of chronological order is messing with my head. I keep thinking I am repeating myself and I definitely will, from time to time, but bear with me friends. I will get to it all this year, I’m sure. I have 365,000+ words to do it in. That’s like three books worth of words, easy.

*****


Children are like tiny engines of wonder, destruction, lies, and love. Does that sum my average day? Sadly, yes. They alternately suck buttermilk and are the best things ever. You cannot win but you also cannot lose if you just give them a little attention, guide them, and disinfect when they leave.


Yesterday I watched an eight-year-old boy deliberately try to kick soccer balls over a fence. Now, he knows full well that an adult has to go get the ball when it flies into the parking lot at school, and it was clear from my observation that he loves this game. Luckily, he is not my student, or I would take his soccer privileges away from him, but his teacher is apparently far more patient than I am.


There is the myth about me out there that I am a patient person, and it is simply not true. I am not patient. I am slow to respond to unpleasant stimulus. I feel all the impatience and frustration and anger that would typically show on a person’s face on the inside, but I don’t let it show on the outside until I’m past the point of no return. Sometimes this means that people think they can take advantage of how nice I am, but really, I am just deciding in my mind to never help them again with a smile on my face.


You can’t do this with kids, though. As much as I might like to, I can’t cut any of them off and not give them any more of my time. They need adults to show them how to be good adults. The world begs for this, I think, and if we don’t find the time to nurture those who will be in charge next, we are just fucking ourselves into a very unpleasant time of being part of the soon to be ignored portion of our society known as “the elderly.”


These little bastards that drive me crazy all day long are the ones that are going to take care of me in 30 years and I remind myself of that on the regular. I just hope it is the sweet natured ones that are taking care of me and not the mean little shits who rat each other out every day. Some of these kids would give you the shirt off their back and not even think twice about it and others, well, use your imagination and think of the worst thing a kid could do.


But I love teaching.


I truly do. This week we are working on poetry, and I can already see that some of my students are gravitating toward it quickly. A whole new generation of kids who are going to love The Smiths and the Cure, most likely. There were some really cool little phrases and ideas in their first pass yesterday and I think this is going to be a fun week. I’m going to turn them on to some Shel Silverstein in a few days and I can’t wait.


It's these things that make teaching interesting to me. The ability to get creative with a lesson plan and show kids different ways that people do things to help them see that there are myriad ways they can make a mark on the world. I think the world begs for this, too.

Many of us love seeing people do cool, creative things. I’ve got a room full of artists on a daily basis and they don’t even know how great and talented and full of ideas they are.

Some of my kids have had their imagination trampled over on a daily basis. I hear about it from them all the time.


It’s sad to see it and know they’re suffering for it. Somebody has told them they weren’t good enough or some sad shit like that. I feel fortunate that I never really had a lot of that in my youth.


My family were pretty darn supportive of most things I was into or wanted to do with my time when I was under 13. Of course, there was Ms. Orme at Madison Meadows, may she do what people do in a purple hell. She made me hate art as a kid because she was so condescending and mean. I always thought it was ironic that her first name was Joy and yet she was completely lacking any joy in her life from what I could tell. Four years I had to suffer her art classes and for four years, I dreaded it.


Not that I’m super talented in that capacity or anything, but maybe I could have learned to draw or paint?


People can suck the life out of things you love if you let them, and I have let people do that to me throughout my life. Most of the time the love for something I’m doing comes back, but not always. I don’t blame Ms. Orme for this even though it might have sounded like it a few sentences ago. I have gotten way better at not letting the fuckers get me down about things I love but life is still a work in progress.


As a teacher, I hope I never suck the life out of someone’s passion for something. Unless, of course, that passion is being an asshole to other students. I’ll gladly take the bullet on that one and do my best to turn some future asshole around and get them on the path to being a decent, or at least passable, human. Luckily, people do have the ability to change.


*****


I saw that ol’ Trump is up to all kinds of new shenanigans. I can’t believe people fall for this shit. I also can’t believe that the one thing I thought kept us all together was just an illusion. How can so many people be down with what I can only call “Un-American” behavior. Granted, there is a case via our own history to show that Trump’s behavior is unequivocally “American”, but it certainly doesn’t ring of “All men are created equal.”


See you tomorrow.



Rhondi took this on a trip to the coast.


I know people think Spotify is the devil but they owe me money.

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