Kids and Teenagers

Sorry, no political rants today and I do apologize for my absence yesterday. We had a bit of a crisis. Let’s begin with a few rhetorical questions:

What do you do with a child you have loved and raised for sixteen years, one who is no longer a child but not quite an adult, who resists every attempt to learn and grow? One who finds himself jumping out of the frying pan into the fire more often than not, one who is consistently in some sort of trouble – whether it’s of his own making or involves another? One who has, actually, now been expelled from two schools?

These are the questions we are facing right now, and there seem to be no easy answers.

First there’s a phone call – and you must come retrieve your son, as quickly as possible. There’s information given, rather brusquely, and in shock you can think of no sensible questions. You call back, asking, pleading for reconsideration, but you maybe aren’t particularly coherent.

The next afternoon, your son is home. He seems calm and reasonable. You explain to him that you need the truth, the absolute truth about the situation. He tells you; he looks you in the eye, he sounds convincing.

You think about all the things he’s lost, all the positive progress he’s made, and you invoke no immediate punishment. Sadly, you really think he’s telling another whopper, but you want so badly to believe him. So you explain that, if he is indeed telling the truth, you are on his side; you tell him you’ll look into the accusations, try to find out what really happened, but also caution him that, if it turns out he’s lying yet again, he will have dug himself in even more deeply.

You ask again if he’s telling the truth. He replies, “Yes, ma’am, I am telling the truth.” You start to investigate; you talk to three people, you get three stories that almost, but not quite, match. Your son’s story doesn’t jive with any of them.

Meanwhile, the boy begins to rally the troops. He calls and emails students and faculty. Some respond, but their stories make no sense. A couple of adults respond as well, but the promised “evidence”, as per your son, is not forthcoming. The school calls on a related, but unimportant matter; the caller will not commit to an opinion, but urges you to call someone else and ask for more detail. Finally a well-regarded instructor responds that he cannot help.

He was expelled, and lied again. What he did could have potentially been quite dangerous. Or it could have been considered a prank. Obviously it was very, very serious. Who is telling the truth? Or there other issues, swept under the carpet? Or are those unimportant and unrelated?

I will not venture to second-guess the school. They have rules, by which students must abide. I do not jump to my son’s defense at each and every infraction; I have too much experience for that. Every incident over the last sixteen years has been taken with a grain of salt, so to speak. There’s always something not quite believable, and I must check and double-check. Too often I’ve found the source to be flawed and the culprit to be my son.

I was so hoping that things had changed. This tears me apart, inside and out, and I almost cannot bear to keep trying. But he is my son.

The consequences will be swift, and hard. But it still remains: will this change anything? At all? What will become of him, if he still hasn’t learned the lesson?

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