Thursday, March 22, 2012

R is For A Dose of Youthful Reality

Last night at dinner we were having our usual conversation about our days and what we did or did not accomplish.

CM1 always opens to hubby with," so how is life in your little slice of hell." Now I am not certain whether he thinks that his father's working life is hellish or he is just mimicking something he heard in a TV show. Knowing him its a little of both.

Hubby generally answers with something positive, "its alright." Unless of course its been one of those days that goes down in the annuls of what hell must really be like. Then he does say it was a lousy day. Honestly you can't sugar coat every instance of reality.

Now I am not certain how we got on the topic of oppression and hate. We started talking about the third world. We were not talking about what happened in France. We did steer clear of that topic. The boys are adults and watch the news. They know quite well what happened.

We did start to talk about some rather harsh subjects though. It could have been CM1 bringing up his latest paper for a seminar on the Third Reich. He is going to write about Vichy France and what they did to the Jews. I have to tell you, even before he began to research this topic he was no fan of the French because of omissions and malfeasances during the Holocaust. In fact he is so angry at them that he says he will never go to France ever. I do explain to him that he shouldn't deny himself the opportunity to see France and its culture and everything that the country has to offer. But nope noway was he ever going to France. And now after learning about Vichy forget it. Honestly if he is going to hold countries that abandoned the Jews and or cooperated with the Nazis as his litmus test for travel, the only country I will ever visit in my life will be Israel. He is also none to thrilled with how the USA abandoned the Jews of Europe too. But he seems to have settled on the fact that we can still live in America anyway. (Thanks kiddo.)

Now CM2 pipes in during our discussion on famine and third world horror stories,  about some evangelical Christian cult that he read about on line. In fact he is obsessed about that cult. He talks about it all the time. Apparently he found some blog written by former members that details how cruel and nasty these people are in bringing up their children.

Honestly, I don't mind that he has a crusade. I like that he cares about how other people are treated, especially children. But I am concerned that he has no perspective. He talks about it all the time and wanted to give money to a cult recovery program. In fact everytime something bad is discussed or some issue is brought to the forefront he talks about this one particular group.

I have tried to teach him that he should obsess and worry about situations that he can do something about. He cannot change how these people in the cult think. We try to tell him that the local authorities know about the cult and that these people do tend to be watched. Like what happened in the Texas town that went in and took custody of the children from that LDS splinter group because of an allegation of child abuse. But to no avail. He is constantly talking about this evangelical cult and getting angry about the situation.

Well last night when he brought up the group again, and wanted to give  money to the cult recovery program I told him no, of course. He got really angry. Accusing us of being all manner of evil and uncaring  human wretches. Hubby finally had enough and turned to CM2 and told him...

"If you cared so much, you could go on eBay and sell your iPhone and give the money to the cult recovery program."

You should have seen CM2's face. It was a What-the-f**k moment. He grabbed his iPhone and held it to his chest afraid that we were going to abscond with his beloved technology. Hubby also continued...

"If you care so much why don't you get a job and give all your money to the recovery program. You don't have to go to school. In fact why don't you sell everything you have or start even a lemonade stand to make money to send to them?"

"You could give all your chore money to the program instead of buying games," I chimed in.

"Life is a matter of degrees," hubby continued." my priority is making sure that this family has a roof over their head, food and clothing and that you and your brother have an education. It might be cruel to say this but that is where my efforts lie right now. I can't do anything about this cult and I am not going to lose sleep over it. "

"Life is a matter of figuring out what you can and can't do. We can't change the world, we can only figure out how to make our part of it better. If we have any energy left over or money left over at the end of the day then we can do something for others. This may sound horrible to you but that is reality."

CM2 did not like this part of reality. I guess as long as it was my money he was using for charity that was fine. But as soon as it was his sweat and his hard work that provided the cash then his perspectives changed. Not that he doesn't care anymore, but giving up something he worked for to help others is a new one for CM2. Charity is a big deal in our household, but CM2 always gave away my money, or some money from Hanukkah that he did not work for and clothes that he had outgrown that he did not buy. (Tell you what, boy is he going to be annoyed once he finally gets a real job and sees what his tax bill is too.)

By this time CM1 had stopped listening to this part of the discussion. He had begun to obsess about what I told them about the human made famine in the horn of Africa which is killing thousands upon thousands. We were discussing more third world issues.  He was getting very upset (poor kid.) We told him that he should go watch some comedies. Tried to get him to redirect and think of something else. Which unfortunately he did not. (Thankfully there is the therapist tomorrow, A new discussion about being able to not let sad information ruin your entire world. Considering he won't let us go to France I am sure this is going to take some time.)

Now CM2 started to get up from the table since dinner was over, and quickly pocketed his iPhone.

"Life is truly a matter of degrees," hubby said to him." You need to know when to pull back and recognize when you have done all you can as one single little person."

The boys were excused. It was just hubby and myself sitting at the table.

"You were like this when I met you," he said.

"Different," I said.

"No, You obsessed about Israel to a distraction and every time a topic came up you brought it right back to the Jews."

See somethings never do change..."But I have other things I obsess about now."

"Thankfully. But you still got this Jewish issue thing going on..."

"Well..." I said with a shrug.

Then he thought quietly and turned to me, "They truly have no perspective about what they can do to help others and what they can't."

"It's called being young," I said.

Thank God for the young. Sometimes I think we as adults do lose our passions as we age and are bogged down with the realities of raising a family and life in general. The young in our world have no such burdens and see the injustices everywhere that in many respects we adults simply have learned to accept. Not because it is right to leave things undone, but because we ourselves have no more strength at the end of the day. Luckily the youth of our world do have this burning desire to heal the wounds of planet Earth.

Philosophers say that youth is wasted on the young. I disagree. Youthful passion is the what keeps the human race growing and changing and developing throughout the ages. It is this exuberance that leads society towards newer and better paths. It is this exuberance that propels every movement for justice, freedom and equality.

So in truth I don't mind CM2's passionate or even his obsessive nature. As long as it doesn't get blown off course and he does something foolish for certain. (Luckily being law abiding and following rules is very important to him.) For it is this passion that is inside him that will help lead him to the type of life he wants.

Meanwhile since his conversation with his father last night about selling his iPhone on eBay, CM2 hasn't let the damn thing out of his sight. We also didn't hear about the cult today. But its still early.

Until next time,


Additional thoughts 3/23: it's not usual that I go back and add some after-posting thoughts but something struck me that I realized I need to remember....the boys may be obsessing about situations that they cannot solve and have no way of ever solving or fixing, but they are not obsessing about expensive sneakers or jeans or any material objects. The boys are obsessing about how human beings treat each other and wanting to stand up for those who are marginalized, abused and who do without the basic necessities in life.

So while I help them deal with the obsessive side of their personality, I can honestly say that their directions. their thoughts and what they consider important makes me a very proud parent.