Friday, October 3, 2008

In Which I Am Asked To Speak

Day Four in the Guided Journal is here should you be so inclined.

It appears that I may be having an opportunity to speak in front of the parents in the class next week. Not because I am so great, you understand, but because they are so terrible. Last night was awful, to the point where one of the instructors actually had to separate two of them (they were passing notes and giggling and just basically being very disruptive) as well as go sit by one of them in order to keep him quiet. Yes, these people are adults. I ended up getting pulled aside after class and having the opportunity to talk with three of the four instructors about the whole situation. The consensus is that they would like to see me stay in this class and perhaps be an example for the other parents, and then I can take the kids to the next class in the spring at no charge. They also asked if I would be willing to talk to them next week. I don't know about that part of it; I haven't decided yet. But I am also trying to put together into some cohesive thoughts in case I DO choose to address the situation head on. Here goes, and please keep in mind that this is what amounts to a rough draft, a practice run, whatever:

I have been feeling very angry and frustrated at how some of you are choosing to behave during this class. I understand that all of you are here because you have been ordered by the court to attend this class, and I also understand that some of you are very angry about having been forced to come here. However, I am not forced to come here, and in fact sought out this class in order to help my family; the fact that you are so angry about being here that you aren't even going to give it a chance make me angry, and it also makes me fear for your kids.

I am not here to make any moral judgements or criticise anyone; it was my intention upon coming here to get everything I possibly could out of it and not get involved with any one of you on a personal level. However, the fact that you are all interfering with my ability to get anything out of the class involves me inadvertently.

To you, I would like to say that I am the single mom of four kids. I work full time, my children are involved in various activities, and I doubt I have any more money than you do. If for one night a week I can make arrangements for my two younger children to be fed, taken home, bathed and put to bed, then you certainly can. The class does not get over until 9:00; make arrangements accordingly and stop making a scene when you are told that if you leave early, it will be reported to your probation officer. You have already made it clear to the entire class that your 15 year old does everything for you, including taking care of the younger children; you cannot use them as an excuse. We are not stupid: the reason you wanted to leave early is because you put bleach in your hair and wanted to go home and rinse it out-the fact that you DID choose to bleach your hair right before class indicates that you had no intention of staying. And by the way, your hair is already white and rather ugly; I don't know why you wanted to bleach it again, as after three hours with solution on it, I would be surprised if you had any left at all. Either way, you aren't going to be more attractive; stop trying. If you aren't here to learn anything, at least stop being a distraction for everyone else. Otherwise, skip the class entirely and just go to jail; I don't care.

And to you; I understand that you and your wife are divorced, yet are being forced to take this class together. On the surface, this is a really good thing, but it clearly is causing more problems instead of solving them. Dude, you do NOT need to sit here and flirt with Miss Bleached-Blond Hair; your ex wife already knows you don't want her, there is no need to rub in to her face the fact that you are actively looking for some fresh uglies to bump. I would also like you to stop monopolizing the class with all of the things you are doing "right" with your kids. Obviously you are full of shit because both of them are and have been in the juvenile justice system for quite some time. Since the focus lately has been on the ways in which we can model positive behaviours for our kids, let me focus on the fact that you are a shitty model, and if this is the way you choose to behave in public, I shudder to think of the modeling you do for your kids at home. You are arrogant for no reason, you interrupt the instructors and argue with any point they bring up; the lack of respect you show for them, for the other people in the class, for your ex-wife and for yourself, is perhaps part of the reason your kids have so many problems as well.

To The Mom (yes, the same one I have written about before), please do not ask me again to give you a ride to or from class. You are not my responsibility, and I don't care how many times you say, "Fuck you, I guess we'll just walk," I am NOT going to feel sorry for you or allow you to manipulate me. You disgust me; you are sitting here in the class complaining about how you have to go home and pack because you are getting kicked out of the motel and have nowhere to go; this is not our problem. Your son showed up for class tonight drunk; where were you when he was getting smashed? Or did you buy it for him and drink right along with him? Your boy is funny, and good looking, and appears to be smart; stop your goddamn pity-party and take a good look at what you are doing to him. He is 15 and he doesn't have a mom he can rely on; if you are scared and nervous, can you imagine how fucking terrified your son is when being confronted by the fact that he has nowhere to live? Get a grip; if you are going to continue to make the choices that put you in this situation, fine-but let someone else take care of your son. Yes, he has his own choices to make, but in this case, what are you showing him?

To all of you: I am here because I want better for my children. Not because they are a reflection on me, not to make things easier for me, but because in a very few short years they are going to be on their own. The problems that we are having at home may very well be "normal" teenage issues, but my children need to learn how to behave better, and I need to learn how to be a positive role model and guide for them. I am here not because I have to be, but because I want to do everything in my power to help my children reach their potential. I am not here to make friends with any of you, and I quite frankly don't care whether you like me or not. I cannot control how you think, feel, act, behave; I can't control whether or not you want to get anything out of this class or not. However, I would like to see you restrain yourself and try to act like adults for the three hours we are here. I don't give a fuck about what happens to any of you, but I do care about what happens to my kids; please don't ruin it for me.

Obviously I will have to remove some of the personal attacks, but god, right now, even the next day, I am still SO angry. And don't know yet if I am going to talk or not. I don't want to be held up as an example to these other parents, because I fail at being a parent in SO many ways. Hell, I KNOW I don't do a lot of things right; that's why I am taking the class. It helps to get it all out here, to have an opportunity to get the worst of it out before I actually decide whether or not I am going to say anything next week. Thanks be to the blog gods for providing me with a platform in which to air my thoughts and views and maybe get feedback; heaven knows I need to have a filter, and this is a good one for me.

13 comments:

Kristin H. said...

Hey K~ I think you should do it. Just think, you'll get the next class paid for! That's a God shot right there, sister.

Wouldn't it be great if you could just do all this via email? Then you could just attach your blog post and press send. Poof! They would get the message and you wouldn't have to look them in the eye.

April said...

But the personal attacks are so awesome! No, of course, I'm kidding.
Again, I do think you should take this opportunity to talk about why you're there and what you're hoping to gain from it. As the only one NOT being mandated by the court, it should be a humbling experience for some of them. And I bet some will thank you afterwards.
Do it for the teachers and yourself and your family.

Rachael said...

I think that you should do it too. I think you deserve to be able to concentrate and take things in, and those people are acting like children. It's not fair for them to ruin the class just because they didn't choose to be there. The point isn't to waste their time, it's to help their kids. It's too bad they don't all care enough to try to use the tools they're given!

Melissa said...

I agree. While the personal attacks were funny, they would get you beaten up in the parking lot. If you made it that far.

But you should speak and emphasize that you are there for the good of your kids, and if they would just stop being bitter for a few moments, they'd get something out of the class as well.

Good luck!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Too much of that is just too fucking sad.

People...

FreedomFirst said...

Big-time congratulations on being asked to speak! And I know, like you said, you will tone down some of the personal stuff. After all, that's what the anonymous internet is for, lol. Venting ahead of time.

I thought most of it was dead-on and probably exactly what they need to hear. But that doesn't mean they will respond. I hope you find inspiration for the precise right words when the time comes. And I'm SO glad your own parenting has been validated. You rock!

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Sadly your class sounds like some of the folks seen at local stores, and such where I live so I can relate to thinking certain things and being upset when these things happen and at the same time feeling powerless to say anything. Now in my life I do take opportunities to share those feelings outloud because it helps. I do think the personal attacks are funny, but agree that they would cause a lot of trouble, but keep on ranting cause I just keep on reading...thank you!

Love,
g

singleworkingmommy said...

I agree that you should do it, and I agree the personal attacks should probably be left out.

Where you were going at first was awesome! I mean, honestly, if you just stopped before you started talking about Bleach-Head, you'd be golden, I think!

Just make it all about YOU--like April said. Why YOU are taking the class, what YOU hope to get out of it, etc. You might even break through to one of them, and wouldn't that be awesome?

Lynette said...

I say do it. It would be totally awesome. Maybe even make one or two realize that if you can do it because you WANT to, they need to get their shit together.

It could happen.

Ronda's Rants said...

Okay...I needed to get permission to share this with you but I wanted to so you would really know how you ARE doing the right thing! My oldest son was/is a good person but 2 weeks before he turned 18 he was arrested for stealing from the store he worked at...with a bunch of his co-workers! This is a kid that was honor roll student,had earned full tuition to college, never missed a curfew not even a speeding ticket!!!
I was devastated...somehow I did the right things (with God's help) Part of his adjudication was community service, restitution and His parents had to go together to parenting classes! That was the only time my son balked...he felt like we shouldn't have to go...I explained that he was our son and obviously we had done something wrong! He cried hard when I said that...I told him I would do ANYTHING for his future and this was no big deal! My Hubby and I did the class...which at times was lame and at other times there were things I hadn't thought of! Some parents were just as you said...many of the kids that our son got in trouble with just got an attorney to get their kid out of trouble but we felt like as a family we should just do what was asked! It was so hard and it wasn't easy to realize that he had done this. But, he took responsibility for his actions and he saw his parents take responsibility for him...gladly! My son graduated from UF and is married and has two children and speaks regularly with troubled kids. My Hubby and I still pray for families that we watched in that group because it was heartbreaking!!! You are a great Mom and should be commended for doing for your family!!! Go to my blog and look at our son today....I can not be any prouder of the man he has become!!!
We are not the sum of our mistakes but we must learn from every lesson we are given!
Tell everyone there they are being given an opportunity and they should use it wisely!

Mama Smurf said...

I love the general message...but yeah...the personal attacks may make parenting difficult when you have to go home and explain your severed body parts to your kids.

pisceshanna said...

Ugh you should end the speech with "P.S. your parenting triggers my gag reflex."

If there is a better motivational speaker for this class besides you....hell would freeze over.

Anna-b-bonkers said...

I agree. This is a great platform to get the vent out. I too think you would be an amazing person to talk to the group.
The personal attacks, too funny!
Too bad you couldn't get away with saying them but my gosh the last thing you need is some crazy people smashing down your door!
If you do decide to address them I wish you the best of luck and pray that you have the wisdom and the right words to set them straight.
xo