No social media.
No video games.
No car.
Stay in your room.
Sit in the corner.
Don’t leave the table until you finish your dinner.
Santa is watching.
Be a good little boy.
Don’t do anything to embarrass us.

Too late…

A career in decline is a sad thing, Think of it, a stud athlete, Years of cheering, amazing gracefulness and power, Then time gets a foothold Robbing the stud of athleticism, Leaving polite cheers, memories, and the sadness of retirement. Or how about the politician, So with it early on, so charismatic, so caring, Then, after all the voting, The debating, and the shaking of hands, The politico starts spouting some dumb shit, Becoming an editorial caricature. I’m feeling that way as a teacher. Adults are time thieves, stealing every bit of time from our kids, It’s not just teachers, but also administrators, and parents Forcing subjects, high level math, unnecessary languages, and Hours of homework on kids Who never really get a chance to just be kids. Our children are always on, If not homework, Then on the phone, rusting surfers of the internet, Maybe they are scheduled into programmed play where Sports leagues are more interested in the payout for the owners Than the development of the kids. I hate that it’s this way for kids, Without being a curmudgeon, my career is on its decline, School used to be about relationships, learning, and social health Now it’s about grades, nothing more, it’s a numbers game. Hell, we’ve even taken snow days away from kids While pontificating on how stressful the virtual setting is. SHAME ON THE ADULTS.

The traffic on the street
Should have your focus, little lady.
Put your damn phone down and
Hold your daughter’s hand.
She can barely walk,
She doesn’t understand waiting,
She knows nothing of cars darting towards the curb.
She needs you, now.

You seem to know nothing of priorities
Your social media can wait,
Your checking for news can wait,
Your high score on Candy Crush can wait,
You’ve got a toddler,
She needs you now,
But you’re lost in a digital dream,
Somewhere between unconscious and neglectful.

Were you thinking about this when you took that chance?
Was he thinking about this?
You know, that guy who promised you everything
For those few minutes of pleasure…
Probably not on both cases,
Now the truth is alive,
So long as she doesn’t get hit by a car
While you are scrolling on your phone.

Jack Dean (Finance, Eight Bars Parent)

My kids are caught up in this mess,
We, adults, started it,
It’s like people talking
When you putt,

Annoying.

I never thought my daughter would do this.
I guess I could see my son doing this.
I don’t think I’m going to bother with it all.
I’ve got new wedges to break it.

Why do parents scream at their kids,
Especially at the beach?
The sand is hot,
The sun is bright,
The waves are big,
The day is long.

Who believes kids won’t struggle
Under those conditions?

Add to those things,
Cigarette breaks,
A failure to bring ice cream money,
And a lack of parental patience

It’s no wonder that kid is screaming.

Parenting is hard, especially when there are two growing boys and both parents are working rotating shifts. Somebody told me once that, “Parenting keeps you young.” An older lady who was sitting next to us chimed in, “No it doesn’t. It makes you tired.” Somehow, though, most of us feel a need to become parents and despite our best efforts things do not always work out in the favor for Parent of the Year awards.

December in Williamsburg is an iffy time of year. Sometimes the air drops to around a temperature that might allow for snow. Fortunately for Williamsburg and its snow removal budget, the temperatures stay warm enough only to cause a cold rain. So was the case one evening when my brother and I waited like angels for my mother to come home from work. We played nicely, cleaned up around the house, and made sure that all of our homework was done.

Right…

The truth is a bit messier as we were only in elementary school and had no ability to think beyond the next minute of wrestling, arguing, or the simple fooling around that brothers do. My mother was coming home from a boring day of work, a kitchen bereft of any food, and the idiocy of two sons who had been cooped up for the last two hours because of the cold drizzle outside.

“Let’s go get pizza,” she said as she took account of the prospects for a relaxing evening.

This was great. After being stuck in school and our apartment all day, a trip to Olde Towne Pizza was about the best thing ever. We walked in and the smell of cooking pizza wrapped around us taking every bit of cold from our insides. We went with pepperoni and a pitcher of Dr. Pepper and waited for the deliciousness to be delivered.

Music in December can be an iffy prospect. Olde Towne Pizza had the juke boxes in the booths back then. For a quarter you could punch the buttons and wait for your favorite song to play. Evidently, someone had robbed a Brinks truck that was full of quarters and they were in the restaurant programming the music. Two songs took turns playing. The first was “Magnet and Steel.” The chorus went, “You are my magnet and I’m your steeeeeeeel.” It was cringeworthy. The second was The King, Elvis Presley, singing “Blue Christmas.” Baluooooooe, Baluooooooe, Baluoooooooe…

The music made it seem like it took forever for the pizza to come. All the while the two songs assaulted our nerves in a way a Bisquik pizza never would have. The Olde Towne pie finally arrived and I could not tell you if we even tasted what we ate. Truth is, I think we might have gotten it boxed and made a mad dash through the rain for our car. I don’t think I ever ate there again despite the pizza being good. Take out was okay, but risking the juke box made eating there a no go.

Recently, my dog and I were riding down the highway listening to something on the satellite radio when an old tune came on. I write this sheepishly, but I sang every word of that song. “You are my magnet…”

How do I get my students to learn like that?

IMG_1107

What is it about kids
That make me sound
Like my parents?
How universal is
The genetic code
That others feel the same way too?

Shut the door.
Walk the dog.
Get a shower.
Eat some vegetables.
Go to class.

I guess it’s just how it goes.
Our destiny is to raise
What we once were.
Kids.
Like it or not,
They are us.

The sixth grade qualification
For being a father?
“I take baths without you guys asking.”

Thank goodness it’s
Not that easy.

Of course tonight
The eleven year old will right the parental scales
When he has to be asked to take a shower.