So many things about today’s society or at least the world I live in has me feeling like we are standing around a universal trough and it’s filled with Kool-Aid. We keep getting fed the same news stories, hear the same chatter and get outraged at the same things. People seem mad as hell over things that really have little or no impact on their personal lives. Sure sometimes it’s warranted….justifiable anger, a lot of things wrong in the world. The actions, misdeeds and hurtful outcomes seem to be creating a globe with twitching masses of rage and hate.
I was clicking through my Facebook Newsfeed the other night and the big story was about “Free Range Parenting”. It featuried a family that allows their 10 year old and 6 year old to walk a mile to a park. They have been turned into Child Protective Services (CPS) several times for their parenting style. At this point I am not aware of any harm this has actually caused their children other than the fact they were held by the police for several hours because someone thought something “might” happen. So by calling the cops and CPS they pretty much guaranteed that something awful would happen and it did. The cops held the kids for several hours until late in the night without meals or the ability to see their parents…..I’m sure that will leave a mark.
Honestly I don’t have enough information about this family or their situation to form a well rounded opinion about the safety of their parenting style. I’m going to guess that most people don’t unless they are personally familiar with the family and the geographic area. That doesn’t stop the haters and the proclaimers from posting about it. I too got swept up in the emotion of it. A lot of posters commented that they were more afraid of CPS then the “free range” issue. One poster took a harsh tone with that attitude and suggested that parents get off their ass and play with their own kids. I puffed up my chest and replied with a comment that said “judge much” as I went on to judge her comment publicly. It is so easy to get sucked into this vacuum of negativity. I’m not proud, just human.
My other Kool-Aid moment this week happened yesterday. I came in after dropping my daughter off at early morning band practice. As I entered the kitchen I saw it like a beacon, the yellow canister of gum…..oh sh*t. Let me tell you about the gum folks…….this week is testing at the kids school. Perhaps you have heard some ruckus about standardized testing and the wake of destruction it leaves in it’s path….OK that may be a tad dramatic or not. For those that don’t know standardized tests have been taking over our public school systems, true story. Ask a teacher they will have very strong opinions about it and tell you how f-ed up it is in the most diplomatic way possible. Countless hours are spent teaching to the test so that schools get high scores and thus improve their districts ranking or at least slow the slide downward.
OK silly woman but what does a yellow canister of gum have to do with this testing issue? Glad you asked. Some brilliant academic determined that chewing gum during a test promotes better concentration for test takers. So now the kids in my school district all obsess about gum during the test weeks. For those that can’t chew gum due to dental work or religious reasons (that’s a joke, don’t over think it) mints are allowed. Oh yes and make sure little Johnny has a great breakfast (think cruise ship style midnight buffet) before test day, every day for 10 days (guess he can eat garbage for breakfast on the remaining school days). So when my precious child left his gum behind on day one of testing I knew I had to deliver it to the school pronto. And that my friends is sipping the Kool-Aid and it leaves a nasty aftertaste.