Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Where there is doubt, faith...despair, hope, darkness...light

Nick, Jack and Gus on their first day of school.

Rebecca on her first day of high school. SNIFF!!!!! I feel like I'm throwing her to the dogs!

I think it's harder to let your first-born go to high school than to kindergarten. I mean, when you live in a more liberal minded town like mine, everything is accepted and everything is on equal footing. There is really no real "truth" to live by , one mostly has a moral relativism that functions as the 'truth' of the day (unless you are a conservative Christian--then you don't matter at all) That being said....

Rebecca started high school this year as a ninth grader. A few days before the first day of school, I had to make my way to the counselors office to help her change one of her classes. As we walked through the Science wing of the school, I noted how dark, depressing and narrow the hallways were. Not only that, every wall was covered in some sort of mural painted by youth of the past. Some were very impressive paintings while others only mediocre. One large mural displayed a colorful tree inset with faces and animals. The words Gaia were painted above it. ( I assumed it was the pagan goddess gaia?) Walking on I viewed another mural above another teachers' doorway. Painted there was the image of death with the words: Doom to all who enter here. The word "Here" was painted in a Halloween type font with blood dripping down. How happy! In the counselors office, the secretary had decorated her area with posters depicting herself as a goddess...or secretary goddess, Christmas lights hung around, etc. Stuff that helped her seem "cool' to the kids, I would guess. I assumed she was fairly young, but as she walked up and spoke to me with her half-chewed sandwich in her mouth, I realized that she must have been 50 years old. Pink triangles dotted the hallways indicating that this school was a 'safe zone' for those who are gay. Other signs invited young people to join groups of all sorts of affiliations or persuasions. Did I mention that there is no dress code for the place and the girls wear VERY provocative clothing and boys wear offensive t-shirts of every type..oh wait correction...the t-shirts are not allowed to degrade women. Gee, thanks. Did I mention that the rock radio station that was blaring down the hallway was coming from a teacher's classroom and is well liked by the constantly bashing something, with D.J's hurling expletives at each other and laughing at what they view as 'traditional'. Nothing is held back, it seems that self- gratification/self-expression in all its forms is matter what the consequences may be. Why do we as a society welcome it ALL???? Do we think we are actually doing our teens a favor by allowing all of this? Negativity, negativity, everywhere.

This high school has been listed as one of the top 10 high schools in the country in the past, and is currently in the top 100. The people in my town are wealthy, educated, mostly white, and busy, busy, busy-I would even say too busy for their kids. My point is, there are SO many mixed messages thrown at these kids everywhere--some good, some bad. Boy it can be a confusing place if you arrive here without much conviction or direction from your parents about what is right or wrong.

This is where youth workers need to take our jobs VERY seriously. There is only ONE message that we need to convey as a church and that is the positive message of Jesus and WHO He died for. It's a positive message. The only thing on OUR wall is the crucified Christ, our message it is one of hope, charity, love!!! We need to present the youth with the counter-cultural message that you CAN be a happy and fulfilled person as a believer in Jesus. Young people are hungering for something to fill that void that we all have in our heart....filling it with everything alluring thing that the world gives only leaves them feeling empty and incomplete. Youth need to know that they are LOVED by someone, anyone, and they'll go anywhere to find that love. If you are a youth worker, please at the very least, make sure your young people KNOW that Jesus loves them, that He gave his life for them. Give them a place to be themselves, a place away from all the noise and confusion, a place where they can be quiet and reflect on the beauty of our Catholic Faith, give them the tools to fight temptation and find purification. But most of all make sure that they know that NOTHING can separate them from the love of God. Nothing. Not even well-intentioned public high schools.....


Amy Caroline said...

I was very inspired by what you wrote. I am definately linking this!
How are you doing?? Getting close, no?

Rosemary Bogdan said...

"Did I mention that there is no dress code for the place and the girls wear VERY provocative clothing and boys wear offensive t-shirts of every type..oh wait correction...the t-shirts are not allowed to degrade women. "

But the girls are very welcome to degrade themselves by what they wear, right?

Great post. Found it through Amy Caroline. I remember how I cried when my oldest started high school... these are scary times to raise children....

Michelle said...

My point was the same as Rosemary's: no need for the boys to degrade the girls; they're doing a good job all by themselves.

What a frightening adventure you are on! I'll add your daughter to the growing list of other teens I know who are in or entering HS for whom I pray.

Georgie Tamayo Clemens said...


went to the dr's today and am 3cm. Good. Less work for me in the long run. They plan to induce me for practical reasons on the 27th of Sept...7am...eeeek. I am so ready back, feet, tailbone are all saying: stop! stop it now!


How ironic yes? That the girls choose to degrade themselves all to get attention from the boys.

I know I painted a gloomy picture of the hs here, but there ARE pockets of really good kids...many from the youth group at my church who are really trying to do the right thing and make sound choices. The good thing is that I can counter all these negativities with my daughter while she is living with me. When she goes to college, I will not be able to protect her. Hopefully by then, my husband and I will have instilled good values in her.

Grandma Mary said...


This is truly scary!! This is why our job as Grandparents is to pray for our children and grandchildren every single day of the year. The world is totally out of balance, however, we must believe that there is definitely a network of wonderful young Parents out there that will save the children of the future.

Thanks to you and Chris and our other chldren for staying so close to the children. Love is the only thing that will save them and all of you are certainly giving them that.


Grafted Branch said...

Why not homeschool? It's awesome, and the only dogs are the domesticated ones you've trained yourself.

I found your blog from my sitemeter...someone surfed there from here. Nice to "meet" you.

Georgie Tamayo Clemens said...

While I believe homeschoolers are amazing people who do great things for their kids, I don't consider it an option for our family. I was public school educated and so was my husband. We faced many of the same issues that my daughter will face. The good thing is that we are here to "counter" all the things she will see and experience in high school, and will be a great opportunity to "teach" her what we believe. When she moves on to college, I won't be able to be there when she is exposed to such craziness, but hopefully, with us guiding her through the same things in high school, she'll be prepared to make good, solid, decisions about making friends, her life, and values and morals. She's a strong young girl, with many friends at the high school that are active in our parish youth group as well as other church youth groups. They stick together and strive to bring Christ, a positive focus, and good morals to the school.

I'm not too worried about Rebecca and her friends...I know their parents and the types of morals they hold..all good. I just feel sorry for the youth who have no direction or family to steer them in the right direcction.