Monday, May 12, 2008

'let them be autistic'

The Pagan Sphinx: Life's Many Little Difficulties

i have wondered aloud so very much here the how, why and when americans really started losing grip with reality- and i have never really gotten any concrete answers. perhaps it's because we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world; our neighborhoods; our families, etc. that we are so very myopic. i really don't know. but we don't see other people as people and we must have everything the same across the board- restaurants, shopping centers, resorts- and the whole world must accommodate our comfort zones. we don't see diversity as a good thing- and we approach life with a clinical, sterile mentality- no germs! no differences! no toys for kids that aren't plastic (because god forbid they have fun in a non safe way)! and if johnny does scrape his knee- for god's sake get him to the er!! tell me i am over-the-top. go ahead- i dare you.

i worked with kids who went to school mainstream. these kids weren't handicapped or anything for the most part- they were pretty smart but usually missed a lot of school due to their homelives- and god forbid if you aren't within the state and federal guidelines of where an arbitrary ruling says you should be. i am pleasingly plump in my world but obese according to an arbitrary number put out by the government. so- i say fuck em! and eat a piece of dark chocolate and love every bite. but i digress. i hate labeling kids anyway. most of the kids who are special needs- aren't. they aren't. they need caring professionals taking into consideration that everyone learns differently and at a different speed. but our school systems aren't set up that way. they are large warehouses that keep your kids busy while you are at work so you can consume goods from the cookie cutter chain outlets and fill your mcmansion to the brim with crap you can't use that was made in china. these schools were designed to pump out worker bees with a mediocre education to send to the warehouses and factories right after graduation so that they could churn out the widgets that made this country the superpower that it once was.

trouble is- nobody ever upgraded anything in this country. for decades we were content to rest on the laurels of the post world war 2 folks who built up the infrastructure of this country under FDR and his unamerican new deal. i was lucky- i had a good public school education- but i also am a reader and self taught many things- one of which i did not learn in public school- to actually develop critical thinking skills. but i am curious anyway about learning- the kids who aren't- probably are teaching your kids today.

i feel for folks like the pagan sphinx because there aren't enough folks like her and there are too many folks like her co-workers. public education has become a commodity like everything else- folks showing up and punching in and then marking time until the end of the day. and parents leave their kids in these warehouses because there aren't many other options. it is a sad state of affairs. welcome to new america. this isn't american anymore- it must be neo-america.


Maddy said...

Well that's a perspective I was not expecting.
Best wishes

Pagan Sphinx said...

Thanks for this, bet. I'm so, so late in getting here to read it!

I agree with you on much of what you say, of course.

At my school, there is very little real wealth. The entertainment for kids is, of course, TV, DVDs and video games. Some have computers but from what the kids tell me, their parents are so glued to those that they get very little time on them. These are kids who live out in the country and mostly stay indoors in front of a screen. It's easy for me to see how this affects literacy and learning.

And it is a holding tank; especially for the youngest kids who now qualify for publicly-funded pre-school. Many parents send the young ones because they need daycare. Instead of digging in the sand and spending quality time with an adult, they're herded through a day that was once typically reserved for children as much as 3 years older than them. It's not an appropriate, nurturing environment.

I suppose some would criticize me for not being supportive of women who work and need the childcare. And I admit that it is a tug of war for me on this issue: the needs of children, versus the needs of their parents. But you make a good point: if people toned down their spending on stupid crap they and their kids don't need, they might be able to get by with one parent having a parttime job or no job at all.

This society just sucks, that's all.