my brilliant kiddies

Two Sweaty Dollars

two boys around the age of eight or nine ramble around the local Dollar Tree trying to decide what they want. they run down the candy aisle noisily, knocking over a shelf of Twizzlers, then throw them back haphazardly. people notice them, frown, annoyed that there are no parents governing their behavior.

the blond one, a cute little boy with an uncanny resemblance to the little boy from the Dennis the Menace movie and a highly decorated arm cast on, accidentally bumps into me while running away from the dark-haired one with freckles. they have picked up two or ten toy guns and are engaged in a high stakes battle, apparently, and don’t notice me standing there.

i move quickly out of the way. he says “oh sorry!” as he ambles past, followed by a loudly whispered “she’s hot!” to the other boy, who breaks out into hysterical laughter at the blond one’s not so discreet whisper.

i continue to shop, and about ten minutes later, i am in line behind the two boys, who have a handful of some kind of goo that sticks the the walls, random candy, and the toy guns they were playing with. i don’t notice at first, but when i hear them whispering, my attention is drawn to the black little girl about seven years old, who is in front of them checking out. she is on crutches, one leg completely immobile in a cast. the left side of her face has several bruises and scratches, as well as her right arm. she stands next to a girl who must be her older sister, about thirteen, who is telling her that she needs to put something back cause she can’t afford everything she wants. (more…)

“okay.”

there’s a young man. brilliant young man, age sixteen.

a product of the what happens when Detroit Public Schools is met with a lack of parenting, a heavy influence of peers with a lack of parenting, and the disenchantment that occurs when seeing people that look like you become more familiar with the inside of a jail cell than the inside of a classroom.

his attitude is horrible. his mouth is foul. his disposition is that of one with deep self-esteem issues. yesterday, i had a conversation with one of his tutors/mentors. “can’t save them all. i’m throwing in the towel with this one.” he said.

i remembered last week, when i asked the young man, after reading one of his writings, why he was so angry at everyone. why he chose to use the language he does. his response was “i just do. what does it matter to you?” i told him in the same nonchalant tone he’d answered, “it just does.” i told him to write one page of every thought he has during the day, because we are what we think. i also told him to try to write at least three things that he likes about himself.

yesterday, after speaking to his mentor, i sent him a quick text asking if he was doing as i asked. “naw.” was his response.

“okay,” i responded

“ok?” he said.

“yep, okay.” i said.

five hours later, i received a text. “yo, i’m not stupid. i can follow directions. i did the page. ima good writer. that’s one thing. u happy now?”

“yep. :)” i said.

“gay.”  was his response. lol

that night, his tutor called raving about what he wrote, saying how he was going to approach the lesson the next time he sees him, and asked what i said to get the young man to not quit the program like he’d said he was doing when he walked out the day before. i told him, sometimes you just have to say okay. lol.

i have a hopeless inability to throw in the towel with anyone or anything. usually, this proves to be a big personality flaw. but i am learning that sometimes in order to push, you have to pull back. baby steps, baby steps. lol.