Thursday, January 14, 2010

Utterly Astounding

Now, I am the first to admit that as a non-parent, I am hardly qualified to give parenting advice, however as a law-abiding, generally rule-following member of our society, who has been a major part of the lives of multiple children, related to me either by blood, or by love, I consider that I AM qualified to make a couple of observations about this situation with a 4 year old PreKindergartener who is, according to his parents, being persecuted and discriminated against because of his hairstyle. There are literally hundreds, possibly thousands of stories out there on the internet about it… My Google search, yielded 30,000 hits.
Over the last few months, I have read several articles, mostly from the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram, with regard to the situation. In the past, most of them included statements to the fact that the child has Native American heritage, and wants to wear his hair long in the Native tradition, and I'm fairly certain, that at one point, I also read that his father also wears his hair long. Today's stories, however, state that his father, a tattoo artist, used to keep his head shaved, but agreed to grow it out, along with the child, who "wants to grow it out and donated it to an organization that makes wigs for children…" Seriously people? A FOUR YEAR OLD? And the Native American heritage? Yeah, that's clearly important to the family since none of his 3 brothers have long hair, nor did Daddy until allegedly the child wanted to grow his out. I have known my share of VERY bright 4 year olds, however NONE of them have come up with an idea like growing out their hair to donate it to charity on their own. Judging from the length of his hair, this driving urge to have long locks is a relatively recent development, or else it would have been beyond the length deemed excessive by the district well before the end of October. Their "effort" to conform to the part of the rule that says boys' hair must be kept out of their eyes is to put his hair in a ponytail, ON TOP OF HIS HEAD! I wouldn't put my 4 year old DAUGHTER'S hair in that whale-spout ponytail on top of her head, much less my son's! Do they really think that it's a good compromise? His mother claims that braiding or cornrowing his hair makes his scalp bleed. UMM… what the HELL? I have done and seen my share of cornrows and tight braids over the years, and I have never seen or heard of them causing scalp bleeding.

We live in a society in which children and many of the young adults have both a sense of entitlement, and a belief that either the rules don't apply to them, or that they don't have to be followed if they are unpopular. It is parenting such as this that has bred this generation of kids. "Why Junior, the world does INDEED revolve around you, therefore, you are above the rules, go right ahead and express yourself, with no regard to anyone or anything else." Don't get me wrong, I know some AWESOME kids, who are willing to obey the rules, work hard for what they earn, and have learned to express their individuality WITHIN the boundaries prescribed by society/school districts/parents. Unfortunately, the longer I am unemployed, the more time I am out in public places other than an office environment, and the more instances I see of ill-mannered, spoiled, lazy, and unruly children. Now, I know full well that it is NOT always the parents' fault that the kid turns out to be lazy, ill-mannered, lazy, or unruly. I share living space with one such kid, who is legally, an adult. Since returning to the household, soon after I joined it, well, it's been one thing after another, all boiling down to a lack of respect for other people and the rules (in this case, of the household).

I honestly believe that these parents are looking for their 15 minutes of fame, at the cost of their child's education, and rather than seeing this situation as an excellent learning opportunity, they are teaching him to have a total disregard for the rules that have been in place, and have been working for a great many years. So far, because his parents believe that the rules shouldn't apply to him he has been exposed to:
  1. Isolation from his friends and peers at school
  2. Negative attention, and I would venture to say ridicule from around the world
  3. The idea that he doesn't have to follow rules he does not like.
Never mind the fact that the taxpayers have had to pony up an extra $30/day for the teacher's aide to "teach" him in isolation. I believe that if your child is so very bright at 4 years old that he can come up with the whole growing his hair out to pay tribute to his heritage, and to ultimately donate to charity, he doesn't particularly NEED the additional instruction that taxpayer-funded pre-Kindergarten programs provide.
That's my rant for tonight. I could have posted about it weeks ago, but, well, just didn't get around to it.

Keep in Mind:
Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door – Dr. Laura Schlessinger

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