First: I probably would have woken up a week later with a sore ass and serious headache after having the daylights beat out and sense beat into me by one, or possibly both, parents.
Secondly: I would have been grounded. The term might have ranged from the duration of summer vacation to eternity. You can’t argue with the executive (and relatively arbitrary) decision making powers of parental units.
Finally: I never (ever) would have done it again. I remember an incident where I called my mom a bitch and that’s not one I’m likely to ever forget OR repeat (even 22 years later).
Why is this important?
Because yesterday afternoon, I stumbled on a story on Huffington Post that ripped my heart out. It goes something like this:
Karen Huff Klein is a 68-year-old widow who works as a bus monitor in Greece, New York for a paltry $15,000 per year. A student captured some other students verbally assaulting her on his camera phone, recording the whole thing and posting it on YouTube. Here’s where I interject that my mom’s name is Karen and she used to drive a school bus. Possibly neither here not there, but when I see the woman in the video cry, I think about my mom and what I would do to any shitty little misbehaving miscreant who would dare say anything to her that would make her cry.
Well, here’s the power of an equation that includes an elderly bus monitor and rude children: it ferrets out the real humans in our world.
Someone decided to setup an IndieGoGo campaign to raise a little money so Karen the Bus Monitor could take a vacation away from these pathetic and unappreciative pre-adult specimens. They figured $5,000 would do the trick.
When I contributed last night, the campaign had already raised $60,000. This morning (as of this writing), the campaign is up to over $170,000. You can learn about the campaign and make a contribution here.
I think Karen is done being a bus monitor.
So here’s where I wrap this up with a few thoughts:
- If you’re able to watch that entire video without getting sick, your Humanity Meter needs recalibration.
- If you’re a parent, schools aren’t foster parents or daycare centers. Start raising your fucking kids. Stop being their FRIEND and start setting limits.
- If you’re a school administrator or teacher, bus driver, teacher’s aide…stop taking shit from kids. Stop it. Just fucking stop it. You’re not responsible for raising these kids, but you can demand the respect you deserve for doing one of the most admirable jobs in the world.
- Let’s think about when we started letting kids act like little assholes and when they stopped being told the importance of respecting their elders. I’m not yet blessed with being a parent, but here’s what I know will happen when that day comes. I will love that child, for better and worse. I will do my best to teach him right from wrong — praising when right and dispensing discipline when the wrongs warrant. I’ll try to not sweat the small stuff, but if he fucks up royally, he’ll know it and never have to wonder. And I will raise him to show the grace of Karen Huff Klein when faced with the evils that our fellow humans can dish out. I will remind him often that everyone deserves respect and that the greatest gift he’ll ever give himself is to be humble and learn from those who have walked this world longer than he has. Most importantly, he will never doubt who his mother is, that I love him, and when life warrants, I will still beat his ass when he’s is 57 if he acts like an asshole.
***I wrote a letter to the school principal — you can read it here.