Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Be the Change

Today I watched Dr. Phil. Guests were the 41-year-old male teacher and his new live-in girlfriend, his former student, who is 18. Barf! He left a 20-year marriage and three kids to move in with an 18 year old girl. Her mother is understandably outraged.

He claims they are in love and just "following their hearts." With language like that you know he is wooing this child with romantic ideas, not real life. What he wants, it seems, is fresh meat. After he's done using her up, he'll dump her, too. He's selfish, cruel, and dishonest. If he truly loves her, he would be willing to give her time to grow up and make a decision based on experience and self/world awareness. He has to know that at 18 her brain isn't even fully developed, and she does not have the capacity to understand long term consequences. She is being fooled and is playing house. He is satisfying his lust for youth and using her, big time.

Her mother sees this clearly, but because she's the mother, the daughter can't get past the mother-daughter thing to see that her mother is right. So there is big time tension. Who is taking care of this girl's need for protection? This idiot teacher should know better and should be put in jail.

Another thing happened: today I heard a statistic that a shelter here in St. Paul, MN, which helps women escaping from domestic violence, took in almost 1,000 women and children in 2011. 1,000 women and children in need of protection from domestic violence in little St. Paul!? That is an outrage. Probably more were turned away, because we all know these days, there are not enough shelters and safe houses for the enormous need. What a sad, sad state our society is in.

I don't have the answers. Right now I only have outrage. Somehow we need to educate our children... girls, so they learn to see the danger signs in relationships and learn to protect themselves, and to love themselves enough to avoid those pitfalls; boys so they no longer feel this need to control and "own" the girls and women in their lives, and love themselves enough to accept life's ups and downs without fear of losing their manhood. Picture this: boys and girls, men and women, all strong and secure in themselves to avoid falling into dangerous relationships. They all value the friendships and talents that everyone provides. Friendships and love relationships are built on trust, respect, and equality. We could close the shelters and trust that our neighbors and we ourselves would all be helping protect our children.

Dream world? Maybe... but it's what a lot of other dreamers have seen as possibilities: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, Sojourner Truth, Jane Addams, Paul and Sheila Wellstone... I don't think it's too much to ask. Let's think about our own lives and how we can each make a difference with our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and those we meet along our daily journeys. Speak up, take a stand, defend children, challenge stereotypes. Maybe we can start to turn this around and create a better world.


Unknown said...

Interesting post... When I worked at Lewis House I saw so much of this...we tried to focus on the positives.. The children that came thru there had such a twisted view... These issues are not new and all we can do is keep creating awareness...

Sextant said...

Airing your life on national TV has always struck me as a desire to have one's 15 minutes of fame at the cost of your own self respect.

The situations that you describe in this post have caused me to develop a high level of distrust and dislike for my own gender.

I have read various books on why monogamy is not our natural condition and how society's expectation of long term monogamy is the root of the war between the sexes. All to which I say either BS or TS.

If you want to live in a world of 7 billion people, you had better be willing to live with some rules. I don't think it is in our nature to stop at red lights or use money, but most of us seem to be willing to subjugate our nature to societal rules that prevent absolute chaos.

It doesn't take much of a man to hit a woman, nature was very unfair that way too. So yes I agree with you, children need to learn from the time that they are tots men don't own women and have no right to act out in violence.

But I also think that we need to change society. Anyone can get a job, but when you need to work more hours than there is a day to make ends meet then a sense of hopelessness prevails. Alcohol, drugs, violence and abandonment results. We are moving to a third world nation status. It is the middle class that makes a society just and fair. Somehow America has decided that the middle class is no longer important, that a few of our citizens should live like gods and the rest can make do with the scraps. If we as a society are going to expect most of our citizens to live in an underclass, we shouldn't be too surprised when those citizens behave as though they are in an underclass. Drunk hopeless men tend to beat up women. Sure anyone can get a decent paying job, but everyone can't.

Any decency that I possess in my life I can attribute to two factors. 1) I am married to a wonderful woman who has taught me how to be a decent human being. 2) I had a decent job, very much 50's style blue collar, that allowed me to pay the bills and live in some modicum of decency. If I lost either of those two conditions, I don't think my life would have been worth living.

I don't know what the answer is, but as long as we decide that most of the wealth of the society should be funneled into the hands of a few, we are going to have the problems and eventually the mindset of a third world nation.

Twisted Quilts said...

I agree with you about the male teacher, he should be put under the jail! I was in schools for 30+ years and I saw lots of stuff but this is the worst. I had a friend whose first husband ran out on her, he ended up marrying the woman he was running around with. Then several years later he ran out on her! The first person the second wife called was my friend who was the first wife. Are these women so stupid they don't think he will do it again? Once a dog, always a dog.

I have talked and talked to my daughter. Evidently she listened because several years ago she broke her engagement to the son of a friend of ours. It took real guts to do what she did. Although it created a tense situation for awhile it was the best thing for all concerned.

Sextant said...

True Blue Nana, are your friends with Newt Gingrich's first wife?

Good for your daughter, if one had doubts during an engagement, they will probably come to fruition during a marriage.