September 17, 2022

Failing Or Higher Priorities - "The Talk"

 So I'm not doing so hot on my writing and piano practice goals for this year.   But I guess I technically didn't put writing on my list.  So 4 out of 5 isn't bad, and I still have time to learn 1 song to still meet that goal.   So I won't give up that one since I'd say the other 4 are going reasonably well.  Though the stress level is an interesting one.  I sense that the stress of the last 2 1/2 years have been impacting more than just me and in very different ways, and in some cases taken out on me.  So I will just roll with it and keep trying to help alleviate it and put it into positive energy and positive changes at work.  

So my husband has been experiencing death of classmates very recently.   Which while I'm sad for him and them they had about twice as long or more than the first round of 4 I went through in and just after college.  Recently this year, 2 more from my high school class were added to those tolls.  The graduating class of '96 is taking a toll on the overall life expectancy and especially for women.  

So he was off at a much needed funeral or celebration of life the other week spending time with people that had done some growing up since he last saw them.  Which, I much prefer celebration of life and no open casket trend that seems to be happing now that we've hit middle age.   While he was there I spent some much needed time with my daughter.  We had "The Talk."

"The Talk" is probably not what you think it is.  No she's known about sex and how babies are made for quite awhile and repeated for learning and understanding purpose.  She's not quite made it to her period, but we are expecting it any day, month, or year now.   No "The Talk" we had was around adults in her world and appropriate behavior.   She's grown up with the annual age appropriate no one sees you naked not even friends except (now) me if she needs help, or the doctor if there's a problem we need her help with.  We've even talked bluntly about the rape stories in the Bible vs gloss over what happened as was the tendency when I was growing up.  But we took it to the next level and talked about how adults can 'groom' kids and gain their trust in an effort to rape them.  I had a very personal example I shared with her of someone I went to school with that became a teacher and is now in jail (thankfully that was handled appropriately when found out, but should never have been allowed to happen in the first place if adults had good sense in the first place).  So because of the details I know about that case I got very specific with her that a teacher should never call her or any of her classmates out to spend time alone with or or any of them except for known reasons like her piano lesson that happens at school.   I shared with her that he had access to start grooming the girl he raped as early as 6th grade, which is the grade she's in this year.  I also let her know that I share this not to scare her or to make her afraid of all of the teachers, pastors, and adults around her,  but to enable her with the confidence to stand up for herself or to help a friend if they are ever in a situation like this that they don't know how to handle.  

 That's person I went to school with has probably been in jail about 9 or 10 years or so. I guess we learn and grow because thankfully background checks and regular training are now required of her teachers, pastors, and any volunteers including us parents that participate in any of her activities.  However, that doesn't mean first time offenders can't slip through that process.  This conversation was triggered by a DocuSeries I watched on FreeForm leading up to our weekend together called "Keep This Between Us," which reminded me of the age and timing this started with this asshole, and that she is not far off from the age of offense and certainly within the age of grooming.  So it's important for me that she be on the look out and know she can talk to me or another trusted adult if something doesn't seem right.  We will continue to have this talk regularly so she's aware and prepared for how to respond if she ever feels uncomfortable or has the sense that something isn't right.  Better to follow her gut and be brave enough to speak up, than let herself or someone get hurt.  It was a good talk and she had great questions and appropriate disturbed reactions to adults raping children.  We also talked about the reverse example of Mary Kay LeTourneau so that she understands this can happen to any of her classmates.  So this conversation will continue while she lives at home.  

This is not a conversation I had growing up.  I don't think it was less prevalent.  I think it was behavior that was swept under rug, excused, or relocated.  I distinctly remember being told to lock my door once when we had houseguests as a kid.   However stupidly I recall being babysat by the same person at least once, so honestly it's probably a miracle that nothing happened to me.  In my current life if I knew of or suspected anyone was raping or molesting a child, 1. I would report it and 2. I wouldn't associate with them to put my child at risk.   I think it was thought that I wasn't pretty enough to be target.  It's not about how a kid looks, it's about opportunity, and I think kids need to be educated to make sure they understand and speak up to help protect themselves and others.  I pray my daughter and her friends and classmates are surrounded by upstanding adults that are truly looking out for their well-being and best interest.  But she will be educated by me to keep a watchful eye and speak up, as opposed to to blindly trust all adults in her world none-the-less.  

My only advice is to please talk to your kids.  They are smart and can handle heavy topics.  When they know you are looking out for them they will trust you.  Make sure they understand the world is not surrounding them with cotton candy and cotton. Bad things happen, but they don't have to sit there and take it, they can fight back.  They won't be afraid to talk to you if you respect them enough to have honest and transparent conversations with them.