01 July 2007

Saturday Night's Full Moon

Sometimes, when I am not too cranky, busy, tired, etc, I will drive my son and his friends to their assorted Saturday night engagements. I have seen some sights during these times and last night was no exception.
Parties, Gatherings, and other names for a Riot
Young people have a lot of difficulty convincing parents to have them in the family home on a weekend night. I have negotiated with my son about the specific meaning behind the word 'gathering' or 'few'. I learnt to be very clear about numbers after having a party. When I take him to little 'shindigs' and there is overflow onto the street, I have empathy for whichever parent didn't get clear about numbers. I assume the parent is home, or at least aware when I say that. I heard a classic story about an individual who sent a mass text to friends, inviting them to a get together, and in the frenzy to get the news out, included the absent parental unit. Oooops!
Pre outing drinks
The outing is preceded by assembling at someones house and having a couple of bevvies, whilst completing final touches to grooming. Straighteners, assorted hair products, alternative outfits etc are lugged to the nominated house and the girls all have a 'prebrief' (before the event debrief). I have heard harsh comments. Once all the final touches have been made a number of photo's are taken, often appearing on myspaces.
Most Recent Event
Last night I took them to an 18th at a venue. Looking splendid and slightly tipsy, they joined the throng on the footpath. After a visit to the supermarket, I did the parent thing and drove by again to check they had got in safely. There had been a problem with this venue as the host had been forewarned that only a small number of under 18 year old would be allowed in, yet the birthday celebrant had clearly invited many more than that.
The Debrief
It was an early, yet eventful night. The debrief happened at the end of the night, with another parent and a smaller, still upright group. As a teacher, I get drips and drops of what has occurred over the next week, yet last night all the information poured in on the spot. There had been friends lost, wandering, beaten up, broken hearted and the usual written off by alcohol. The most glamorous, beautiful young people, time and time again, shred their careful appearances by drinking too much.
I worry about fights, alcohol, self-esteem, about my son and the kids I teach. I am concerned about them all. It is a juggling act to stay open enough that they could call you if they need you and to not condone or support their risky behaviours. There are many parents who are prohibitive and clueless about what really goes on. I think this is dangerous. I don't feel judgemental about these kids. I love them. I know, nothing new here, but it is scary to watch.


coach said...

This should be compulsory reading for all parents of teenagers. My daughters aren't there yet but I recognise everything you have said from talking and listening to my students. It's such a balancing act - providing room to grow and still protecting. The young must be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, I just pray that the mistakes they make are not catastrophic ones. Your son is lucky to have a parent who is interested and thoughtful about the issues he faces.

Kat said...

Joh this balance must b tough but I think you'r achieving it ...lol and you'r making me try to rmmbr what I was like with the prebrief/debrief thing -I don't think I was ever really in to it [well, not in the sense you'r talking about].

on a slightly [but not entirely different] note; you wouldn't hapn to plan on being in Melb this Sunday would you? cos Ewen and I'l b passing through and I thought it'd b worth at least checking on the offchance you'l b around.

Joh said...

Thanks Coach, that's what I love about kids, they always keep you on your toes. I am praying for all kids that their learning experiences aren't too costly.

Joh said...

Kat, You and Asha were totally different to these guys in all respects. Still lovable though!

Holidays, unsure of plans, yet could make plans to see you and meet E. It has been too long!