S: Our Stories in Our Words 2010
BC: Dear Teacher, I wish you knew this about me. . . My life is complicated and it's hard to do schoolwork when I'm worried about home. I'm really quiet and shy, and I hate being in this huge building with thousands of people. You have had a tremendous impact on my life, and that's why I want to become a teacher. I hate school. I hate being inside all day. I hate being around all these other people. I'm depressed. My mom is suffering from breast cancer and I'm afraid of losing her. My grandpa died recently. He was the one person in my life I could depend on. I don't feel like I fit in anyplace here. My mom is getting ready to have surgery. I'm afraid she'll be like my uncle and think she's better then fall on the floor dead. I can't handle losing her. She is my best friend. My parents aren't fighting as much now , and we are almost back to normal. My parents fight all the time. My mom takes it out on me and my brother. I am a terrible test taker. My palms get all sweaty. I second-guess myself and totally stress out. I'm having problems with my stepdad. My real dad moved away without telling me. My dad is in prison for drugs. I haven't seen him in two years, and my mom hates him. I don't know who my dad is. My mom either doesn't know or won't tell me. I live with my older brother and never see my mom who's nothing but a heroin addict. I hate her. My mom left when I was a baby. My dad isn't much of a father. My grandma is raising me. My mom is a lesbian and she lives with my "aunt". My dad doesn't want custody of me. My mom is an alcoholic who has had so many wrecks she's lost her license. There is no electric or water in our house. We have to move because we're being evicted. . .again. I'm afraid to go home in the evening because my dad is disabled and I'm afraid he will have died while I was here and he was all alone. I worry about him all day. When I go home, I have so much to do that I don't have time to do your homework. My mom works, my dad has another family, and I have to take care of my little brother and sister, do laundry and cook. I have gone through so much just this year which is the major reason I don't try hard in school. It doesn't really matter to me anymore. I wish it did, but I can't focus on work. I can't stand it when you raise your voice. Yelling and screaming are all I hear at home. My brothers and sisters and I are hungry all summer and on weekends because my parents spend all their money on drugs and beer. I wish you knew that my life isn't the best right now. I'm having trouble with both my family and my boyfriend. I wish you knew why I'm not getting good grades. I'm under so much stress with everything going on in my life. I can't sleep at night. I have bruises on my body and I'm focused on getting away from my dad. I hate school, I hate you, I hate West Virginia. I want to go back to live with my mom but I can't because CPS took me away from her. I would love to have one new outfit to wear to school. . .just once. Everyone thinks I have a perfect life, but the truth is not so perfect. I cut my arms because it's the only way I can relieve the pain I feel when my mom and I fight. My mom left me with my dad. She won't spend time with me anymore and I really need her at this time in my life. Teenage girls need moms. My dad committed suicide. My dad lost his job and I'm probably going to have to move. My parents are going to turn me over to the state because my mom is bipolar and can't handle being a parent. I wish you were my mother. I wish I had a mother. I wish I had one person who put me first.
FC: Our Stories in Our Words Appalachian Teens Speak Out
1: Every child deserves a chance to be heard and tell his or her story. Every adult should take the time to listen. We speak for ourselves or our friends who find their own stories too painful. Here are our stories. . . | Appalachian Teens share their stories | 2010 | Mrs. Lusher's Kids CMHS
3: What Makes a Family? There once was a family of four, Till the day the father walked out the door. He said, "This isn't where I want to be, Please let me go and set me free." Then he said, "Goodbye" and made the family cry. The family of four was now down to three, and their future, they couldn't see. The three didn't know what to do. They left their home and the life they knew. So, to a new house they came. They were afraid life wouldn't be the same. But they got up day by day, life didn't seem so bad some way. Holidays were a little sad, But after awhile they weren't too bad. Soon they began to laugh again. They opened the door and hope came in. Happiness now showed on their faces, And they began to like this new place. Life was suddenly bright and new. They planned other things to do. Then one day they could clearly see, This group of three was still a family. | My Brother See the boy sitting there all alone, At the park watching everyone. With the boy staring at the orange cone. Nobody would dare talk to him, no one. I asked him if he was ready to go home. Everyone laughed at him for being different. But nobody knew he was my brother. Everybody stopped laughing when they saw me. We went home. He started coughing, So I gave him some tea. He was better. | My Dad The phone rang; the promise was made. Packing my bags in excitement, I couldn't wait. A day at the park just me and my dad; a day of fun and laughs. Sitting on the porch, I looked at my watch and back to the long narrow road. The sun was setting and my heart was too. With tears in my eyes, I told my mom, "He will be here soon." I wish I was right just so I could prove her wrong. The tears kept falling down my face, till it felt like I was sitting in a puddle. I gave up on him; I can't wait forever. Years went by and I had a new dad. This dad cares about me and shows me his love. He takes me anywhere I want to go and we laugh. He showed me the love that I could never receive from the man I once called my real father. I don't know him anymore, and he will never be forgiven for the tears that roll down my face, and for my aching heart that longs for his love.
5: Girl All Alone Looking at her friends, she sees they have it all. The clothes, the boy, the car, the parents. . . But she's all alone. No father and a dying mother is what she bears alone. But she hides it under lock and key. She dresses in black and sits in the back of the room. No one ever notices a girl who's all alone. The tears she cries are no use to count. People seem to always point and stare. Just to make fun of the clothes she wears. Why does this girl feel so alone? Even though she has many friends, a good house, and home? Why don't you ask the girl who's all alone? Believe me it would do you no good. She'd simply put a smile on her face and say, "I'm fine, what about you?" That's all from the girl who's alone. Do you ever wonder what it would be like have no parents? I don't mean a few days, so you can have parties and trash your house from top to bottom. I mean the rest of your life with no parents. that thought crosses my mind almost every day when I go home. You see, I could be without parents instantly. Let me explain why. . . My dad is dead. He died two years ago from throat cancer. My mom is sick with everything under the sun. She has lupus and about fourteen other health problems. This means my mom can die at any moment. Lupus doesn't care if you're white, black, old or young; it cares if it kills you. My mom wasn't supposed to have more children after my brothers. I guess I was a miracle baby. If I wasn't born, my mom would have no one to look after her. I've made a difference to her. When she is sick and weak and can't hold a fork, I feed her. When I sit alone in the hospital with her for three days straight, I make a difference. I just hope that I'll be around long enough to make more differences before the lupus kills me too.
6: Waiting I sit and await his arrival. The weekends are the only time I matter. I've had my stuff ready for days. Now I wonder if he knows he's late. It's bad enough I only see him two days a week. Mom said I'd never understand. I know I'm young but I'd like to know Why I hardly see him anymore. He used to tuck me in and read a story. Now I'm lucky if he even shows up. I want to know if I did something wrong. I sit here alone as the clock strikes one. He's four hours late and won't answer his phone. He used to love me. He used to care. But I don't think anymore love is there. The clock ticks. It's way past my bedtime. But I still have the slightest hope I try to hold my eyes open. I try not to cry, But soon I can't help but do both I now lie on my step silently crying myself to sleep. Whispering "Daddy, please come home." | "All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair." Mitch Albom | What He Learned from His Dad The birth at a far away land. Father wears a camo suit with a black gun in his hand. So proud he has a son But too drunk to keep a family. After returning to the hills The infant sees and knows. He grows with a father that is far, but close. They drift too far. His father gets a new family. The son loves the new but stays with the old of his mother. Grows in the woods in the mountains, And lives by the music that flows through his heart. He makes friends. He makes enemies. But as he grows, he learns to hate his father, Not from his mother but from his own soul. As he reaches the end of his child life and into his teenage years, He knows that when he's ready, His child will love, respect, and see his father.
7: How My Parents Damage Me Every parent on earth in some way has or will damage their child. Parents don't spend time with the child or care about other things more than the child. I have that problem. My mom cares more about horses than me. It upsets me when she would rather go be with animals than her own flesh and blood. I don't understand. Nothing of it makes sense to me. It honestly leaves me not wanting to even talk to her and just go out with my friends. When she wants to do something with me and I don't, she gets mad, but apparently it's different when she doesn't have time for me. But I'm supposed to make time for her. Abandonment is a problem for me, too. This seriously messes with my mind. I even go to counseling because of it. My thoughts are tortured by someone who is not even in my life anymore and hasn't been for a while. I'm guessing my glass is shattered. My dad has left me long ago, but is still living close by. I see my stepsister everyday in homeroom and wonder how great her life is. Apparently, it's wonderful by the way she brags. I see my dad constantly, but he doesn't see me. I can seriously relate to the quote by Albom. | Fear | Fear Fear is gray. It smells like uncooked meat And tastes like raw potatoes Looks like moldy bread and feels like failure.
8: Teenage Pregnancy Where do I go from here? You told me you would always be there through thick and thin. I thought you loved me, I guess not. Now my life has changed And yours is exactly the same. I gave it up for you. What a mistake that was. Wish I could go back and had left instead, But I had to listen to your stupid lies. Our future you planned is gone now. All because of you, I sit and cry. I should have listened to my mother. We all live with regrets and this is mine. I now have to raise a kid when I am still one. Thanks to you is all I can say for what you Put me through. | It was supposed to be just a kiss Just a little kiss, that was all. Then the kiss became more More I was not ready for. Now I have another life inside of me A growing bump has become my stomach. Now he does not even speak to me. I feel so all alone, this is not how it is supposed to be. I am no longer a kid because I have a child of my own. I did not listen to others; I did not listen to my own heart. I awoke the next morning and was an adult.
11: Family Night Mom and Dad are never together. They said that they would last forever. Brother cries while Daddy drives away. Mom doesn't know what to think. A window above the kitchen sink Where Mom stands while she keeps Dad banned. Baby cries as things fly at one another. Sissy tries to help but she doesn't know what to do. Nothing at all. . .not even a clue. Everyone hides in Sissie's room. All we hear is screaming and yelling. We all just want them to quit. Dad blames Mom. Mom blames Dad. Mommy cries and Dad doesn't care at all As the tears come from her bare eyes. Dad leaves as Mom screams for him not to. No one's happy, but we want to be. | Coming Home The night you came You could hardly talk. It wasn't the same. I had to help you walk. Your breath smelled bad Just like the beer you had. I tried to help you But you fought with me. You made it to the house. But fell before you could get in. I wanted to escape like a mouse. But then I helped you so you wouldn't commit a sin. You pushed me away Thinking you could do it yourself. Then I helped you again. Not knowing what to say.
13: A bully's words are like drugs, sinking into the body until it is all you think about. They are like a lion, Teasing its prey until it goes in for the kill. Like a murderer, They kill all your happiness. | Helpless In a dark alley, no one can hear me. I wish someone would come to my rescue I can't breathe; tell me what I should do! If I don't find out soon, then I will die. I can't feel myself, I feel as if I am dying. . . . Don't hurt me. I am just a helpless child. I'm scared for my life now. And, it's all because of you. You are the one that did all of this to me. One day you will pay and the Lord will come and punish you. Can you not hear my plea? I wish things were the same. They will never be like they were. Can you not understand that I can forgive but I will never forget. I am taken away from my breath. That night that you hurt me in that dark alley I wish that you could understand the way that I feel. Feel my pain.
16: Cool is Blue Cool is the color Blue It tastes like Raspberry Jolly Ranchers. It makes me feel refreshed and new. My favorite color is blue The Dallas Cowboys are blue. Blue is my true color. | Life in West Virginia My life began in New Martinsville. My life did not begin so well My parents abused my sister and me I was the first one to be abused. The State Police came in and took me. My life now in West Virginia is great. I have a wonderful mother and father. They love me for who I am We own a cabin in the mountains where all the bears and other wild animals live. We love being outside in the air Of the wild and wonderful West Virgina. I love living in West Virginia. | Living in West Virginia When I Was Young It was fun with many things to do. . .fishing, hunting, and horseback riding. We went coon hunting...a popular sport. When we weren't hunting, we were fishing or doing something outside. Everyone helps each other, and I can trust our neighbor because he's, most of the time, my best friend. If we have a problem, we go and fight, but won't just run our mouth. When the county fair comes around, we wouldn't miss it for the world; that is something to look forward to every fall. In winter we go hunting and when we aren't hunting, we take our family and play in the snow with sleds.
17: Living in West Virginia is such a scare And having a girl sixteen and pregnant is hard to bear. Down in Huntington you could get shot, Up in Charleston there are race dogs and slots. Friday night football games are such a big deal, Passing Mrs. Turman's tests just doesn't seem real. Rednecks are just around the corner, With the mine disaster, many are left to be mourners. Bullies are always in sight, Victims hold their head up with all their might. Chuck Yeager, known to have been first to travel faster than sound, International arrivals at the airport seem to be out of bound. We can't afford a new state name, As Virginia's is practically the same. This state isn't so bad, If you'd visit, I'd be kind of glad. | My heart awakened as I heard the tractor, smelled the fresh grass, and saw my favorite brown and white horse, Diamond. | Reflection The blacks of my eyes The stains where I've cried. The bitten fingernails, nervous habits stay. Since when am I the person who has nothing to say? I don't like to look into you for I become unglued. I can't believe the person I've become. You reflect my every impulse. You show me what's true. Tell me, one more time, I am not like them. My figure's too small. My skin is translucent. I pray this is simply a nightmare. I was slipped hallucinogens. This is not who I am. this was not who I was meant to be. Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, Who's the fairest of them all? Not me.
18: The cuts on her arm Reflect what's going on inside. Hate and pain within. | My Life My life was a messed up kind of life. I'm adopted. My mom is a drug addict. My dad's kind of an alcoholic. It was a rollercoaster with no end. But I guess that's the way God wanted it to be. I go to church, and I'm a Christian. Drug and alcohol free. I love my life now. At least I got people who care for me. | I was lonely that summer. There was only her beside me. The fan whirled. The temperature in the air rose. My stepfather was drunk. My mother was at work. That's the first time I killed. I fell into her spell. Little magic trick with a vanity mirror. My stepfather died. She's the only one who knew. Now I'm her prey. | I | Happiness is a party with good friends. it is your favorite song coming on the radio. It is a cold Coke in a hot afternoon. It is making it inside before the rain starts. It is a soft kitten and its "mew!" It is curling up in bed with a good book. It is the ultimate treasure.
19: Rain It whispers quietly Knocking on my roof Like little feet Dancing on the ceiling. Slowly at first Then harder; it follows me Everywhere I go and never stops. | Lying Lying is a dull color It smells like rotted food Tastes like sour milk And sounds like frightened chickens It makes you feel like an idiot | Fire The fire comes in very fast. It roars like a lion over field and brush Swaying like a dance. Finally, it's out. | The warmth of the sun Chases the darkness away And kisses my cheek.
20: Mommaw and the Long Goodbye My grandmother was an important part of my life. She always had time for me and she was always there. My grandmother was a true Christian. She knew her Bible and lived the Christian life every single day. Mommaw had a faith like no one I have ever known. She also had a lot of patience. I don't remember ever seeing her mad or hearing her say anything bad about someone. I used to go to her house and play. We would pretend we were on an airplane, watch movies, and camp out in the livingroom. Those times are some of my best memories. About four years ago, Mommaw started changing. At first, she would just forget little things. Then she started forgetting important things. It kind of scared me. She had always been strong. Then she fell and broke her hip. After that, she really wasn't the same. She went to a nursing home. I hated seeing her there, and I didn't like to visit. I would go with my family and sometimes she didn't know our names. All she could say was that we looked familiar. I couldn't understand how she couldn't know us. We were family. My parents always said that Alzheimer's Disease is truly the long goodbye. I now believe that. Mommaw died in November and I hated saying my final goodbye to her. I try to remember what she was like before Alzheimer's and that is how I want to remember her. To honor her, I want to be a good Christian. I want to be nice to everyone.
21: Beautiful Sky I heard a ding The intercom called me out of class. Why was I leaving? I put my books away. Spring break starts today. I could hear my mom crying. Something was wrong. She held me tight. Mom told me the news. Grandma had died that morning. I wanted to faint. I cried so hard. We prayed so much. Why didn't it work? But when I woke up the next morning, I was a different person. Grandma was in a better place. Jesus called her home. Now she is with Grandpa, too And every day I look up at the sky and smile. No wonder the sky is so beautiful. It's because she's in it. | Snapshots of my grandfather My grandpa sits in his wooden swing holding me as a tiny baby. He wears that old denim outfit with his Labor Union hat propped up. His glasses, shaded from the sun, let me know he is cool. The buzz of the blade on my hair keeps me intent. My grandpa sits in the chair. He is making jokes and reading the daily newspaper which occupies him as he waits for me. His cellphone rings, but he ignores it for my needs. The loud blast from the twelve-gauge rattles his hearing, but he still has a smile. Seeing the turkey flipping midair is remarkable to him. I hold up the downed game with my hands as he takes a picture. He actually has time to spend with his grandson. The engine revs up with my foot on the throttle. He hands me some cool shades. As we cruise Huntington checking out the scene, I know he feels cool when I'm with him, but I know he is nervous that I'm behind the wheel for the first time. That same truck comes down the street as fast as it will go, without me in it this time. His slurred words make no sense, but the beer on his breath says it all. He yells at me, but I just move on. I miss the old grandpa.
22: Going Back and Forth To keep me from crying My mom cooked my favorite meal. I sat in the kitchen and watched Knowing that I wouldn't be able to for a while. The real reason I was upset is still foggy. I just knew I didn't want to go with my dad. I remember not wanting to pack all my stuff and not wanting to go. But now I sit and talk to my cousin Telling him that it'll get better. And that I know how he feels. Going back and forth between parents is aggravating. It's also rather annoying. But some people have to And as a kid there's not much we can do. Just go along with it. And remembers it's not forever. | Helpless and Afraid He came to my room Saying "I have something to show you" Everyone in the house was sound asleep So out of my room I flew. I said "No," but he took off my clothes And took total control of me An older, sweaty boy over me Is something I thought I'd never see. I felt a tear run down my cheek. I tried to ignore the pain and stay quiet So no one would hear. Mother's anger was my only fear. It was sick and disgusting. I wanted him to stop more than anything. All my happiness dropped. He finally quit and said, "Get away." I crept back to my room and lay bleeding and in pain. I wanted to die. The feeling was indescribable. I promised myself I'd never tell anyone. Helplessness is all I feel. But I will eventually heal.
23: Run, Baby, Run Hide, baby, run; Daddy's home. Mommy's in the bathroom--run fast as you can. You've seen this act, the play of perfection When Mommy gets drunk And Daddy takes action. The words and tears... all embed fear. Run, baby, faster, quick as you can. You're the perfect child, thrown into a tragedy Of teenage love--and irresponsibility. Drinking and smoking, Leaving a twelve year old alone To take care of himself while nobody's home. Daddy's upset because Mommy told a lie. Now run baby run--and find a safer place to hide. She tries to play Mommy and keep her responsibilities, And covers up for those who can't. Secrets inside; a box full of times, she wishes she had never seen. Her face stays happy, and her head stays high. She works hard for what she earns. Excuses for mistakes--she decided not to make, Because she knows she's the only master to her game plan. | His Face The bruises on his face Could make a grown man cry; His shirt is filthy; They had no time for him. His dad would get up And not sit down until Bruises appeared.
24: Eyes I look up into your cold dark eyes. No love but hate, I realize. You abuse me; you hurt me and my soul. I just want love in this world. The police don't help; no one will. I guess I'll have to learn your habits. Pass them down to my next lab rabbit. Treat them like you treat me; it's all I know. The hate in this world grows and grows. | Shadow I am dull and have no limitations. Whenever the sun shines, I'm there. I'm not perfect; nobody is. I come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the time I lie on the ground Or lean on the side of a building. I follow you almost everywhere you go. I am dark. I carry your lies and sins. I know everything you do. For it is my job. | Tesla Parent | Car Crash In an unstable pitch that sounded like nails on a chalkboard, Mom slurred, "What do you want to eat?" At this point she was already fifteen minutes late picking me up from practice, and I knew from much experience that this was going to be a long and wild night. I had gotten out of the locker room as quickly as I could. Mom wasn't there, so I decided to go back in the school and watch the cheerleaders practice. I watched two different routines, one in which a very pretty blond almost dropped one of the younger girls on her face. By this time, I'd been sitting there for at least fifteen minutes, and my butt was numb. I decided to walk back out to the parking lot and see if she had shown up. She hadn't. Swearing under my breath, I started to make my way back to the gym. Suddenly, I heard the sound of screeching tires as if someone had hit his brake too fast. I whirled around to face my mother's beat-up old Mustang that badly needed a new paint job. She slowly rolled down the window and said in a hushed tone, "Hey, Babe, get in." As I seethed and entered the car, I told her I wanted McDonalds. "Mom, are you alright?" I asked in a concerned voice. "Are you on something?" Then I watched in shock as her head hit the steering wheel. The old car roared and began to accelerate rapidly; we must have been going about 80 mph when I finally broke from my trance. I reached for the wheel and then heard metal on metal. The last thing I remember before being wrapped in relentless darkness was my life flashing before my eyes.
25: The silver Sharpie likes to draw And his pictures are scary. He puts a permanent mark on all that he touches. He slides across the paper Like a slippery banana peel And makes it known that he was there. | Snapshots of my dad The world spins around as Dad picks me up and twirls me. It's been days since I last saw him, but it feels like forever. His lips press against my right cheek and I carelessly giggle loudly. I feel his prickly beard as I try to give him a bigger kiss. This was the first time I rode the bus to my dad's house. A smile automatically appeared when I saw him holding my little sister's hand. I got off and saw my sister's red curly hair, brown eyes, and small body run towards me. My dad was standing there, smoking a cigarette, and laughing. I smell his horrible breath as he picks me up and kisses me. I waited for him to call. He hasn't called in over two months. He finally calls and tells me, "Sis, I miss you and I'm gonna pick you up today so get ready. I love you. Tell Pookie I love her, too." I tell my sister to pack some clothes because Daddy is picking us up. We waited three hours, and he never showed up. It was just another broken promise. He called me and my sister and told us he had a new girlfriend, and he has place to stay for a while. I was the first one to meet her. I knew that she wasn't good for him. The last girlfriend had helped him with his addiction, but this one is making it worse. He didn't spend any time with me or my sister while she was around. We spent most of our time there watching television. I brought my laptop to his house, so his girlfriends' children could play on it. It stayed with me the whole time because my mom told me to never take my eyes off of it. My dad told me he spilled coffee on it, so he had to take it to the repair shop. I didn't see any coffee, and it was working fine. Two months later, I find out he pawned it for money to buy drugs. Now I refuse to talk to him, and he never tries to call me. . .
26: Children are like mountains. They start off as a hill and gradually get bigger. As they mature, they blow up all over everyone around them. The real problem is when someone starts drilling into them. They become weaker and weaker for every foot drilled and eventually collapse. They turn to dust, never to stand tall. That is what child abuse does to children. | Dad, Please Change Everyone has secrets; some are good, and some are bad. My secret is bad. My parents provide for me, care for me, and protect me. My dad, however, has shattered me into pieces. Since the beginning of my life, I have never been able to make my own decisions, according to my father. Every wrong move I make, he will catch it and act upon it. Most times, he will yell, yell, YELL. Often my family believes that he tries to find things to yell about. Almost every day, he finds something he does not like. Everything has to be his way, or his voice will be heard. Sometimes, I cry myself to sleep from the fury he pushes at me. My crying isn't always for me though; it's for my mother. At the end of the day, when he has not found anything to make him mad, he will yell at my mother. Sometimes, it is about how fat he thinks she is, and other times it's about how little she does. Anyone knows that being a mother is no little job. My mother works all day and when she comes home, her work is never over. I have thought of running away, but then I would think of my mother, whom I love dearly. Often I feel like my dad is going to hit my mom, but he hasn't... yet. Other times I feel bad for wanting my dad to hit my mom just so it can be over, and he can go to jail. My life at home is portrayed differently than at school. At night, I pray and pray that God will change my dad and his way, but he is always the same. Hate is a very strong word, and it is hard not to use it. My father has shattered my whole family. His ways never work and never will. My father is my hate, my fury. Honestly, I wish he would change. | How I Made a Difference I made a difference to my friend Ashley who was abused. Her birth mother gave her up to a friend as a foster mother. The foster mother abused her too. She and her little sister had to eat after everyone else, do all the housecleaning, and they weren't treated like family. One time Ashley wet the bed. Her foster mom made her walk to the bus stop in her wet clothes carrying a big phone book as her foster mom whipped her. If she dropped the book, she would pull her hair and make her pick it up. When she got to the bus stop, her mother told us to make fun of her. Her mom said she was a baby. We did not make fun of her. We just stood there. That night she made Ashley run around the trailer park wearing a diaper. I was her friend. . .her only friend until she stepped in front of a car and died.
27: Missing My Dad When I was seven years old, my father swooped me up in his arms and took me into the lane. Hockey pads neatly lined the timbers in front of the goal. I was ecstatic that my father had finally fulfilled my wish to be a goalie in hockey, just like him. He helped me put everything on, and we spent the whole day outside playing together. He introduced me to my favorite sport. Six years passed, we only speak to each other at the dinner table. even then, all that ever pierces my ears is the harsh criticizing which overflows from his mouth, accompanied by the gentle orchestral music drifting out of the Bose. "You never do anything to help around the house! All you do is watch the boob tube and shovel food into your bottomless pit of a stomach." This month, my father's parents flew in for a visit. My mom is completely insane and has migraines every day because they try to operate our house like their own. My dad does nothing about their commanding nature, even though he knows my mother is in pain. To make it worse, he invited my grandparents to go on vacation with my parents which is going to make my mom's vacation hell. My father does not support any of my activities anymore, except to write the check for lessons. I am not sure that I even have a father. All I have is a financial supporter and pain in the donkey. I wish so much to play hockey again, so we can find common ground once again.
28: Knowledge is violet It sounds like doors opening Tastes like success Smells like new beginnings And it feels like accomplishment! | During the Westest, I was thinking about. . . how retarded it is to make these tests count toward graduation getting out of school and summer my girlfriend and , so I couldn't concentrate because I'm afraid I'll lose her "Oh my gosh, I could use a nap right now!" how stupid and boring this is how cold the room is and why this building is never comfortable how there is stuff on the test that we haven't done in class yet but it's still going to determine if I pass or fail in high school how weirdly the questions are worded and how some seem like opinions what I am going to do for my birthday this weekend how much I had to go to the bathroom how much I just want this to be over because I'm sleepy mostly what I'll do when I get home my sick horse going home to play my video games doing the homework that I did not do last night dragons and a song called "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" my best friend who moved and how much I miss her the boy I really like who likes someone else my cousin just found out he has leukemia how i can't remember any of this stuff and wish I were home whether my dad will call this weekend going to the beach this summer how long these days are and how bored I am if I should tell the counselor about what happened at home last night where I'll live if Mom and Dad get divorced why no one ever believes kids | Morning I am golden and almighty Though you may not think so. I have a green thumb. I can grow and open beautiful flowers. I work with the mirror; It's my day job, you see. Everyone hates me. They always yell when they see me. Sometimes I tell you things You may not want to know. And I'm sorry for that. I'm only trying to be helpful.
29: What Measures a Child? What measures a child? Is it his score on a standardized test? Is every child standard? Does every child have a "standard" home? "Standard parents"? Can we measure him by his smile which might be just a mask? Do we measure him by what's in his eyes which might be haunted by memories? A child is made of more than frogs, snails and puppy dog tails or tests that measure his mood on a particular day. A child should be measured by what he's survived. Does he still get up and put on clothes after a night of no sleep in a house with no heat where he went to bed hungry? Does he come to school with head hung low because his father has told him. . .yet again. . .that he's worthless and was a mistake? Does he sit in class when his skin itches from dirty clothes and fleas because Mom ran off with someone else and took the washer and dryer with her? Does he feel abandoned by everyone? Is he jealous of friends who seem to have it all? Is he tortured by feelings of loneliness and depression? Is she made of sugar and spice and everything nice or is she decorated with a history of scars and pain? Why did her mom marry a pedophile? Does her mom even know she did? Why did her dad divorce her when he divorced her mom? Why doesn't he call or come to see her. . .ever? Do we measure her by the number of times she's been slapped in the face, humiliated, sexually abused? Do we measure her by the tears she's shed over her parents' battles, the number of plates and dishes smashed or doors slammed? How do we measure a child? Politicians say it's all about the test scores. Teachers say it's all about the child! Teachers say," Let's help him cope. Let's teach him to survive. Let's show him love and compassion." Politicians say, "Add more rigor; make teachers teach them the standards. That's what's important. Let's cut their pay if they don't fix them all." Teachers say, "They have enough rigor in life. Let's make their time in school a refuge. Let's show them they can find a better path. They can ride out the storm. We can't change their lives now, but we can change their future. We can let them know one adult really does care." How do we measure a child? Maybe only standardized children with standardized childhoods should be measured with standardized tests. A child is more than just a test score. Pamela Lusher, West Virginia Teacher for 30 years