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Where did they miss it?

I have a reoccurring thought about past school mates.  It is a generalization on a grand scale and for the most part, no one in particular is identified.  I went to a lot of different schools in many states, so I am fairly detached and frankly don’t remember many of them.  But that is not what I ponder.

The thought usually drifts in when I watch people behave poorly.  Sadly, this is almost daily.  I wonder how they got from being a well behaved student sitting next to me in the 3rd grade to the obnoxious person they are now.  Why do some kids “get it” and others don’t is a real mystery to me.  Why do most people go through school, learn the ropes, adjust to behaving properly and some miss it by a mile?  That is what I don’t understand.

This past week I witnessed one of the most illogical and irresponsible acts I’ve seen in some time.  A man and a woman in a white Chevy 4X4 pick-up were driving on the Blue Heron Park Hike/Bike Trail.  My bride and grandson were circling the pond on a bike when I spotted the couple.  Of course I confronted them and the man told me, “We are squirrel hunting…”and they had a firearm of some sort.

Now it has been raining for about 2 weeks and the ground is soft, so when I declared I was calling the cops, they lit out of there, sending mud and grass straight up in the air.  They drove down the 10-foot wide hiking trail toward Barkuloo Park partially on and partially off leaving more ruts.  They drove right past the sign that declares no motorized vehicles are allowed and into the Chaparral Village subdivision.

Now where were these people when the rest of us were learning to read?  Where were they when deductive reasoning should have taught that squirrel hunting at 3pm on a city park walking trail with a firearm wasn’t a logical option?  How could they possibly justify driving a full-sized truck across a city park and rutting it up for their fellow citizens?  Wouldn’t it have been legal to actually park in the parking lot on Blue Heron and walk into the woods?  Well, then there is the rifle issue and the fact that the woods are private property to consider.

Two weeks ago on a Saturday morning, I was running at Blue Heron Park when I heard a car pulling a disturbing stunt over in Walter Jenkins Park.  The maneuver is called “drifting” and involves smoking the tires for a long period of time while going in circles.  It continued for about 5 minutes, despite the fact that the car had a definite miss in one of the cylinders.  I imagined daddy was paying for those tires, as the character was peeling the rubber off at an alarming rate.

For the column, I measured the distance in Google Earth and I was a half mile away and it sounded like I was right there.  I’ve seen evidence of this activity in Jenkins Park before and knew exactly what the guy was doing.  Where was he when the rest of us learned not to do things like this?  Did he miss normal behavior ethics growing up?  At what point in his life did he decide the rules didn’t apply to him and the whole neighborhood would see him as a super star?

Another oddity I’ve observed over the years is how a meek and well-behaved man or woman turns into Don Rickles when they get behind the steering wheel of a car or truck.  They become arrogant and inconsiderate and yes, sometimes angry.  They cut you off without a second thought, tailgate, and zoom past you only to slam on the brakes and turn.

I think I would like to go back to any single classroom I sat in and look at where each person went and accomplished.  I’m sure it would be both an amazing study and probably a tragic one also.  Some ugly ducklings would become beauties, while other very promising school mates would crash and burn.  Some would blossom and become success stories and wonderful model citizens.  The kid who had it all might end up in prison or be killed in war.  Most of all though, I would witness their social transformation and the underlying causes.

Aw, phooey; I can’t regulate anyone’s behavior except my own.  I can vocally react to bad behavior all day long, or I can choose to take the higher road of keeping my cool and doing the right thing. Yea, that’s what I’ll do, but I can’t stop wondering about those school kids around me.


Anonymous said…
Another interesting read Bert. I have wondered about some people too...Debi
Anonymous said…
I think you have been in, not only my head, but so may others. We have had the same thoughts, but that is where it stopped. A thought.

I've been on both sides of that student's desk. As a student at Burnet Elementary School, Baytown Jr High, and graduating from Lee High School, certain behavior was instilled, in the students. There wasn't a gray area. There were consequences, if not at school, then at home, and sometimes both. As a whole, I think because we knew the expectations, we not only survived, we reached, and climbed for bigger goals.

As an elementary school teacher, 21 of 29 years in G.C.C.I.S.D., I was a better teacher remembering how my students felt, sitting in that desk. I remembered the teachers that made a great difference, those are the ones I aligned my teaching. The others, I made sure I was nothing like them.

As for the difference between then and now, I think it deals with the deciding factors to decisions and actions. Consequences are harder felt, by all, when there are no expectations.
Robin Herring

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