Yesterday one of my students came to my desk to turn in her phonics paper.
“I love your earrings, Mrs. Maurer.”
“When I grow up I’m going to have pierced ears.” Big pause and a grin. “And I’m gonna have a car with no ceiling. It’s gonna be blue. Blue is my favorite color. My mom…”
“That’s wonderful.” Smile and a pat. “Now go back to your desk and work on your handwriting.” Believe me, I could have listened to her all day, and she could have talked all day, but you have to know when to stop a kindergarten conversation. LOL
Children love to talk about what they are going to do and what they are going to have when they grow up. But the reality is that many of the children in Oklahoma and across the nation aren’t going to grow up. And others are going to grow up to have nothing- nothing but empty lives and wasted dreams. Chances are that one of those hopeless children is sitting in my class right now. I will read about him in the paper in a few years- killed in a fight, blown up in a lab accident, sent to prison.
Oklahoma has a problem that is ruining the lives of children. It’s called crystal meth.
We watched a program on television last night that described the problems created by meth. I didn’t need the program. I’ve heard first-hand from users and dealers and family members of the same. I’ve watched families disintegrate as the drug takes hold.
I can’t do anything about the addicts. I’m not going to try to get someone off drugs. I’m not going to turn in someone for dealing. I’m not going to report a suspected lab. Yes, I’m afraid. Afraid they will set my house on fire like they did my friend’s. Afraid they will hurt me. People on drugs are not rational. I will leave their care and apprehension to professionals. “Not my area,” to quote a favorite movie.
However, there is an area where I can help. There is a way that I can use my experience and professional expertise to help the problem. So can you!! We can try to keep young kids from trying meth the first time. We can work together to try to understand why some kids, despite the warnings and despite seeing the consequences all around them, try meth anyway!!! There has to be something lacking in their lives- hope, love, self-respect, security- something that we can help provide to make sure they grow up to fulfill at least some of their dreams.
Prevention has to be the key. We must give young people, and the rest of us, hope that they will grow up.