And unfortunately at this time in the 2019 school year … a broken heart.
In life we all are affected by the "human condition" and the range of experiences from the sublime to the profane that we travel through. By all accounts. The most recent young woman who died by suicide lived in the light with her Proviso friends, teachers and administrators at Proviso East. Her passing is a tragedy of being lost and succumbing to the dark side of humankind. My experience as a BOE member and PE alum witnessed 4 unnecessary deaths to young people through gun violence in the 2000's and 3 suicides in 1970 thru 1972 of Proviso East students. No amount of sympathy or outcry can change the outcomes. So what can we do now as a caring society to provide relief to potential young victims?
We can understand the sweeping affect of collateral consequences. Too many examples of public outcry ending over time and nothing gets done. Keep in mind that the grieving and mourning process, guilt and blame are the repercussions will haunt the School and the Proviso Family. I witnessed the toll on former Principal Milt Patch and can only wonder about the burden that current Principal Dr. Hardy, as a Seminarian and Educator will have to endure. This is also very very complicated because in reality the outside world is often a hostile and threatening place to be in.
A simple solution is for adults to consider their words and actions, because your kids are watching. This goes to the top of the national scene and the American psyche. Adults STOP behaving badly, social media abuse, hate messaging, fear mongering, political pandering, hissy fits with your neighbors… look in the mirror and tell yourself "Am I being truthful? "Did I remember to ask my kids, 'How are you doing today?'" Adults that behave and act responsibly would be able to provide a primary safety net that our kids need and deserve. The ones that choose the alternative path are part of the problem.
I have jotted down, as we get older, I can't speak for everybody… our Baby Boomer generation became burdened by the weight of the chain of bullshit we take and the bullshit we make. Teens have not learned to be hypocrites yet. I was like that once. I find that inspiring to look through that lens. It was a lost Proviso East learning experience redeemed. We were like that once.
In the following days, weeks, and months let us not forget these innocent children and teens beyond our help and the suffering others that need our help right now. Keep public discussions on the table… mental health, emotional health, safe neighborhoods, stop homelessness and drug afflictions and converting feuding adults to responsible adults who then can collectively demand the resources, the preventative programs of interventions, anonymous hotlines, access to social workers, public schools as safe havens and sanctuaries, and more quality time spent between adults and their children.
Teens are not babies but why do we in the adult world of parenting often rob kids the time to be kids, seldom listen to them… or let them be allowed and to mature, make mistakes, and learn from failures and challenges that we all make and experience growing up?
If we learn it, then we can teach it and only then will be able to act in a proactive manner to help innocents from getting lost and resisting in becoming a condemned prisoner and victim to the dark side of the human condition.
Guest High School Teacher and Illinois Mandated