While growing up I must readily admit that the activities of others didn’t distract me very much from the goals that I set for myself…while modest, they were achieved. I watch my students and listen to them talk and I find their take on friendship to be disquieting.

I stated to them that a friend doesn’t ask, or expect, you to do things that are against your morals. A friend doesn’t take you places where you are put in danger just for arriving. In addition, a true friend doesn’t expect you to hold their hand during their bad behavior. For example, if you are trying to quit drinking, they don’t ask you to be the designated driver. Further, they don’t take you to places where you’ll be tempted. In addition, if they are really good friends they will quit too.

I have students whose friends take them to places where they know trouble will erupt. They get taken to places where all are aware fights will occur. A true friend doesn’t endanger you. Matter of fact, they will do what ever is necessary to get you not to go. They would hate to see you hurt. A true friend has your best interest at heart, not just their own selfish desires. And, if a friend does go “bad” they understand when you don’t call or drop by. They don’t expect you to condone their bad behavior.

I understood when I wasn’t invited to parties where drinking and drugging was going on. They also understood why I wasn’t there. I cannot understand what friendship is supposed to be these days.

The kids say “they got my back”. I say they wouldn’t need too if you hadn’t been endangered by their behavior. A true friend takes the “rap” for you, not just shaking their head as you go down. When I was in the military, having your buddy’s back meant you took the bullet. And, you did everything you could to keep you and he out of ANY danger…not charging into it when you didn’t have to. It is not a test of friendship to drag your friend to a fight that you both happen to survive.

A true friend won’t let you drive drunk, drugged, or without a proper license. A true friend keeps the drunking and drugging away from you. How sad for so many that “party” means alcohol, drugs, and fights. Don’t sound like fun to me. Why must we change our personalities just to have fun? Why must we lower our inhibitions to have fun? Inhibitions are there to keep you from…oh, yeah….GETTING HURT!!! Isn’t that what we all want…less pain, emotional and otherwise???? I have known a great many people over the past nearly half-century and none of them regret missing out on that one “drunken escapade” that eluded them. No, more often than not, they regret that one “drunken escapade”. And, of all the escapades how do we know, in advance, which one will be the one to be regretted? Then why risk it? You are the only you you get…..haven’t we lost enough young people??

Most of the kids today think that we are all so old and weird, with so few redeeming qualities. If they feel this way, why do they follow my generation down the path to divorces, abortions, smoking, alcoholism, addiction, and regret??? Can’t they learn from our mistakes? Or, did they, in fact, get stupider from our glorious leadership example?? Why is the child who saw the chain-smoking parents and didn’t smoke so often the exception??? Are we so stupid that we follow blindly in the direction that we are led without regard to the consequences??

While I will admit that many of today’s kids are wonderful, and have learned a great deal from our stupidity…too many have not. Why is it acceptable in many people’s eyes that some “have to learn the hard way”, when too often learning that way leads to heartache and pain??? Didn’t we want save them from this??? Boy we did a very poor job of it didn’t we?? The pain, regret, and disappointment of poor choices is being revisited on our future generations…could this be the payment due for our transgressions while we are here??? I hope not.

There are many things I do not understand….most of what happens in Hollywood comes to mind. One of those that catches me over and over is the fact that for a teacher to have a day away from the classroom requires more work that being there. I have just gotten home after 10+ hours today, not counting the 10+ hours yesterday, the hours this past weekend, etc. getting ready for a substitute to take over my classes for a few days. I really feel for the sub. Taking over established classes for even a day is very difficult.

Beyond that, most teachers don’t provide enough work to keep the students busy the whole time. They work for 10 minutes and the sub gets to dance for 40 minutes. That would turn into a real taxing day if the students don’t want to cooperate. I always leave more than enough for them to do…in addition,the work will be graded…not just busy work. I don’t do busy work.

When I return I will be bombarded by observations about the sub, that will most likely not be flattering, but often quite accurate. The kids tend to be very good judges of character, as a whole.

I hope I prepared well enough. I hope the kids behave. I hope the sub isn’t a complete dork. I hope the administration pokes their collective heads in once or twice. I probably worry too much. No, I always worry too much. I just can’t help myself. These classes are my responsibility. And, I don’t take that lightly. Guess I spent too many years in the Air Force, duty is something I cannot shirk.

But, I do promise to enjoy a few days away with my family…in Tennessee…which is colder than here. Why aren’t we going to the beach….I know….I know in the Virgin Isles….or Tahiti…or SOMEPLACE WARM…hey, with bikinis….oh well….grab a blanket, a coat, gloves, and warm hat, its off to Tennessee.