My best friend and I often take our kids to play at the park together when the weather is nice. We have a couple of parks that are our "normal" places, but one day we went to a park I hadn't been to in a long time...
While my kids and their friends played happily on the playground and had races across the field to see who could touch the tree and make it back the fastest...I was treated to scenes right out of the Parents Handbook of Horrors.
First of all, there were 3 other children there, two boys aged 6 and 8 (yes, they told us that!) and their disinterested older sister. They arrived around the same time we did, and the two boys took up playing with our kids. I nearly fell over when the 6 year old called to my BFF Amanda's son, Thomas (also 6), "Hey Stupid Head!" and took off running. I was even more amazed that Thomas didn't blink an eye at this insult and went running off with the other boy.
When I mentioned it to Amanda, she said something to the effect of, "Its normal. Its what they hear all day at school."
Oh, homeschool, you blessed thought!
And then...oh boy then...Middle school let out.The middle school is a block away from the park, so I had the strange and disturbing experience of watching these 11-13 year olds walking home. Many of them cut across the park or even took up residence at the picnic tables surrounding the playground.These kids are just a year or two older than my oldest daughter.I was shocked by three main things, which I just have to write down.
First, of the probably 4 dozen or so of these kids that crossed our path, I'd say at least 40 of them were fat. I don't mean a little chubby or maybe haven't lost their baby fat yet, I mean FAT. I mean 200 + pounds on 12 year old kids. I was amazed. Here they came, dripping sweat from their one block walk in the cool breezy afternoon (so cool, in fact, that Amanda and I had to move out of the shade in order to warm up). I'm thinking wow. My kids walk 2 or 3 miles at a time and don't break a sweat. Amanda and I began reminiscing back to our own middle school days, and the times we ourselves had walked that same route, across the park on our way home. It was perhaps 2 miles from the school to my house, and I never once thought it was long. But these kids were dripping - literally dripping - sweat and panting from walking one block. I saw kids I could fit 3 of myself inside - 12 and 13 year old kids! And I thought to myself, you know all those people who criticize homeschool because they think the kids don't get enough physical excercise and are worried about their health and "athletic ability"? Here's a thought for them: get your own house in order before you start criticizing the messes you think MIGHT be in other people's lives.
OK, the second thing: perhaps half the kids we saw were girls. Girls. Not women. 11, 12, and 13 year old girls wearing clothes any decent hooker would blush to wear. I am serious. I know these kids have uniforms to wear to school, but man, the minutes they're off campus they change! Girls in super tight, super thin, super low-cut tops, girls who had stripped off their khakis in favor of the super short shorts underneath. And those girls worked it. They sashayed their hips and bent over at just the right times and squeezed their cleavage for all they were worth. And yes, a number of them were overweight as well, so it wasn't a pretty sight. Most of the girls, though, were the skinny ones - and I saw pretty much every inch of their skinny little bodies, because they made sure to show them! Not to mention the make-up! Yikes! And I looked at my 10 year old daughter in her t-shirt and baggy shorts, with her ponytail and her big blue eyes, and I thanked God that these were NOT the people she would be attending "middle school" with next year.
And then, third. The LANGUAGE!!! Those pre-teen kids would have put a whole ship of sailors to shame! And they were not quiet about it! And I thought, you know that kid who called Thomas a "stupid head"? That's where it starts, you go from stupid head to moron to ***hole. You go from You're not my friend to You're not cool enough to Shut the f*** up. And these kids - these KIDS - these boys and girls were plenty open with their "affections" as well - from holding hands to lip locking over the picnic table to hands in places where they didn't belong, all the way up to fights, calling each other names (I heard "whore" at least once) and screaming profane insults at each other across the playground.
This? This is the socialization I'm supposed to be worried about my kids missing?
I think I'll pass, thanks.