Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The kids of today

You want to know what misery is? Misery is being forced to do "Music and Movement" when you're just six or seven years old.
"Right children now I want you to pretend you're a tree bending in the wind."
"Oh Fuck!"
"Now you're a flower opening up.... come on children on the floor in a little bal and open up like a flower blossoming."
"Fuck off!"
And that's not the worst. No Sirree Bob! The worst thing was being forced to do this in your underpants, stripped naked except for your shreddies (which is what we called our Y fronts in them days) Oh! The shame. Robert Watson with the yellow stain at the front and Emily Cuthbertson with that suspicious brown stain at the back and me with my brothers hand me downs that were a little too baggy so I fell out of them. I could have died.
The girls had the same treatment except they were allowed to keep on their vests which they tucked into their knickers so the bottoms poked out from the bottom like little wings. What sort of pervert allowed this to happen?
Miss Cathcart would be on piano and shouting instructions to us.
It's not good, it's not right. I've been scarred for life. It wouldn't be allowed today. Kids would be phoning "Childline" begging for protection.
It's not cute. It's not liberating. It's demeaning. The embarrassment I felt as a child because of this has stayed with me all my life. I can still remember being the last one to take off my clothes and standing there all self conscious in my baggy pants. I shut my eyes willing the minutes to fly by, if I shut my eyes no one could see me, see my shame.
Here's another thing that wouldn't be allowed today. At that time I lived in Cyprus in the mediterranean. We had swimming lessons which I loved except my school didn't have a swimming pool so we were bussed down to the beach. Then one teacher watched over thirty kids as we threw ourselves into the sea. S0medays it was pretty rough, waves would be knocking us this way and that. But that was OK. We didn't think anything of it. It was great fun. Now imagine that happening today.
It just wouldn't happen now. I couldn't swim then. I lost count of the lung fulls of sea water I swallowed.
"Try again." I heard the teacher shout from the safety of the beach. I did, I kept trying until I learnt to swim. By myself. No one teaching me. If you got out you were thrown back in until you swam. It's a bit like the Swallows and Amazons school of thought. If duffers will drown, if not duffers will swim. And of course duffers are expendable. Duffers are a waste of space and not needed in this world. So you fucking well swam. That was what it was like to be a kid in the armed forces overseas.
Del would have a hissy fit over this sort of treatment of kids. Everything has to be absolutely safe. No element of danger allowed. But then that's his job. He is forced to think as if he's a health a safety officer.
Take this simple activity we did at primary school. We had to make puppets. So our teacher gave us all a lightbulb each. We covered the lightbulbs in papier maché to make the heads of our puppets. When the heads were dry we were given a hammer to break the light bulb then we had to fish out the broken glass with our fingers, and reshape the papier maché head, before finally painting it. We didn't know it wasn't safe to do that. We weren't given protective gloves or eye protectors. Just get in their and do it. What's a bit of blood on your puppet it saves on paint.
I don't know what kids in civilian schools did because I was educated by the armed forces until I got to senior school. We had no bullying. Well not by our peers anyway. Life was tough, but great fun. Life was an everyday adventure back then fraught with danger and risk. No one died. No one was injured. Well not seriously.

I feel sorry for todays kids. They are over protected. They don't know the excitement that we had. I feel sorry for my own children. God knows I've tried to put them into life threatening positions. But not like we had and they're still alive. I think they grow up thinking that the world is going to protect them. They can't come to harm because there's so many rules and regulations, So they are safe. It's an illusion. I honestly think I am more prepared for this world than they are because I was thrown into the sea, I was told to deal with it myself, I was taught that I am responsible for my own safety not anyone else.

You know it would be great if you could tell me your experiences as a kid. I never went to a normal school. Perhaps your civilian schooling was different. I'd be interested to know. For instance I thought it was normal to move house every two years. Until I went to a civilian senior school and found people who had lived in the same house all their lives. What the fuck? I couldn't get my head around that for ages. So I know you have stories opinions comment me up. In the meantime....

Keep on rocking Dudes


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