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The Pecman

The Bully Project (new 2012 documentary)

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I just watched the first half of the trailer for a new feature-length documentary on the problem of school bullying in America. The link is here:

I had to stop halfway through, partly because I started to cry, and partly because I wanted to share it with you guys here.

The film is making waves in Hollywood because the distributors, The Weinstein Company, has repeatedly run up against problems with the motion-picture rating people (the MPAA), who want to give the film an R rating for language. If it's rated R, much of the audience for whom this film is intended -- kids under 17 won't be able to see it without a parent. Weinstein refuses to cut the film, insisting that the language is real, everything shown actually happened, nothing was scripted, and this is the way life is in real America in 2012. Five main kids are profiled -- some of them no longer with us -- and their story is compelling, very poignant, and sometimes heartbreaking.

This is not a straight or gay issue; this is just children who are being attacked, hassled, hurt, or otherwise ridiculed just because they're different. The documentary also interviews some parents of teenagers who committed suicide, all because of harassment (and one of them was tormented just on the suspicion that they were gay). One girl is in jail just because she waved a gun at the people bullying her -- without firing a shot.

I hope people will see this film, and I hope it'll make a difference. They have a powerful message, and judging by the trailer, it's beautifully-shot and very well-told. You can also check out the filmmakers' website at TheBullyProject.com.

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Oh, GW, how I agree. Nothing I see in this bit of video suggest that this deserves an "R" rating, unless now the truth is deemed too difficult for the young to watch.

No matter the generation, there were always those children who seemed odd to the rest of us. But bullying someone like that only speaks to the insecurities of the rest of us. We need to embrace diversity in all it's manifestations. Something like this needs to be shown in every classroom and then discussed.

My thanks to The Pecman for sharing.

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I'm reminded of that story last year where that very conservative school banned a whole bunch of books, the usual culprits like Catcher In The Rye, Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, etc. This one enterprising boy turned his locker into a little underground library, and would lend out the books to his classmates, complete with due-dates, tracking of books, etc. The censorship became a huge reason for everyone to want to read the books, and by the time all was said and done probably far more of the school's population had read those books than if they had actually been assigned.

Maybe something similar could happen here if it's rated "R" but the right word gets out.

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I hope this gets past the ratings nonsense. Language? Haven't the ratings people been to a school campus (under 18) or a community / junior college? (usually 18 - 21, occasionally younger or older) Haven't they ever been to a mall, park, or school ballgame? Come on, get real. Kids cuss. A lot. Adults cuss a lot. I had to learn to let loose, except in private, and I still don't cuss as much as most people. Uh, but yes, I can tell you the word-history behind many of those words.

Almost none of what I saw in that short clip shocks me. At least two of the subject kids in the clip looked and sounded like average, ordinary kids. Nice kids. Like relatives, friends, or people I know, and certainly like classmates I knew. Or maybe like me too. One of the boys has unusual features, much like a friend or two from school or later on in life. He doesn't look "average," but he does look like those friends. No one tried to strangle or sit on me, except during one fight in school, but that happened.

That's likely one of the reasons it doesn't shock me. It isn't always about whether you're gay or not. It can be because you're handicapped. Or from another country (accent, looks, manners, anything). Or any other little difference that someone can latch onto and make fun of someone else because they are different like that. I'm not surprised that it happens. I'm not too surprised by what goes on, or how the bullied kids feel.

But people need to know what it's like to be in those kids' shoes, to feel like an outsider and have to deal with that on a daily basis, so that peple can wake up and act differently, to counter it and stop it, and to be a friend and a listener, a shoulder, a champion, when that's needed.

As one person says in the clip, it is amazing what one person can do, to be a friend, an ally, a person in common with another person who needs that. When it seems like nearly everyone thinks you are too weird / different, it can be really special when even one or two people see a friend there, someone they like, who isn't so "different" or "weird" to them, someone who either doesn't care about the weirdness or who likes it.

Growing up, I got way more flak from being handicapped than about assumptions that I was gay. I discounted the gay slurs, because I thought (usually rightly) that they were just another way of making fun of being different, saying someone was too different to tolerate. It wasn't until I was older and my feelings began to surface that I began wondering why I was getting those gay slurs too.

One thing about growing up with that much bullying or teasing: You get both a thick skin and a hot button about it. The other thing is you likely have to fight off internalizing it, wishing you were not so different, yet you may or may not grow out of what makes you seem different to others. I think the third thing is, you become strong enough to counter it when you still run into it, directed at yourself, or especially directed toward others. It can lead to being very outspoken about it.

Yes, I'm about as well adjusted about it as you can be. Honest questions and curiosity don't bother me. Having some nut lean over to their spouse / friend and say, loud enough for you to hear, that they think you are handicapped(!) as though it is some contagious and scandalous thing, is not the way to be my favorite person. The last time that happened, I was not outspoken enough right then to counter it. But that was then, and it was about me, not someone else. I've been known to speak out at times. I try to be friendly when I see someone else who's being ignored or mistreated. It maybe helps a little. I know it can sure surprises someone that I didn't join in on thinking they were too strange. I have also been surprised when someone knows what's up with me and is unobtrusively nice or helpful. I tend to think they've been around someone else who was too.

One of the kids I went to school with didn't make it to his senior year. He got in trouble over something (sexual) and committed suicide. It was not something he had to die over. The world won't get to know the kind of man he would've been, in only a couple of years and after. The loss was senseless and needless.

Other friends transferred schools due to bullying; the threats were all too credible. The guys andgirls were only different, not the average, or handicapped, or rumored to be gay, and not bad in any way. Bit becaise they were different, they got bullied for no reason.

It might be anything. The point is that bullying is out of control, it's hurting good people, and it needs to stop. There must be ways to stop the worst of the bullying, at least. There must be ways to give coping skills to at risk folks. There has to be support from leaders at school or work or elsewhere in the community. It can't be an "oh, it's someone else's problem, we won't help," sort of thing. Or the bad guys win.

One cousin's child is just now finally getting past some of the acute shyness from elementary and middle school, merely for having a little hearing trouble and being a little overweight as a kid. It was serious enough that he was too quiet and shy, yet clearly a good, smart kid. If so many nice kids like that are so reluctant, it is going to be tougher later in life to get past those early experiences. ...But you have to be around, still living, to get past that crap.

I wish people would quit denying what is right there in plain daylight. I wish kids at risk would get the support, the friends, the resources, so they don't feel so bad so often, and so that so many don't wind up a statistic, hurt or killed or a survivor of this or that. Whether they are the smart, smiling, photogenic kids, or the ordinary kids, or the not so ordinary, they deserve a decent life and good friends.

But there is one other thing about it: What goes around comes around. One day, they'll be in charge. Let's hope they learn the best ways of doing that too. So often, they are not seeing a good example from people who should know better and should be doing more to support all the kids.

I'd like to see this documentary. Crying? Maybe. More likely, some cheering for the kids. Yeah, sadness for what they go through, and for those who don't make it. That too. -- Keep at it. They can't give you crud 24/7, and there are always also people who are decent and a few kindred souls.

One bit of advice from another documentary: "The bullies won't be powerful forever. Right now, in school, is when they are at the peak of their power." The quote goes on to say something like, When they get older, they are just mean little bullies. Most are that. A few become bigger bullies because they clutch at some position that gives them an illusion of power. But they don't last either. It's only an illusion. -- So find the ways around it all and outwit and outlast and out-humor the bad guys. They usually have no idea how to cope with that.

Smile. It'll confuse 'em and make 'em wonder what you're up to.

I'd like to see the documentary on this.

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There was a piece in this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly on Down's Syndrome people (mostly kids) who are high-functioning enough that they can work as actors in TV shows and films. One of them -- the one who plays "Becky" occasionally on episodes of Glee -- told an awful story about being knocked down in hallways, called names, and being forced to eat sand.

God almighty, what the fuck is with kids today that they have to treat people so badly? I told my partner tonight that my two worst memories of bullying from my entire life both happened to mentally handicapped people during Junior High. It didn't happen to me -- it happened to other people. But I didn't try to stop it from happening, and that bugs the hell outta me today. Nowadays, I'd beat the living crap out of anybody I caught doing that, without any regard to my own safety or health. Nothing is worth seeing people abused.

On of the kids in The Bully Project appears to have some physical problems -- not necessarily retarded, maybe just a little different. But I don't doubt that every day in school for him is a living hell. The preview doesn't show the R-rated language problems, but the website does go into it in some detail.

The movie's making some waves. With luck, more people will see it, and I'm sure Weinstein will distribute it via DVD to schools, and eventually, it'll go to where it will do the most good. If it can even stop 1 out of 10 idiots from taunting somebody else, maybe make them hesitate for just a moment, then it'll be worth it.

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I could easily say how many times when I'm out on weekly errands, I see clerks with one condition or another doing meaningful, paying work, who put up with all sorts of bull from customers who are unwilling to take five seconds longer or to be the slightest bit tolerant or understanding. (I am not exaggerating.)

I could tell a few stories about how people in wheelchairs or with other physical mobility issues are often treated as invisible or downright mistreated or told, within theirs and their loved ones' hearing that that person doesn't belong out in public. This applies also to people on walkers and senior citizens.

Or how a random person can comment, within a handicapped person's hearing, "I think that guy/girl is (blind, deaf, crippled, etc.) !" They say it in a stage whisper and move away or stare (or lean over!) as though it is horribly contagious or a sideshow. -- I sometimes ignore this. Other times, I turn around and declare, not too loudly, "Why yes, he/she is (or I am), thanks for noticing!" (Or something similar.) Yes, you really do still get people who act like that. I think they have never encountered a person who had any such condition, injury, or short- or long-term issue, no child or old person in their family or friends who needed help. Or they were among those too busy to be bothered to help.

That's from the supposedly mature adults.

Yes, I could tell a few stories from my own childhood and adolescence. Fights, bullying, gossip, "teasing," and so on, directed at me or at kids I knew who were also handicapped. Verbal abuse, physical taunting, the whole thing, all because the kid (their own age) is too different to suit them, a convenient target to call out and exclude. When you grow up with this on a near-daily basis, even a strong ego, friendly or forgiving nature, will not keep it from affecting how you view people (or yourself) from time to time. The trick is to let most of it slide off and be smart and friendly in how you deal with people anyway. Then if they're jerks, you do what's needed (and only that) to stick up for yourself.

Parents and siblings, by the way, often have to educate the system and fight for the rights of their child or sibling. Most educators, even those with some training, have had very little training or exposure, and aren't familiar with what's there or how to help. Many sincerely do want to help, they just don't know how. Then there are a few jackasses; those are (thankfully) rare. -- A couple of teacher friends have told me how little in their coursework was given to teaching and dealing with special needs of students. One was actually a special needs teacher. (The title was misleading. At-risk ghetto kids, kids with emotional problems, and handicapped kids were all "special needs" at her school.

What "Becky" describes? Hitting, fights, verbal abuse, other junk? Yes. Most handicapped students (and the adults they grow up to be) have some story like that. It happens a lot, unfortunately. -- There *are* kids who are friendly and understanding and help or stick up for them, and the kids themselves do a lot more for themselves than people think.

On that -- It doesn't bug me for someone to be curious and ask questions because they don't know and they want to find out. That's good, it means they want to know. It's often the first or only chance they may have to meet someone with that particular condition, or any condition. I answer that when I can. It's helpful. It rarely bothers me. As a kid growing up, at the start of every year and every class, I'd have to explain to the teacher that I was vision-impaired (legally blind) and show off my vision aid and discuss this, briefly, and then possibly discuss further after class. Many kids might know me from other classes or the previous year, but many didn't know, so the teacher and the students often had a few questions. That worked out fine in all but one case. (There's also a funny story of one teacher who was trying so hard, and kept getting in my "personal space." She was sweet and meant well. I caught on and managed to keep from laughing, during that.)

The boy in the documentary could have one of several conditions, and I think it's mild in his case. He doesn't seem to have the other motor issues with CP (cerebral palsy). But I wouldn't hazard a guess without knowing for sure which it is. Yes, I've had friends like him. I can easily guess what he goes through.

I think I'm giving the idea, "oh, poor kid, poor adult, waah, waah, victim." Well, that misses how capably kids and adults deal with their conditions and how they deal with problem people, situations, and mobility / accessibility barriers. There is a lot of fighting tiger and stubborn determination, and a lot of fun humor and friendliness in most folks with some condition. "Don't dis the ability." I have run into a few folks who are really phenomenal. I have run into a couple of folks who were jerks, and one with such deep issues from it that he bailed. Folks with whatever condition are just like average people, only with a condition they manage. It is something that doesn't go away, it's always there, but it is normal to that person.

There's one mobility / accessibility thing that bugs the living daylights out of me lately. My vision's always been "legally blind." In 2004, it went down some. The credit/debit card readers you see at any checkout were always hard to read. The text was usually big enough, but the grey and black and lighting was usually hard to read. After my vision changed, it is now nearly impossible for me to read those, even if I get close to them. (I mean really close.) The only ones I've seen that now work for me without asking the checker for help are the ones at my local pharmacy. Those use a bright LCD or backlit screen like a smartphone or tablet. Those ,I can read.

Oh, and for anyone interested, there's a documentary called, "The Eyes of Me" that follows a few vision-impaired / legally blind or fully blind teenagers, either in regular classes (like I was) or special ed or separate schools. What you see there is the real deal. There's one point in the docu where two teens are on a date. They go into a fast food place. One turns to the other and says they like eating there, but they get frustrated because they can't read the menus (on the wall, both near and far). I laughed a lot at that; I have the same problem. I can't read the nametags on sales clerks, even if the letters are 36 point or so (half an inch) without leaning over too far for non-intimate interaction. ;)

Um, and yes, there is also bullying about being gay or *seeming* to be gay. ("Ooh, everybody knows/says Johnny is gay....") (Or gossip about what supposedly Johnny does, which likely he never has.) (Or various words. "Queer-baited?") Meh. Stuff happens.

Editor's Note: The word is "bait, baiting, baited." It's not spelled "bate, bating, bated." Why? Because it comes from baiting a hunted animal or baiting a hook or trap to catch an animal. It doesn't come from shortening the M word for solo gratification. ;) ...This editor notices the spelling occasionally.

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I "joined" and sent an email. One of their links comes up, "404 page not found." -- I really need to learn about WAI (website accessibility initiative) and alternatives to Flash. My email was also in favor of putting the documentary out there for the public to buy on disk or download (iTunes, Amazon, NetFlix, YouTube, etc.). (Why buy? It raises money for anti-bullying work.) Free would be good too. I gave a very short personal note too.

I'd urge people to check the site.

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What is needed is to revise all those stupid zero tolorance rules school districts have been putting in place. Sounds good on first glance until you're the victim of bullying and fight back to protect yourself. You find tourself and the bully suspended because "zero tolorance means zero tolorance". This is exactly what happened to Codey who physically fought back against a physical attack and to my brother who stepped in to defend Codey. They both recieved the same punishment as the attacker who was proud of his suspension...it's a badge of honor for ppl like him.

I guess, unless you're an adult, your right to defend yourself or some other innocent party simply disappears.

Tim

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^ I agree.

I got in fights at school more than once. I didn't get suspended. One bully did, the worst physical fight. This was in the 70's and 80's.

It makes no sense to suspend a victim for defending him-/herself, for fighting back. It makes no sense to suspend a friend, relative, or bystander for stepping in to defend another kid and fight off or stop a fight with a bully.

I know more than once, my parents had to deal with school administrators and teachers. Some were very helpful and eager to learn. Others were not. One or two were openly hostile and blocked what could help.

There is one other thing that I don't think people mention, but it is a precursor to self-harm or suicide. -- If a kid (at school or in other situations) gets the lesson too often that what he or she does is not listened to, acted upon, or valued, when that kid is trying to cope and grow, then that kid will tend to believe he or she can't get help. (If help doesn't come, he or she is right, at least right then in that case.) The problem is, that kid may then give up and withdraw, stop trying, and may believe those around him or her will not help. The kid may blame him- or herself. ("I shouldn't be this way. I should never have been born. Maybe I'll just go....") -- Leaving the scene, withdrawing, is the least of the bad outcomes there. Far worse is if that kid carries that message on in further life without outgrowing it, somehow recovering and moving on. But even worse if that kid then takes it to self-harm or suicide. -- It can happen to even the strongest-willed, most optimistic, smartest, sweetest of kids. Just look at the headlines and see. Or ask the survivors.

Bullying requires us to stand up and say, no more. It requires us to listen, to be a shoulder, to be an ally and friend, to love and hold on.

It *is* possible to overcome the senseless and ignorant behavior out there. It *is* possible to stand up, speak out, survive, and become one who is not easily bully-able. -- And yes, even if we cannot stand or speak, we still can be an example and persuade others.

Too many people are affected by bullying. It is not just the "different" kids. It isn't just kids. It is the people who care about them. It is a social and behavioral problem that leads to other, worse problems out there.

We can do more than we realize, by what we say and do. We don't have to be some big, flashy hero and save the day. But we do need to do what we can, and even the most subtle things have an effect. All it takes is a ripple.

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A group of teenagers in Michigan has put up a petition to give to the MPAA, to try to convince them to drop the rating from an "R" (17 and older only) to "PG-13" (13 years and up). The link is here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/mpaa-dont-let-the-bullies-win-give-bully-a-pg-13-instead-of-an-r-rating#

Be warned that the link asks for a real name, email address, and street address, but you can always make something up. Use "George Wacko Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500," and I bet that would work.

The killings this week at the high school in Ohio are very sad. No word yet as to whether the killer was just crazy, or if in fact he was bullied... but I'm betting on the latter. (Maybe a little of both.)

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There's a news claim he was bullied. But shooting people does not improve your life long-term.

I signed the petition and have posted about The Bully Project and the petition at other forums where I'm a member.

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And there are already 165,000 people who have signed the petition against the R rating.

Realistically, what Weinstein could do is just go direct to video, then release the film widely on DVD and Blu-ray, and send every high school in the country a free (or cheap) copy on DVD. At least if the schools could screen the movie on video, I don't think anybody would object -- this is an MPAA theatrical problem, not a private screening in a classroom.

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Unfortunately, many/most middle schools won't show an R movie, and many/most high schools either won't show one or will skip parts. Yes, that's right, the teacher pauses and madly scans forward. Very silly for both teacher and students.

Teachers on another forum are saying they're unhappy because kids who should get a chance to see the film won't. Not in the theater and not in the schools where they teach. District policy. Concerned parents. -- As I said, the MPAA decision and the worries of "concerned" parents and administrators are hiding their heads in the sand, ignoring reality, and thereby, complicit in the problem. It is far better to teach your kids or your students how to deal with observed reality, to prepare them for it and not overly shield them from it, rather than to pretend things like that don't happen or the kids are "too young and naive" to need to know about them.

My own parents too often sheltered me as a kid and teen. Reality is much different, and finding that out, particularly when you're already naturally a dreamer type, can have a lot of bite to it, even way into adulthood.

That example of scanning forward? Not only do I know teachers still do that, I remember our English teacher, whichever year in high school, zipping through the less, shall we say, "clothing intensive" scenes in Excalibur. -- But it was just fine for our History class to watch a documentary which showed, over and over and over...and over some more...the Kennedy assassination news footage. I would've rather have seen the nekkid bits in Excalibur than that. It must've been cheap to produce that documentary. Serious looping going on there.

Back on-topic -- I hope the petition gets enough signatures and the MPAA rescinds its decision. More, I hope that schools will show the movie anyway.

I hope it will go to DVD or Blu-Ray and to download via the various services. I think they're planning to release it on disc. Anyway, I emailed, hoping they'd put it out on disc and download, and streaming online too. These days, if you have a video that's worth seeing, or audio, or a book -- there are plenty of ways to releasei it.

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Realistically, I think they should just "beep" the film and cover up the offending words. Anybody with half a brain will know what's being said -- especially kids. In one respect, I think Harvey Weinstein is just trying to drum up publicity.

But on the other hand... it's an important message, and it deserves to be said. So I can see both sides.

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The petition is to be delivered today, Wednesday. As of the email, they have between 210,000 and 220,000 signatures.

I'm of the opinion to keep the cuss words. any middle school age kid has heard them all. Most kids by then have seen enough on TV news or in person to know the world isn't always pretty and safe. Why should parents pretend things like this don't exist, or their kids are too innocent to see and hear things like it? It is, I think, part of the problem itself, a way of saying, if we pretend it doesn't exist, because we don't like it, it will go away...and not bother us and our dear child.

Except sometimes, trouble comes looking for that nice kid, whether he or she is that sheltered and naive or not.

If those parents truly love their kids, and I don't doubt they do, then prepare them to meet the real world on real terms and deal with it successfully, informed, not ignorant. It will help their kids face what they will, at some point as adults, have to face head on. Better to learn before than after.

It is possible to be a well-meaning, conscientious parent, yet still to overprotect your child, to his or her detriment now or later.

It is also possible, by how you handle things, to send your child the spoken message he or she can talk to you about anything, but the unspoken message, except those topics there, including the ones that are bothering you.

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Kids aren't stupid. I came home from my first day in grade 1, at 5 years old. I told my mum that I learned a new word.

"What word did you learn," she asked me.

"F**king" I replied.

After she recovered, she gave me the soap on the tongue treatment. I hated the soap, but the new word was cool.

As for the censorship, I'll be interested to see what the Aussie censors do with it. I'll let you know.

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Talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres talked about the Bully movie and featured the young lady who drew up the petition to support the PG-13 rating, at this link.

The director of the movie, Lee Hirsch, is calling the ratings system "broken." As he comments:

“I was bullied and the collective response is to minimize that experience.” he said. “Those scenes have meaning and that power conveys the intensity of bullying and that’s what this film is about. I don’t want this to be sanitized, it’s a critical piece of what makes this film powerful from my perspective.”

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It will be interesting to see what the over regulatory Australian Classification (censorship) board gives this film.

An R rating (R18+) in Australia means that under 18 year olds cannot be admitted to the cinema.

An MA15+ rating means the patron must be 15 or older.

On top of that federal rating, each state can apply its own standards including an outright ban of a particular movie.

We are allowed to wipe our own asses.

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Unusually ribald comment from me:

Always beware anyone who would like to wipe your butt for you.

Someone who cares might be willing, if he or she must and you need it, but liking it is quite another thing altogether. Also, there is an important difference between a caregiver and a caretaker...or a total stranger copping a feel....

No, my comment was not necessarily the nicest. It was uncharacteristically rudely put, from me. But it does make a comment on people who want to keep someone old or mature enough to decide for him-/herself what to do.

Having said something in such a shocking way, I'd like to say more nicely that there is indeed something wrong when a ratings system intentionally blocks meaningful content beneficial to the public well being, solely because there might be cussing or violence, underage or not. Has no one on the ratings committee ever been in school lately, seen what kids see, heard what they hear, been through what they experience day in and day out? Come on, I can remember very well what I experienced in the classroom, hallways, campus grounds, let alone in P.E. or the locker room or bathrooms. Or while attending a ballgame, which includes not only students but those supposedly pristine, fine upstanding parents so eager for their children's and neighbors' welfare. Let the ratings committee go through what real school kids go through today, for a school year, and then let them say whether this movie should not gain wide release with a PG-13 rating. Oh, and I didn't even mention what happens at the mall, in the neighborhood, in kids' homes, at their friends' homes, and what is no the nightly news or out on the streets, on the cell phone and internet and email, and what each kid experiences first hand. Does that mean we should put little cellophane-wrapped pillows and micro-fine filters on everything in sight, and put chastity belts on all the kids too? No. That's ridiculous. What's far more helpful is to admit that the real world is risky, messy, and dangerous, and sometimes fun and adventurous, and there's much to learn and much about which to be wary. So, instead of protecting everything and everyone, why not apply a little educatoin, a little preparation, a little wisdom, to the whole thing, some common sense, and do some good for a change. Or wasn't that the whole idea of a ratings committee, to do something to promote better cinema? No, I guess not, I guess it was to prevent people from seeing anything which might make them the least bit uncomfortable or surprised. In other words, let's limit them and feed them pablum, and then wonder why people don't grow up. Outrageously bad.

There, I've fussed and fumed.

Now let me watch the movie. I'll even buy a copy if it's on for sale.

While I'm at it -- hurray for all the weird outsider kids. Right there with you, from the guy who was pale and skinny and geeky, handicapped and gay.

There's a paraphrase from a book character that suits here: "Don't be ashamed of what makes you different. Be proud of it. Wear it like armour, so that when someone says something, they cannot use it against you." -- Tyrion Lannister (a dwarf and noble) of House Lannister, Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Tyrion has got it going on.

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One of the things that gets me going is childhood censorship. You know, that wonderful idea that childhood is the best years of your life, because the child is basic kept wrapped in cotton wool, complete with all the fairy tales and deprived of real world experiences.

Look back at human history; did the offspring in the cave really have their eyes covered over when their cohabitant cave-dwellers had sex? No, they probably watched, or went to sleep. Kids are more than capable of handling real life situations. They do in fact demand knowledge. If they weren't capable of handling real life, the human race would have become extinct eons ago.

But we have created a culture which has degenerated into one where children must be kept as naïve as possible, for as long as possible, on the supposed grounds of ignorance leading to a blissful childhood. It's an 'escape' from responsible child rearing. As adults we spend our lives creating fantasies to continue the escape from the wonders of reality. Kids were once treated as young people, not babbling idiots to be trained for subservience to a corrupt society.

Of course there was terrifying, unjustifiable mistreatment of youngsters being used as slave labour, sex objects and just plain abused, disrespected and bullied into despair, but don't tell me that that still doesn't happen under the guise of a 'happy childhood'. If anything it's worse if you consider the indoctrination that happens from infancy. It takes a Zen master, a psychotherapist and a great deal of personal effort to find reality; appreciating its grandeur and beauty requires we rebel in the name of life, love and our freedom to be who we are.

If I can find time I will tell you what I really think.

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Des, I agree with you. In most instances, kids can handle the truth. Some traumatic things should be withheld, but most things, even if they're uncomfortable, should be shared if they involve the kids.

Kids can handle the truth far better than a lie. When they discover they'd been lied to, about things that are important to them, that's when the troubles begin.

Well said, Des.

C

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