My shaky marriage disintegrated one night in a flurry of 911 calls. My husband ripped the phone out of the wall, preventing me from calling the police. Instead he called the domestic violence counselor who ordered him to leave our home immediately. My husband drove off into the night with the burnt rubber smell wafting into the night. Living with him over the past year had become akin to living in a tiger’s den.
Emergency vehicles appeared again this week at the door of a family we know. It’s such a common occurrence that the family greets the firemen by first names. After hearing about the latest event, I was sorely tempted to call the state of Georgia’s office of child protective services to check out what actually goes on behind closed doors. Maybe they’ll find concerns, but maybe not. There are a couple of reasons why I hesitate. First, I was a foster parent for more than two years for some girls that had been involved in an abuse/neglect case.
In 2010 the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported that the typical teenager sends and receives about 50 texts per day or 1,500 per month. But with the rapid increase in the number of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 owning cell phones, the dangers of texting behavior increases exponentially. Despite the fact that texting while driving is illegal in many states, including in Georgia, where I live, I’m still seeing teens and adults juggling the difficult tasks of driving, texting and talking on cell phones. It’s difficult to find a driver that isn’t driving distracted. And many of them are teens.
My husband, Steve, and his first wife, Laurene, moved to Eastern Europe shortly after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. The day before they boarded the plane to move to Bratislava, Slovakia, Steve and Laurene discovered that they were expecting, unexpectedly, twins! Since Bratislava’s medical care was still behind those of Western Europe and the birth of twins is a higher risk pregnancy, they chose to go to Vienna, Austria for the pregnancy care and birth. Early one morning Laurene’s water broke and they made a harried run across the Danube River for the Slovakia/Austria border. Before long David and Paul made their dramatic debut about a minute apart via C-Section. Steve and Laurene planned on living there long-term, but a breast cancer diagnosis short-circuited those dreams. At six months of age, the twins were brought to America for the first time.
With all of the news stories about kids being bullied, we often forget that there are some kids that are labeled “different” who have no control over why they are different. Brad Cohen, author of “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had,” shared his experience of growing up as a child who exhibited several neurological tics because of TS. Brad writes:
In fourth grade I developed the strange new habit of clearing my throat every few seconds, all day long. … Like “Lord of the Flies” the kids in my school turned on the one child who was different from all the rest. … At that time, the social resources for conditions like mine were so few and far between that as my symptoms grew deeper, my mother and brother found themselves alone in the house with a virtual stranger.
Living with eight men can have the flavor of living in a fraternity house – literally. There’s often an overabundance of socks left in the living room, garbage flowing from the can to the floor and dishes overwhelming the countertops in the kitchen. Even more shocking have been the occasional outbursts of Cro-Magnon manners among our young people. I’ve also noticed an increased level of boorishness in the population as a whole. It’s now considered OK to confront publically and embarrass people (let’s hear it for Shock Jock Howard Stern).