Growing Pains

growing painsYes folks . . . It’s “Hump Day” again!

“Mike! Mike! Mike! What day is it?! It’s Hump Daaayyyy!”, said the camel in the office in the GEICO commercial. I absolutely adore this one. Not only does it make one smile, it kind of drives the point home – GEICO customers are happier than a camel on “hump day”! How are you all doing today? Did your week get off to a slow start? Monday past was hard to handle … but, “We Got This!”

Students are back to school in many places … A friend of mine informed me that Atlanta area schools opened two weeks ago. Here in Florida, most schools returned from summer vacation this past Monday. New York and points North usually begin around Labor Day, the first week of September. Now is the time when the youngsters experience some “growing pains”. I recall when I taught high school in New York, we also had like a mini-suicide watch program where everyone – students and teachers alike – kept their eyes open for youngsters with suicidal tendencies. Change, holidays, and “growing pains” in general have often been known to drive a person to turn on oneself. This generation, especially here in South Florida, seems to be more interested in toting guns … even on bicycles! … and doing “drive bys”! Where does this come from? Is our “society” so ill that some of its members are resorting to such behavior?

What ails individuals in society, according to much of my studies in Sociology, also ails society in general. Most people like to “blame the victim” because it is easier that way … one does NOT have to care about those who are not properly “socialized”. Cultures with extended families – like Native Americans or Oriental cultures – kept a tight social net around each individual in that society. This type of attitude and concept of the extended family has withered in most places and almost died in other cultures. It is “every person for oneself” nowadays. We can get caught up into that easily. One of the ideas that the Brahma Kumaris encourage is to “seek to be peaceful” at all costs at all times. Have you ever heard that notion before? Do you remember Gandhi? How about Martin Luther King, Jr.? Society’s ills are society’s responsibility. These two men sought to protest with “non-violence”. Were there some casualties?! Absolutely, as indicated by the Civil Rights Movement in this country! Yet, there has been a lot of progress made as this country experiences the second term of its first “official” African American president. There is more to come, should we embrace such progress.

Keep an eye out for your youngster … or other’s youngsters. Teach them to tell the truth! Things will be more easily communicated with that value at the core of our communications. You know, it is the little things that count. These first few days and weeks of school may mean the world to that average youngster who may not be so cute or so handsome, that youngster who may not be able to communicate so well with his or her peers, and in some cases may just be left out. In closing today’s message, I just want to give “props” to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s (RIP) mother, who has just released a single with a Christian rapper, “T-Dog”, here in SoFlo, whose proceeds are going towards helping families who have lost a loved one due to “gun violence”. She says, “My journey is not scripted. This is just who I am … so it makes it easier!”

Is it easier to be “yourself”? Remind the youngsters that you come into contact as the new school year begins nationwide that it is okay for them to be who they are! Believe it … or not!

Have a great Hump Day and rest of the week!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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