I don’t usually write in a way that I feel needs protection. But, for obvious reasons, this post does require a little protection. And so protected it is …
Tomorrow we shall wave goodbye to the Almost-Adults who frequent our corridors on a daily basis, those that mock us, call us names, steal pens and scissors, try to set fire to posters, pretend to be grown-up [and fail miserably].
It’s a time of year that I dread. It was bad when I worked in mainstream education, watching the Almost-Adults in Year 11 sign each others shirts and notebooks, gallop around the place holding hands like five year olds, waving cameras in the air and trying to hang on to a time of life that would never, ever, be there again. Promises, that will inevitably be broken, are made [friends forever, stay in contact, meet me in the year blah] and tears are shed.
And, in the blink of an eye and a snap of dainty fingers, five years of secondary school are over. Thousands of fifteen/sixteen year olds take exams. Some stay on at sixth form to study for A’Levels. Some go to college perhaps to study for A’Levels or maybe to complete a vocational course or a BTEC or an apprenticeship or similar. Some will just fall into a job [probably McDonalds].
And yet there are others. Those that will be forgotten. Those who are unwanted and unloved, maybe kicked out of home, few – if any – qualifications … Those who possess few social skills because they were ignored as babies. Those who are already on the sex offenders register for abusing children younger than themselves. Those who are already addicted to drugs. Those who will end up in prison because they don’t know how to control their anger, their love of fire or their need for speed. Those who are desperately trying to get pregnant because nobody loves them and they need a little doll who will love them despite their insecurities and failures [and who will inevitably grow up hating them as the vicious circle of life continues]. Those who have been pushed from pillar to post whilst in care and don’t know how to relate to family life.
I look at the kids at work and wonder what will become of them. Despite our best intentions [and the intentions of everybody else associated with these teenagers] many will continue to suffer. They’ll get lost in the system, perhaps never to surface again until a drug overdose or an arrest for prostitution. Perhaps they’ll accidentally poison their baby with too much salt, leave their child home alone or end up, lost and alone, in the gutter somewhere, maybe with mental illnesses.
Some of them will survive. Some come from families who will strive to protect them and help them live normal lives, regardless of drug addictions, mental illness or police records. But what of the boy who is paranoid and regularly partakes in fisticuffs with his dad? The boy who still lives with his abuser who groomed him so that he too would abuse? The girl who screams when nobody listens to her?
What does life hold in store for them?
Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children. I’ve seen children who suffer. Children who don’t know how to express their emotions as you and I would. Children who have experienced horrors that you and I could never even imagine. It makes a mockery of me [and you] complaining about the childhood we had.
I thank anything and everything that I had a mother who loved me, that I survived my education in mainstream school and that I became the lovable adult I am today. And I hope that there’s a chance for many of the kids who might be forgotten. After everything else that fate has dealt them they deserve some chance. Even if they bugger it up.
They believe themselves to be Almost-Adults. But they’re just little kids at heart.
please God bless the Almost-Adults and give them the strength and determination to make their lives better xxx Elsabeth