Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Odd Topic

I'm just going to toss out the following bits and pieces. Make of it what you will:

When we first moved to OK, our neighbors to the north of our property lived on seven acres of heavily wooded land. There were several buildings on the property – none of which seemed "finished." All were made out of cinder block and seemed a bit run-down. There was a large "meeting room" in which our neighbors actually lived. Then there was a row of unfinished living quarters (individual rooms) that our neighbors used as storage space. None of the buildings could be seen from the road or from our property – the woods were that thick. From what I understood our neighbors, who were very nice people, had bought the property from some religious group who had owned the place years earlier. My preacher, who had been a local Baptist preacher back in the day when the property was owned by "a religious group," told me what he had learned about the place and the group that had built the buildings. He said that the "religious group" had been the talk of the town with everyone theorizing about what was happening on the property. The locals were suspicious that a "cult" had settled near their town. There was much fear and suspicion about the religious group that owned the property. My preacher, being the kind of man he is, decided to find out for himself what was happening. He drove to the "compound" to ask questions. It turned out the property was owned by Baptist organization that was training missionaries to live in a third-world type atmosphere – in other words it was preparing people to be Baptist missionaries. I’m sure they used the "meeting room" for just that and used the cinder block out buildings as "third world" housing. Isn’t it ironic that the local people were fearful of what they did not know and wildly speculated without knowing the truth and it turns out that the "religious group" was no different than most of the locals who are Baptist themselves.

I know of a situation where a young lady was married and had a child. Her marriage fell apart and she began living with her husband’s brother. Eventually, she had children by both men. So the kids were not only half-brothers, but also cousins. The children called their sibling’s father, "uncle." How confusing would that be! Nothing was done about this situation.

I know of other situations where children live with their grandmothers. They have the same mother (who comes and goes and sleeps with different men), but each child has a different father – some not knowing whom their father is at all. Some of these kids also have cousins who live with them that are in the same boat – all being raised under the same roof. This is considered fairly normal behavior and no kids are taken from the home.

I had a student once who told me that her boyfriend was allowed to come to her home and sleep over with her – she was underage. She eventually became pregnant (duh), but the parents seemed to think it all normal. So even though the girl was underage and pregnant and her parents had allowed it, no one was arrested or removed from the home.

When I first started teaching in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, I had a 16-year-old student who told me that she thought she might be pregnant and that the baby might be her brother’s. When I reported this, I was told to mind my own business and that I did not understand the culture and that they would deal with it. Nothing was done.

In Questa I had two students in one of my classes that were brother and sister – same age – same father – different mothers. Apparently the father had been married to the boy’s mother, but having an affair with the girl’s mother. He eventually divorced his first wife and married the girl’s mother and now both kids lived with the new couple. Everyone thought this was okay, because the first wife was not well liked.

I can’t begin to tell you of the strange things my public school students told me about the goings-on in their homes – drugs, drinking, sex, etc. Nothing is ever done about these situations. The social service people pick and choose what is "normal" or what is considered "dangerous" for a child in a home. Then there was the two-year-old girl who came to our church in Taos with her obviously retarded mother and 80 year old father. My concern for this child was so great that I went and talked to the SS workers. They told me that although they had removed several other children from the home in the past, they could do nothing about the two-year-old until abuse was proved and that there had been a threat of law suit so they had left the baby girl with her parents.

I am just amazed at what society thinks is normal. I remember a time when SS was removing children from homeschooling parents because "normal" society feared what they did not understand.


campfire stories said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
campfire stories said...

amazing what people think is "normal". Hey my blog is set up though you won't find much there yet.

Bag Blog said...

Everyone: Check out Campfire stories - he's one of my art students and a good kid.

Mrs. Bear said...

Yes it is odd what other people find unacceptable. When dealing with my personal extended family I deal with odd everyday. Some days it makes me want to run through the streets screaming...but we can't do that. I know from what I have heard on the news lately that I do not agree with many things that are happening to children, but I can't stop it. I do know that we should always try and line things up with the Word of God, but the way the world is now days nothing much seems to line up. Sad isn't it. I am so sorry that young children have to go through some of the things they go through. We can't change the world but we can pray that the Lord's will be done.

Buck said...

Interesting stuff, Lou. It IS amazing the stuff that goes on right beneath our noses... and yet even MORE amazing what the "authorities" both do and don't do about it... depending.

Not to be a Pollyanna or anything, but at least we (Americans) aren't training our kids to be suicide bombers. Thank the Deity for small favors, coz The Word of God comes in all flavors, depending on which deity you subscribe to.

And no... I'm NOT trying to light off a theological discussion. Just an observation.

Bag Blog said...

Buck, you are right - people have all sorts of different ideas about God and God's words. I personally would not like to wear a burka and hide my face, but then, I was not brought up thinking that was normal. I can't imagine any god wanting children to be suicide bombers - that is some twisted logic there.

Inquiries said...

Normal is a relative word to most people they adapt it to their lifestyle.

Junk Diva said...

I used to ask my Mom " Are we the only normal people in our family", well I'm sure they looked at us and said the same thing. ( Although we were the only normal ones).

Some of the things that happen in this world should not be considered " normal" by anyone. Sadly, some people are so damaged they can no longer see.

Anonymous said...

lemb... you are the exception to the rule, unfortunately..... keep on doing what you are doing.... you are doing GOOD work..


Fire Fox said...

I used to run the billing/front office in a mental health clinic for eight years. We worked closely with the therapists, psychiatrists, and patients on a daily basis. Our collaterals; DSS, youth crisis centers, the courts, DMH.. all buried under the burden of the federal/state bureaucracy,immense and overwhelming paperwork, and grossly understaffed agencies. Our people were truly caring individuals who became swallowed up by the paper chase, long hours and a low payscale. Let's put it this way, they loved their work. Some were good at their jobs, others were not. For eight years I watched the parade of clients walk in and out of those doors. What that experience taught me was:
1. Patience
2. Tolerance
3. Not to Judge
4. Open-mindness
5. Empathy
6. Courage
7. Self-esteem
8. Compassion
9. Respect
10. A hatred of child abusers.

Sorry... there is nothing normal about a child abuser, a parent who neglects their child or a person who willfully has children knowing that they cannot care for them. I have to tip my hat to those therapists and doctors who have to deal with these individuals without allowing their personal feelings to intrude upon their professional care of these sick human beings. It was all I could do to keep a civil nature about me when I had to deal with them. Jeeze Lou, you got me going again!

Fire Fox said...

Tag! You're It!!

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Its amazing some of the stories The Queen comes home with regarding what people think as normalcy. Which is why i thought it would be fun for her to have a blog. But she honestly does not have time to write right now. What with all the paperwork she has to do already. Its so foriegn to me the amount of drug user's and sex offenders that linger just outside the door. You can watch an hour or so of tv and just by the commercials see the degradation of societal values just by what advertisers know what people want to buy. And that's the nice, sugar coated side.