In the vacuum where traditional behavioural expectations for young people used to exist, in the silence of empty homes and neighborhoods, young people have built ther own community. The adolescent community is a creation by default, an amorphous grouping of young people that constitutes the world in which adolescents spend their time. Their dependence on each other fulfils the universal human longing for community, and inadvertently cements the notion of a tribe apart. More than a group of peers, it becomes in isolation a society with its own values, ethics, rules, worldview, rites of passage, worries, joys, and momentum.
A community of isolation. A tribe of peers and nothing else. Whereas community is about living together and needing each other. It's about give and take and take and give. It's about sharing, caring, hurting, lifting, tearing, biting, borrowing, lending, sending, receiving. And it's about extending as a basis to (although not necessarily only the method to) receive. Tribality is about extending social needs, based on short-sight vision of what our social needs are. And has been already eloquently stated before, it exists because of the vacuum, the community stepping out of the daily lives of teenagers with expectations that either the youth are raised or are being raised well by the media conglomerates and beaurocracies, neither of which is remotely true or healthy.
This is as true in the urban areas as the suburban or exurban or rural areas. As adults have withdrawn themselves from the youths' lives, we have abandoned them to neglect, and not of the benign sort either. One of my most vociferous (and not in the benign way, either) students took one vocabulary word today and was able to run with it. The word was monitor. I used neglect as an antonym. She knew what that word meant, and although the semantic link between monitor and disown is shaky, it is real for her. The question now is, of course, "Who raises these half-children? Who now supports and gives insight and sends and receives of themselves - and not just financially and not just socially - for the welfare of the 'Not yet a woman, not still a girl?'"
I feel overwhelmed. Honestly, I do. And I care deeply. And I feel like I'm making very little progress. And I don't know where to go from here. I have a mound of papers on my desk that need grading so that my students will receive their feedback, but I'm exhausted. I'm physically sick and have been for the last two weeks now. And may be for some time extended. I, again, barely have a social life anymore. It's been a week since I've posted anything here or anywhere else.
But, God is good. I know that I have to be taken care of in order to care for others. And he cares for me even when I feel that I've neglected him. He will get me through this. Just as sure as he got Timi a new job. As well as Alisahmnotuglylikeyou.
I'll post my drunken co-worker's dialogue about Protestant individuality v. Catholic structure as soon as I can clear it all in my head.
White Sox won the flippin' pennant, baby! Tomorrow, the flippin' World Series (if we can reverse this slide!)