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Monday, 5 November 2018

You can't put a forty year old head on a teenager

I have written and rewritten a post on the disgusting behaviour of those 34 schools that asked to be exempt from clauses in the Anti-Discrimination act. I am deeply ashamed that my former school is there and I am somehow tainted by their actions. I just don't seem to be able to get the words out right in my anger, so I will continue to work on that post.

However, I will talk today about a nagging memory that popped up as a result. There was some bullying of a girl when her friends found out she was lesbian in year 11. I was not part of it, nor was I one of her friends, however I'm wrestling with anger and shame that I did nothing. I was only vaguely aware of what went on but I didn't befriend her or tell the popular girls they were redneck small minded jerks from the suburbs. I didn't tell a teacher. I have been questioning if the school actually did instill this discrimination and I just was oblivious to the nuances. If I'm honest, I was actually surprised it was such a Christian school. We only had church services once a term (at my previous school we went twice a week!).

I have said before that Nanette really made the penny drop. As a mum, I am devastated that this sort of shame can be inflicted on a child from society or their parents, and I vowed never to let that happen - if I witnessed it, I would speak up. And now I'm wondering if I am the person that inflicted this on people, with careless words and thoughtless attitudes? Did my school make me think LBGTQI people were some how inferior? Did I do nothing not because I was a very shy child with low self esteem, but because part of me didn't care, or didn't see it as the disgusting behaviour that I view it as now? My memory is terrible on all things, not just this, but I can't help turning the incident over in my head, trying to remember it clearer.

I was discussing it with a friend and she said "You can't put a forty year old head on teenage shoulders. And you can't expect them to behave the way you would now". I understand, and I agree and yet I still can't put the nagging feeling to rest.

If you don't see the problem with what these schools have done (other than show a gross neglect in the duty of care of their students well being), let me quote Father Rod "Schools that teach a culture of discrimination are essentially forming students to have a world view that is contradictory to law." That is the ultimate problem with what these schools have done in writing that letter. Shame on them and thank you Father Rod for speaking out so quickly on behalf of the vulnerable minority, and most of all, on behalf of the children. Thank you also SCEGGS and Cranbrook for standing your ground and standing up for the well being of ALL your students. You have probably saved a lot of them severe mental distress and taught them there is nothing to be ashamed of. Words are meaningless without action.


“There are plenty of good reasons for fighting,...but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too." Kurt Vonnegut.


Linking with #GlobalBlogging (for those around the world, Sydney is in uproar that 34 Anglican schools have written a letter asking to keep their right to be exempt from certain clauses in the discrimination act (pertaining to the ability to sack or expel LBGTQI staff or students, and pregant women - tho no one seems to care about the women. It has caused much distress to past and present students.)

For the record, I'm waaaaaay over 40 but my friend used that word so I'm keeping it!

7 comments:

  1. I'm appalled at that letter - what message are those schools sending out to their students? That said, I don't think you should torture yourself about what happened in the past but instead you can channel what's in your "40 year" head to positively influence the present and the future.

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    1. Intellectually I get that, and I agree with my friend that I can't expect 16 year old me to do what angry, feisty old lady me would do now. I guess what eats at me is maybe I'm not the good person I thought I was. The stuff I try to instill in my kids ISN'T actually what I would have done at their age. There's just something about it all that makes me uneasy....I can't quite figure out why I'm so triggered by it all.

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  2. I agree with your friend. There are a lot of things from my teenage years that if I think back on them I should be ashamed, but the simple fact of the matter is, I can't change how I behaved back then. All I can do is talk openly to my girls about things and try my best to raise up children who will walk their path differently to me. Be kind to yourself xx

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  3. I guess it's true what they say "older and wiser" - I'm certainly thankful for that!

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  4. Thank you for thinking about your past, but even more for being outraged about the present and our future. That we can change, together. #globalblogging xoxo

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  5. I have watched Nanette firstly in chunks as I felt for her that she could not share what she needed to with her family. Then again. I also felt saddened for any times I may have dismissed a child or grandchild of mine about any matter...not necessarily about being gay...because of my then-discomfort at not wanting to deal with it. 2 years ago, I was so concerned about my parenting (with good reason) that I wrote each of my children then 45 and 38 a letter of apology for the times I knew I was not the Mum they needed me to be. Both replied that they understood and were grateful I wrote to them Denyse x

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  6. We want better for our children than we had so those schools should hang their heads in shame. I hope they change their stance... Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

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