I spoke with a young man today who comes from the same hometown as I do. He is from the same environment as I me, meaning he understands what it is to grow up as I did.
This young man was sent to the office. Having disrupted the class with his actions, the teacher didn’t hesitate to dismiss him to be someone else’s problem.
As he headed out, I couldn’t help to think “why? Why was this kid acting out as he was?” He left and I remained curious with my unanswered questions. I went on with my presentation to the class. It went well.
Until, the class was over and I was leaving. I went to the office for one stop as I was heading out, heading home.
As I entered, the young man was sitting outside the principal’s office, waiting. I guess he had not been seen yet and was still waiting to face his consequence.
My general curiosity took over, so I began talking to him. I took the chair next to his and we chatted for awhile.
We talked about things that most people do. He told me about his older brothers, his mother, and his home. I told him of my family, my mother and my grandmother.
I asked how he felt about his hometown. In response, his face showed a sort of bewilderment. Sort of curious as to what I was asking. He replied in the best way he could,
“I don’t know.”
You see to him, it is all he knows. Whether he likes it or not has not really occurred to him too often. I could tell as a I asked him this question he was really considering what it was that I was asking. I then transitioned. I asked him,
“why do you get in trouble the way you do?” He sort of chuckled and again almost had no answer.
“I don’t know, sort of to just mess with the teachers I guess. I don’t know. I guess I don’t really know why I act the way I do.” This was his reply.
It was interesting. He didn’t know why he was acting out the way he was and yet he still did it. Now before I could get any further and learn more, he took the opportunity of the bell to dash out to lunch. Escaping the clutches of trouble.
As brief as that moment was, I gained a bit of an understanding from him.
Here is a kid who shares the same home as me, and to him he sees the entire setting differently then I do.
It was like we are two characters in the same book except this book has been written by two completely different authors.
It was an insightful conversation to know that what he saw wasn’t what others were portraying to him. He has older brothers, many of them. All of them are involved in things his mother wants to keep him away from.
That there tells me that his acting this way, gaining the attention he is gaining, in the way that he is to be seen by his older brothers. It is odd. How we seek validation from those who go before us. We only want acceptance.
I believe that this young man is looking for this acceptance through his actions. I believe he only wishes to be understood, that he has troubles, he isn’t perfect, he misses his family, he misses his mom, and he only wishes to be understood how much pain he is in.
Only, he can’t allow it to show because it is foreign to show hurt. He is coping. He is hurting. He is slowly dying and all those around him simply misunderstand him. Then again, how could they understand him, when they have not been through what he has been.
I only ask that you hear him.