I’m afraid for the lives of my students

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It has been less than 24 hours ago that police killed Alston Sterling and Philando Castile. It has been over the course of my shift that I started thinking how I am afraid for the lives of my students.

One young man, a kind demeanor, playful and articulate, this is what I’ll remember him for, but what if for some reason he gets singled out by the police and pump him full of lead? They don’t know him like I know him, they won’t have the reach that I do with him, are they going to “shoot first and ask questions later”?

What about another student of mine, a guy who wants to go to college, who wants to make a difference, who wants a wife and family some day. Doesn’t his life matter?

I used to be concerned about my students not adjusting to life in the community, or in a group home setting due to not taking their treatment and individual plans seriously, or just plain old learned helplessness. Now, if anything, I’m concerned that they might become another killed by a cop statistic!

I’m not fearful, police violence has always been around, but now with technology it is more at our front door than it was before. I don’t want to read about my former students shot by the police, especially when I know them and I know some of their families, that kind of hurt I’ll carry with me forever. God forbid they’re found to be innocent and the cops walk free.

The system isn’t successful, the system is corrupt, and no newly elected President will solve anything. Change starts from within, change starts at the grassroots level, and until those changes occur there will be no overarching change within our society.

No justice, no peace!
~ Nathanael~

Stimulants and depressants; we’re a [self] medicated society (whether we like it or not)

It crossed my mind the other day when I was at work and looking at the meds I give my clients how much society is medicated, or even self-medicated, but more to the point how much I self-medicate.

I need/want coffee to get my day going (stimulant), I eat something to give me energy (a necessary stimulant), I drink caffeinated soda (stimulant) and I, in moderation, drink beer and liquor (depressant). Yet with this up and down of necessary items I realize that I need to find a balance. Yes I do what I can to regulate my sleeping so that I don’t need coffee to drag me out of bed first thing in the morning, but sometimes that’s the jumper cables I need to get going.

Stimulants, as well as depressants can’t be avoided, they just can’t. You need them to live, to survive and perhaps even thrive. It’s what gets marketed to everyone of any demographic in our consumerism society. Yet my mind goes to the Aristotelian line of thought that says “all things in moderation”. Yes there are definitely impacts to our self-medicating on depressants and stimulants, but for what doesn’t harm others or ourselves, balance needs to be found in the consumption of either.

So is there a conclusion when it comes to how we self-medicate as a culture? I think we need to plant the seed of eating right, eating in moderation in our children, especially if we have a say in what they eat at an early age. From what I gather about the food served to kids in school isn’t the best, so perhaps policies should be put in place for that as well. I know for me that my diet isn’t the best at times because I want something out of convenience or proximity or I’m just straight out lazy. So instead of going down the warpath of putting out what I think others should do or could do about any form of stimulant or depressant, I will start with me.

~Nathanael~

What I’m poor in/What it means to be a man

Not too long ago my father asked me do I consider myself poor, my response to him was in what form. Because as I think about it, being poor, lacking something, doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of money or a roof over your head, there are other types of being poor than that type.

So I explored this question introspectively, if I am poor what am I poor in? It came to me all too suddenly, I am poor in the sense of what it means to be a man. My response to my father is as follows…

If I am honest with myself and where I’m at, the only thing I consider myself poor in, is a sense of what a man’s supposed to be; while I err on the side of being an egalitarian, life in general and certainly the church, the attitude fluxes. Either the guy has to be meek and mild, a pushover, a Yes-dear-I’m-sorry type, or a red meat eating, whiskey swilling, testosterone junkie who works crazy long hours to support his family which there’s no irony to me with those who consider money equals time invested. So I hang on to hope, have faith, and in the words of Bono; transcend the bullshit.

This is what I told my father, this is what I stand by, because I don’t have a freaking clue as to what a man’s supposed to be. I do hope that someday this Johnny finds his June and we settle down, have a family, raise some kids, celebrate holidays, go on vacations…but I am scared shitless at times; shitless over the nature of this world sometimes, the way humanity sucks the big one in regards to how I treat my fellow man and how my fellow man treats me. I did recently question if I want to help raise a family in this world, and as I watched the sunset and pondered/questioned/prayed this into the deepest crevasses of my heart and soul, I know…I feel it within me, that YES I do.

So that’s me, that’s my poverty, but I am doing what I can to get to where I need to be in life. To continue hanging on to hope, to continue having faith, and to continue transcending the bullshit.

~Nathanael~

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