Sunday, September 23, 2007

It seems that the Snits are contagious

I'm grumpy today. That's not something you typically hear from me, is it? But I'm in a snit.

And not about anything in particular, either. Just grouchy. Maybe I miss my camera. Can you imagine if it had broke while I was at Cape May? Y'all would have seen a different side of Susan, let me tell ya.
Now, onto our regularly scheduled post:

I wanted to tell you about an interesting phenomena I have witnessed. I have done a few hundred programs for RAPTOR so far, and I have talked in front of a wide variety of people.
Yesterday, I did presentations at two separate locations, with two very diverse groups.
The first one was an informal program (i.e. the birds are perched outside and people come and go, ask questions, etc) in an area that is, shall we say, financially disadvantaged. It was a church festival, whole-community sort of thing. And this group of people was so interested in the birds (I took Isis, our leucistic red-tail; Lucy, the peregrine; and our gray screech owl-that bird needs a name) and asked very good questions, listened to what I had to say and I could tell they had a new appreciation for birds of prey, and nature in general.

One little boy stands out in my mind, and probably will for the rest of my life. He was maybe 10 years old, with the silkiest-looking corn rows and braids ( I had to tell myself constantly NOT to reach out and touch them) and big wonderful eyelashes (why do BOYS get the good eyelashes?) and he was BRIGHT. Bright like those kids that you know will be something someday. Bright like I bet Julie was as a child.
He asked the most in-depth questions, soaked in what I said, made connections I would not have expected from a 10 year old. He even helped me pack up my visual aids (the heads, feet, wings, pellets). What a sweet kid.
His big brother was with him, and was encouraging the boy to learn more. Oh my God, this little boy is going to be one of those people who goes places. I hope.
The event coordinator helped me load my car afterwards, and I mentioned the boy, and she knew just who I was talking about. I made her promise that she would keep an ear open about him. I can see him becoming a kick-ass naturalist, or a leader in conservation, etc. Yes, he was that exceptional.

My next program was in a very affluent area. That audience was just fine, but it made me think of other programs in similar neighborhoods. I have presented to the big, fancy-schmancy private schools in the area, and on the whole, I have never seen such spoiled, disinterested kids.
People send their kids to expensive private schools, thinking that they are giving them advantages. But these kids never know what it's like to go without, they are given everything they want, and how do they act? Like the brats they are.
It was a bit of a depressing revelation. Now, don't get me wrong. I am trying not to stereotype. I am only reporting what I have seen personally. There are exceptional kids in all walks of life, and there are ass-hole kids in all walks of life. But my observations during my programs has opened my eyes. Just because you make a lot of money and send your kids to the "It" school doesn't mean they are going to turn into a great adult. And transversely, just because you are poor and can barely send your kids to the public school doesn't mean they are going to turn into a criminal or dead beat.

That sweet little boy has given me hope for the next generation...you know, the people who are going to be taking care of US someday?

4 comments:

Mary said...

Bravo, Susan! Get out of your SNIT!

This story is so meaningful. I worked in an affluent, private school for a long time and I know what you are talking about. Spoiled brats littered the school but there were good kids, too. And, you know what? The good kids came from disadvantaged families with low income - getting financial aid. Those were the kids who will make the world a better place. I loved them.

You're right on target here. Your day should take the snittiness away...but...I understand about the camera thing :o/

Born Again Bird Watcher said...

I always respect a good snit. I'm in a bit of one myself today.

Dave said...

One good snit deserves another? Going through the camera dt's? I feel for ya Susan. It'll be home soon.

mon@rch said...

Susan . . . . 10 years old is the perfect age and although this kid will be in your mind for a very long time . . . you just never know if seeing the birds your handling might be in his mind for a very long time also! Sometimes i can be just one opportunity that can spark a mind like that! Ok, take that one kid that did say something and times it the hundreds and hundreds of kids that you deal with that don't ask the questions! I sure hope you are finding yourself smiling (instead of that sad in the start of this post)! BTW: Doesn't everyone carry around 2 cameras with them all the time? I know I do!