Monday, May 24, 2004

a boy's story

So, what is the boy's story?

He's smart. Bouncing with energy. Has love to give. Good looking. An enquiring mind.

He's also full of fear and anticipates the worst. Convinced he is stupid and angry. Disrepectful of your efforts on his behalf. Selfish. Hyper at times.

What's his problem?

His 'real' dad can't be bothered to keep in touch and was never around from day one. I've heard the boy was left many times waiting by the window, refusing to go to bed in the vain hope that dad would turn up as he had promised. But no phone call to say he wasn't coming. How cruel. Not a real dad at all.

His mum and stepdad have not officially adopted the boy as biological dad wasn't prepared to fully let him go, like some possession to be bargained with. And so his name is different to everyone else's. He's proud of his name but at the same time it seems to be a chip on his shoulder.

His mum seems to resent him, maybe because he changed her life... but didn't she do that and not the boy? I've forgotten when I last saw her give him any real affection, or treat him as an intelligent individual. She speaks to him as though he was an annoyance. Obviously he's been a handful in the past, but equally obviously he has not been related to like a human being, his intelligence has gone unrecognised.

He's given 'chores' that to him are demeaning. Things you wouldn't normally ask a child to do. He gets no affection for performing these tasks and so they have become a weight on his shoulder. I avoid the chore word. I ask for his help instead.

She is lazy and doesn't seem to see the dirt on every surface. A child should have a clean and comfortable home, something to aspire to and learn to respect the world around him. He has none of this and respects very little as a consequence. True that her mother died when she was 16. True that her father is off the rails and she hasn't seen him in a while, and so she bad mouths him in front of the boy. She doesn't realise that he also has lost these people.

His stepdad has been dragged down by her slothfulness so that the two of them ooze depression and unhappiness like a fog that blocks out the light until you feel it creeping up on you. When they leave, you sigh in relief as the oppression lifts in their wake. The boy is living in this atmosphere and is clearly infested with the same sickness.

One day he couldn't cope with the feelings inside and had what can only be described as a breakdown. Ran away from 'home'. Can't say I blame him.

So, he's with us.

And what do we see? A small boy who wants genuine affection, security, to live without fear, to be certain of his boundaries. Who is already changing and responding to the calmness now around him.

Is there hope? Of course. I'll tell you why next time...

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