Where have all the Boundaries gone?

Submitted into Contest #2 in response to: Write a story about someone who defies social conventions.... view prompt



Have you ever wondered why people behave the way they do? I am amazed at the lack of respect I see in the classroom today. What has happened to society and the norms we expect students and staff to behave like? I wonder what happened in society that causes people to feel so entitled. To behave in such a way that everyone feels they have a right to be heard and listened to? Have we gone so far with our civil rights that we have forgotten how to be civil? 

Schools across the country are a mess, in many classes a teacher spends 80% of their time in class discipline- trying to manage behaviors, how much time is left for real academia? How many parents are involved in school today?  How many parents are defending young Johnny and his behavior instead of asking Johnny why he has a right to disrupt the class? Johnny is always defended, we want to be politically correct on our handling young Johnny's feelings or his rights, what about the rights of the other students?  There right to learn in a safe environment. Not to mention what they are learning from his behavior and the way he is handled. Will he be allowed back in class or will he have consequences for his behavior? How will his parents, and the school handle the situation?

Where has respect and reverence gone?  From the Superintendent to the Principal, staff, and students. We talk to others as if their status does not matter. Their years of professional schooling, age and experience make no difference to anyone, there is a lack of a moral compass in the schools today, is it no wonder we are in such a mess? We are so often worried about being politically correct that we forget about what is right, what is just and what is morally the right thing to do.  

I have thought about this for a while now. What are the absolute right and absolute wrong behaviors in society? What are the societal norms? What about the moral codes, do we have a moral compass, or are we just left to our own ideas of what is right and what is wrong? It’s time we get back to the basics- OLD SCHOOL reform…

Following is a story about entitled youth in todays culture.  


Maybe, just maybe, you and I can make a difference in society if we try.  

I set up my classroom like a comfy cozy library reading area, all set up to read and discuss American Literature to a group of high school students. The first day arrives, and students are excited for school to begin, they want to socialize and learn all they can about each other.  We spend the first few minutes of the morning going over rules routines and procedures, being interrupted several times in the process.  

I am amazed… What is wrong with society today that students feel they have a right to talk over the teacher, and record the whole scenario live on snapchat? How are teachers supposed to handle such disrespect?  Students are so concerned with making a name for themselves on social media- that they set-up drama to record and get a hit or see who can get the most hits- they want to be famous for a one hit wonder, and it’s not music we are talking about. Einstein said this: “I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives.” He was so right, technology has given us no autonomy we have become a generation of depersonalized individuals, we all want to be like everyone else in this selfie world. We succumb to mob mentality with our behaviors. We do not know right from wrong, we celebrate ignorance, wearing it like a badge of honor.

Johnny comes to school late again…

Hey mom, want to watch a movie tonight? Absolutely, what we going to watch?  I was thinking about Rambo. Sounds great- I will make popcorn before we get started. While mom was making popcorn- I texted James, to see if he could come over. He said yes, he would be right over.  Just as mom comes in with the popcorn, James knocks on the door.

I answer the door- because mom is in her pajamas. James walks in, mom looks at me and is surprised I invited him in the house, but she says nothing to me. Mom is furious, I can tell, she stands there, puts the popcorn down on the table, I am ignoring her trying not to pay attention, I am just happy to see James, we have not talked all summer. Mom abruptly turns around and goes into her room to get dressed again, I pretend not to even notice.  

Mom comes out of her room dressed and unhappy. She says nothing, so I guess she is ok with James being there.  

Midnight, mom goes to bed.  She said its time for bed- school in the morning.  As soon as mom falls asleep, James and I get the game systems out and play fortnight. We are into the zone and end up playing until 5:00 in the morning. I tell James we have to get to sleep, my mom will be getting up in an hour and we have school in the morning.

Just as I fall asleep I get a text from Shari. She had a hard time sleeping sleeping last night and wants to know if I am awake for school yet? I see it’s 6:00 a.m, James is asleep, my mom is awake getting ready for work. I want to go back to sleep, but I have to get ready so mom can drop me off at school. I don't have any other ride. I shower, and then wake James up, Mom is not talking to me. She is still mad- but I don't care, I am young, what does she expect?  

The car ride is unusually quiet, mom drops us off at school, says nothing to me. I ask her if she is picking me up after work? She said yes, and left.

I am so tired, all I want to do is sleep. Mrs. Smith is ready with a smile on her face, good morning Johnny and James- did you get a good nights rest- big day today. I look at her, and just shrug me shoulders and set at my desk.  I put my head down and try to sleep. She is mumbling about my tiredness. asking me why I am so tired? I say nothing, she continues. Johnny if you are going to sleep in class- you will need to go to the office- the other kids are recording the scene. I refuse, she gets irritated, calls the principal- he comes and gets me, after being in his office and refusing to talk- he calls my mom.  

My mom is irritated, what she gonna do? NOTHING, she will do nothing- cause I rule. Mom comes in and talks to the principal. She shares with the principal- what happened last night and how she responded. He asked her, are you trying to be Johnny’s friend? Mom sat quietly looking at him, she said I don’t know what to do? He asked her, does Johnny have a cell phone?  Does Johnny have a television and privileges of watching tv and playing video games? She replied yes, he asked her why is Johnny allowed to have these things if he can;t get to school on time and stay awake?

HE told her Johnny has a responsibility to earn his education, Johnny has a job- his job is his education! My mom was beside herself in pain, and frustration; and yet she is not alone o=in this experience. Many other families face this very same dilemma in society today. It’s the new norm for many families.  

Boundaries, the teacher is talking about boundaries, I have no idea what she means. What has this to do with education? She keeps talking and then it hits me as she continues on about boundaries, she’s not talking about land boundaries- she's talking about relationships. I realize I have to set boundaries in my life. I was wrong to ask James to come over and watch a movie on a school night- it’s like a light bulb came on form me- I could see my moms frustration. The teacher said the school was hosting a Family Fun Night- I listened, but not sure mom would go with me. Later on I learn that as I am learning a lesson on boundaries, the principal is talking to my mom-he is telling her about boundaries, why they are important and how they help young people to develop self-control, to be part of our society, and to feel cared for and safe. Boundaries also help parents look after themselves and other family members. While she is learning about boundaries- so am I.  

The principal calls me into his office, he says that he has talked to my mom and that he thinks he has a healthy solution for our family. He said he wanted us to know that we are not alone, that in society we have had a major societal shift and professionals are just learning how to help families function in a healthy environment - we knew we needed help, so we listened. 

Mr. Smith said the school was setting up a family fun night, weekly and that he suggested we sign up. We agreed, and left his office- heading home from a long morning of emotional healing or at least the process is started. Mom, I am going to rest for a little while. Mom said, you can rest until I get home from work, and then we are going to talk about boundaries and what you can and can’t cross…

August 12, 2019 15:03

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