Monday, February 28, 2011

Wait. What?

Glancing through the middle school's "week at a glance" download, I saw all the usual reminders for fundraisers due, pretzel sale days in the lunchroom, and upcoming field trips.

But one item in particular caught my eye:

Tuesday March 1st
Self-Injury Awareness Day

What the...?

I honestly don't know what this means. The first image that comes to mind is an exam at the dermatoligist's office. You've perhaps heard the horror stories from a parent or maybe a red-headed friend prone to melanoma? One of those zero-dignity full-body scans where every inch of the naked body is mapped out and photographed by a younger and in much better shape health professonal; each pimple, mole and blemish catalogued for posterity?

Does our school offer a similar procedure for the students where their bodies are scanned for scrapes, bumps and bruises?

If so, why?

Or is it to make students aware that they could be injured?

If so, I ask again, why?

In my mind, a little injury is a good thing. I take dirty, scraped up knees as a sign that a kid is doing what he's supposed to do.

Show me soft hands and pale sun-protected skin and I'll show you a couch potato (my oldest. Perfect example).

Show me a kid with sunburned shoulders, a freckle explosion, a little road rash across his arms and shins, and a few Band-Aids on his knees, and I'll show you a kid who is outside climbing trees and wiping out his bike on the gravelly edge of the road.

That's what they're supposed to be doing, people.

One Mommy phrase that always made me cringe in the parks and backyards was "Be careful, honey...." (always with a kind of mid-western whiny undertone) while their kid was in the middle of climbing or riding something. What do they expect that phrase to do for their kid? I'll tell you what it'll do -- make them second-guess their every movement and become fearful that they might get hurt. And then they never learn to enjoy the freedom of exploring what their bodies can do. They have the cautious movements of a child in the shadow of an overprotective helicopter parent.

These are the kids who don't:
climb a tree
climb too high on the monkey bars
ride a bike anywhere but the driveway, and only then in a full suit of armor
play in the backyard without a complete spray down of sunblock
get within five feet of a frog, insect, or worm
touch anything at the petting zoo
bait their own hooks.

Our neighborhoods are becoming ghost-towns, people! Kids don't go outside to play anymore, or even to do good old-fashioned chores like weeding or raking. In fact, I think I'll see if I can schedule an assembly at school, or better yet talk to my congressman to see about passing legislation to get kids outside more to get dirty and cut up their knees and .....

.... oh wait. I just Googled self-injury awareness and it has nothing to do with kids injuring themselves while playing, but rather, it refers to the act of self-mutilation, like cutting, due to psychological disturbances.

And oh wait, don't some of my kids have some of the same emotional/psychological flags (because of their traumatic pasts) that I just read about?

Cancel that meeting with my congressman.

Where can I get me some crow?

OK, OK, I'm a bad parent that's not up to speed on all the dangers surrounding teens. So sue me. But first click the button to vote for me.Vote For Use @ Top Mommy Blogs


Ali said...

I have been a middle school teacher for 9 years now, and I do see self injury all the time. Some of the kids really do self injure due to psychological issues/trauma, but there is also a huge chunk of kids that self injure because it is cool to be "emo" (emo is a group similar to gothic) and dark. The most common self injury practices I've seen are "cutting" (superficial wounds, not suicide attempts), and burning their skin (with an eraser, ice mixed with ice melt, or the metal part of a lighter). The school nurse is really good about working with our students, parents, and school counselors. If you ask me, self injury is this generations anorexia/bulimia.

farmbeachgal said...

Thanks Ali. Guess I just never knew it was called "self injury". and here I am making jokes. Egg on my face here....

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