Saturday, July 05, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I volunteer at an agency that does counseling for kids. Kids with drug problems and/or family problems. Kids with no money. The term for these kids is "at-risk." I don't work with the kids, as i am not qualified, but i do other stuff that helps the place out, because i believe that all kids deserve to be taken care of as best we can.

The agency just started a summer program that takes some of the kids to various places in the community for free. Places like the zoo and the aquarium and hiking.

Last week i noticed that they didn't have enough adults to supervise the next week's activity, when they were going to go hiking, and i like hiking, so i volunteered to go.

However, last Thursday dawned with rain, lightening and thunder, the likes of which are rarely seen around here, so hiking was out. But i had to go anyway, because without me they didn't have enough adults.

Shit!.

We took the kids to a museum. Here are a few of the comments:

"This is stupid."
"I'm bored."
"I've already been here."
"When are we leaving?"
"Do we have to stay here?"

Honestly, the kids had a pretty good time, but these are kids with behavior and attitude problems, so they complain. And complain. Along with all the other normal but obnoxious behaviors of a group of pre-teen mostly boys. (Spitting, cursing, endless fart references, punching each other, throwing things.)

But i survived, and was grateful to get back to the agency. One of the counselors asked me how it went.

"You know," i replied, "I don't really like kids."

"Who does?" he answered.

Cheered me right up.

38 comments:

flutter said...

nothing like a kindred spirit, hmm?

Stucco said...

I worked at a non-profit that gave scholarships including laptops (my part and interest). One year the laptops were engraved with the name and logo of the giving foundation and the kids said "they did this so that we can't sell them."

Astonishing. I'll one up you- I don't especially like people. Well, with REAL limited exceptions.

Mrs. Chili said...

Heh. I don't know that ANYONE likes pre- and teenaged kids. They're okay when they're little-little and after they emerge from the hormone haze, but it's touchy for several years in the middle....

fiwa said...

That's why I figure teachers must be the most underpaid people in the world - they gotta put up with that stuff on a daily basis.

That was refreshingly honest of the counselor. :)

Marshamlow said...

I especially don't like other people's children. It is funny how they can be so amazing and life afirming and on the other hand they can be so very hard to be around.

patches said...

I like kids best when I'm not the one who is expected to be a good role model. Did you know it's considered a bad example to drop the f-bomb in front of them? Who knew?

meno said...

flutter, make me smile!

stucco, one of my favorite quotes is "Life is awful and people are horrid."

mrs. chili, i think they're okay individually, but in a group? Yeesh!

fiwa, i'm with you, teachers are incredible. I could never be one.

marsha, it's a conundrum, that's true.

patches, seriously? I had no idea. Where do they think these kids are going to learn the correct use of "fuck" if we don't show them?

ETK said...

That'll teach you. :)

I love that you do something, anything, that helps.

QT said...

I'm with stucco, I just don't like people in general. If you manage to get roped into a next time, maybe stop at a bar on Capitol Hill for shots - they need to learn to drink responsibly, too.

Franki said...

Oh man, I can just tell that if we ever met, you'd have to write a post about my endless fart references.

Scott from Oregon said...

I like kids.

They KNOW their farts are funny...

Maddy said...

Now that's my kind of counselor! Cheers for you dearie.

furiousBall said...

kids kick ass.

The Real Mother Hen said...

What do you think would happen if one adult asked them to shut the fxxx up and behave? You think they would Rebel or stay quiet?

luckyzmom said...

I was a kid once and I
wondered what adults thought of me.

Dianne said...

I was a mentor for a year or so to a pre-teen girl

she was most happy when telling me how nothing I did made her happy

so I kept trying to disappoint her - she loved it ;)

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I can totally relate, but I don't want to think about it (it's summer break!) You've gone and created some more good kharma for yourself, Meno. Great way to start the week!

sari said...

Imagine the day they would have had with someone who really *really* didn't like kids! ;-)

Brad said...

You get extra credit in heaven for going on the outing, right ?

egan said...

You do good work. Where were you going to hike had the lightning not happened? Rattlesnake Ridge? That was quite the impressive lightning show for Seattle. Fun stuff.

Diane Mandy said...

I love your honesty, Meno.

PS. What happened to Keifer?

meno said...

etk, beleive me, i'll never volunteer for that again!

qt, oh stop it, there are plenty of people you like. Or are you trying to tell me something? :)

franki, the thought of meeting you just made my head explode. I am not worthy.

scott, farts are funny, the first 50 times they are mentioned.

maddie, i know, i wanted to kiss him.

furious, eh, i should have you go on the next outing.

mother hen, i think they would have tattled. "She said 'fuck'. She's not supposed to do that."

luckyzmom, i never wondered, i just assumed they thought i was too noisy, dirty, messy.

dianne, that's perfect, just perfect.

mrs. 4444, i think all the good kharma might have been erased by admitting they drove me crazy.

sari, ha! They would have torn them to shreds.

brad, god, i hope so!

egan, we were going to go to Twin Falls. Rattlesnake would be too far for most of these kids. It was a great show.

diane, thanks! I got tired of Keifer and decided to go with ET.

Maggie said...

twin falls! oh so sad you couldn't go.

i find kids are much more tolerable when out of doors is involved. that includes my own. :)

Vanessa said...

Great come-back from your co-worker!

Deb said...

I like little kids. The ones that find the world such an amazing place. Older kids, teenagers, they yell at me and tell me I'm a lousy mother before they ask for a ride to the mall:)

Tink said...

Kids in general suck, even when you love them. The reason they're so cute when they're little is so we don't eat them... Or something like that.

LazyLazyMe said...

I think the idea that 'problem' kids (or adults for that matter) have to somehow emerge at the end of the volunteer programme/dream opportunity/fairy tale as grateful and humble and somehow magically normalised amusing.

As you've said, 'normal' kids are awful. We allow them to be and they grow up in to obnoxious adults. But if they have money or half a brain or understanding parents they get away with it for ever and ever.

Those kids with nothing tend to get judged a little more harshly.

Museums are boring. Only adults and children trying to please adults think otherwise.

There's no need to like them, just know that they have as much right to being an arsehole as anyone else.

hockamama said...

funny thing is, my kris would probably be in that group if we lived where you do. I've often wondered about the people who work with him and his group, now I know...

you did a good thing, unfortunately they're at that phase ~from 11 to 30~ where they just don't appreciate good will.

meno said...

maggie, the outdoors would have been much better. Then they could have run and yelled and been kids.

vanessa, he's a funny guy.

deb, i have a limited tolerance for all humankind, including myself. See how nice you are?

tink, yep, that is the truth, although no one admits it.

lazy, everything you say is true. I was wondering if any of this counseling stuff does the kids any good at all. And i don't like museums either.

holly, you understand that we were just being tired and silly right?

Lynn said...

Oh man...the kids comments could have come straight from my mouth...I generally find museums boring...and I think farts are funny even after 50 times(much to DH's dismay)...maybe that's why my boss keeps sending me to work with middle school and high school students...sigh Maybe next time you will qualify your availability with something like..."I'm pretty sure I will be able to help out on the hike...but then again, maybe not".

egan said...

But the name Rattlesnake Ridge alone might freak a few of the kids out. Twin Falls is good though.

hockamama said...

of course I understand just being tired and stupid, I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I just always wondered what kind of mindset it took to put up with the crap that he and his housemates put their staff through. jeez, meno, did you really think I meant anything else? sorry...

l said...

welcome to my work-a-day world my friend.

"the bastards..."

meno said...

lynn, i would have been happy to go on the hike. They could have run and shoved and gotten rid of energy. But we had to try and get them to behave in the museum. No fun for any of us.

holly, i just wanted to make sure you were okay. It's hard to tell in writing sometimes, you know? I don't think you are that easily offended. :)

i, if this is what you do for a living, you are my hero.

the end of motherhood said...

I feel that way in my own house on a regular basis.

crazymumma said...

good on you. I bet you will do it again despite your alleged dislike.

TTQ said...

What about high risk adults?? Just saying.. some of us *ahem myself* turned out so fucked up. And I even TRY and play nicely with others but often other people grate on my nerves, that's when it gets nasty.

capacious said...

I'm trying desperately to catch up, not having read any blogs since JUNE. What a wanker I am!

But how I missed you, and it's so fun to read a whole bunch of you at once.