by: Shanda Thornton
I chose this video strictly because of the title, and when I was listening to it, I was so glad that I did. It is really hard to summarize this video because everything he said would mean a lot to a student who is going through this struggle. So I apologize for my summary length, I cut out so much of his talk, and there is still a long post!
When Shane was a kid he hid his heart under his bed because his mother told him if he wasn’t careful someone would break it. We are told to stand up for ourselves but how can we if we don’t know who we are? We have to define ourselves at an early age, if we don’t someone else does it for us... Geek, fatty, slut, fag, etc. At the same time, we were being told who we were, we are being asked what do you want to be when you grow up. Shane says he always thought that was an unfair question. It makes us assume that we can’t be what we already are- we were kids! When Shane was a kid, he wanted to be a man, he wanted to retire with enough savings that would keep him in candy long enough to make old age sweet. When he was 8, he wanted to be a marine biologist until he saw the movie Jaws. At age 10, he was told his parents left because they didn’t want him. At age 11, he wanted to be left alone. At age 12, he wanted to die. At age 13, he wanted to kill a kid. At age 14, he was asked to seriously consider a career path. He said he’d like to be a writer, and they told him to choose something realistic, so he said a professional wrestler and they responded with, Don’t be stupid. They asked what they wanted to be and then told them what they couldn’t be . He wasn’t the only one. They were being told that they must become what we are not sacrificing what we were to inherit the masquerade of what we will be. He was being told to accept the identity that others would give him. What made my dreams so easy to dismiss? He added that granted his dreams were shy, self conscious, and overly apologetic, standing alone at the high school dance, and never being kissed they were still his dreams. He goes on to say that not only did he get called silly but his dreams got called names also, silly, foolish, impossible. He had it all figured out, he was going to be a wrestler, called the garbage man, his finishing move was going to be called the trash compactor, his phrase was going to be, “I’m taking out the trash!” A guy called the Dumpster Drusky, stole his plot. He was crushed, so he turned to poetry. This was what he loved.
The first lines of poetry he remembers writing was in response to a world that demanded that he hates himself, from 15-18 he hated himself for becoming a bully, which he loathed. He was 19 when he wrote- “I will love myself despite the ease in which I lean towards the opposite standing up for yourself, doesn’t have to mean embracing violence.” When he was 9 he traded homework assignments for friendship, he gave himself a hall pass to get through every broken promise, he gave everyone a pass for showing up late or not at all. He remembers a plan born out of frustration from a kid that called him Yogi, and would point at his stomach and say “too many picnic baskets”. One day before school he gave this kid the answers from the homework, but he wrote wrong answers down for him the night before, when the boy got his homework back he was confused to see that he didn’t do well, and he looked at Shane questioning him? Shane showed him his paper which was nearly perfect and thought to himself, “smarter than the average bear mother ******!”
He explains what his life was like and the problems he dealt with for being overweight and how letting children use their own words can cause problems. There is a very funny story but I didn’t want to extend this blog post any longer than it already is, so I encourage you to actually watch this one! The story is how he gained his first nickname, Porkchop, but through this process he was removed from his grandmother’s home by protective services because of a miscommunication dealing with in his words a bruise from his moment of realization that fat kids weren’t designed to climb trees.
He goes on and says he knows he isn’t the only kid surrounded by people who used to say the rhyme: “Sticks and stones as if broken bones hurt more than the names we got called and we got called them all. So we grew up believing no one would ever fall in love with us. That we would be lonely forever. That we would never meet someone that would make us feel like the sun is something they built for us in their tool shed so broken heart strings bled the blues and we tried to empty ourselves so we felt nothing don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone.” He says that the school halls were battlegrounds, they found themselves outnumbered day after day we used to stand inside for recess because outside was worse.
We weren’t the only kids who grew up this way and still to this day kids are still being called names, causing bearded ladies, depression, and loneliness playing solitaire, spin the bottle, trying to kiss the wounded parts of ourselves and heal but at night while the others sleep. He wants to tell them that all of this is debris left over then we finally decide to smash all the things we thought we used to be an if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself you need to buy a new mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer, because there is something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit. He goes on and explains the struggles that these kids go through throughout the school years . Shane says you have to believe that they were wrong, why else would we still be here? We grew up to cheer on the underdog because we see ourselves in them. We stem from a root planted in the belief we are not what we were called.In closing, he says our lives is just balancing acts that have less to do with pain and more to do with beauty.
by: Chastity Westry
Kakenya Ntaiya starts off her talk telling us about a group of people in Kenya that people travel the world to go see. These people, she says, are tall, can jump high, wear red, and kill lions. These people are Maasais and she says that she is a part of them. In this culture, the boys are brought up to be boys and girls are brought up to be mothers. When she was 5, she found out that she was engaged to be married as soon as she hit puberty. Everything she did from the moment she found out was to prepare her to be a perfect wife by age 12.
She went to school, because her mother was denied an education, her mother didn’t want Kakenya and her siblings to live the life she was living. Kakenya’s father worked as a police in the city, sometimes they didn’t see him for up to two years. Whenever he came home, he would sell the cows and products they had on the farm, that her mother had worked hard to use to take care of her children, just so he could go drink with his friends. Women were not allowed to own land, so her father had “the right” to do that because he owned it. The women of the village never questioned the men’s actions or choices.
When Kakenya went to school she had a dream, she wanted to become a teacher, She said it looked as if the teacher’s were just writing on the board and that wasn’t hard work, compared to what she was doing on the farm. So she worked hard to finish school, but when she was in 8th grade, she was forced to be a part of a ceremony for girls that signyfied their becoming a woman. At this point she hit a crossroad, once she went through this tradition, she would become a wife so her dream of being a teacher wouldn’t come through. She talked to her father, she told him that she would only go through this ceremony if he let her go back to school. He agreed. On the day of the ceremony they experienced an unlikely tradition of their culture, the girls had a piece of themselves mutilated. Kakenya’s mother took care of her and 3 weeks later she was back in high school. While in school, she met a gentlemen from their village that had been to The University of Oregon, She told him she wanted to go where he went because he looked happy.
She applied to school and was accepted, and she had to have the support of the village to be able to afford it. When the men of her village heard she had the opportunity to go to school they felt it was a lost of opportunity that should have been given to a boy. She went back to the village, they have a chief that if he says yes everyone will follow him. She asked for help and for him to support her to go to America, he said he couldn’t do it alone and gave her a list of 15 other men to help her. That worked. She arrived in America and was shocked at her findings of the land of plenty.
While in America, she learned that the ceremony that she and the others girls went through was against the law in Kenya, and that she had a right to get an education. She learned her mother had a right to own property and to not be abused. These things made her angry. She got her graduate degree, but had a constant pain for the girls in Kenya, so she went back to help. She wanted the backing of the village to support a school for the girls, they wanted a school for boys, so they did both. The sign of commitment to this project was the gift of land where they built the school for girls. In only 5 months everyone could see the change in the girls. They are making big differences in the girls. 125 girls will never be mutilated or married when they are 12 because of this school. They are instead creating and achieving their dreams. Its a new dawn ,a new beginning, happening in this school. They are giving opportunities so that they can rise and this is the tradition she brought to her community. She ended the speech with a challenge, she asked everyone to be the first leader because people will follow. Be bold, stand up, be fearless, be confident, as you change your world . If everyone does that what kind of world will we be able to leave our children?
By: Victoria Williams
What do babies think? Babies can understand and reflect. One thing the baby probably is thinking, what in the world are those people thinking? Psychologist and Doctors think that babies can’t think and talk like we do. There was a study done on two groups of babies, they were showed a bowl of broccoli and a bowl of goldfish. The doctor would say ummm… broccoli and put it to her mouth and then say eww...goldfish. When she asked for some the 15 month babies gave her goldfish. When she repeated the same process with the 18 months they would give her the one she wanted. That is just a three month difference. That shows us that babies know more and learn more than we thought. Why do children learn so much? We have always thought that babies are full of useless knowledge, There is a relationship between how long the period of childhood experience is to having bigger brains. Long childhoods mean a child is acquiring a lot of knowledge and learning.
Unconsciously kids are using statistics to find out about the world. Scientist do experiments as do kids, in the video it shows an experiment with a little boy who has two sets of two different colored shapes and a box with a light in it, if both sets are stacked correctly the lights in the boxes will come on, the child sat there and tried many scenarios to try and get both sets stacked properly to get both lights to shine. This, she says, is quite typical. Children usually do a series of experiments to find an answer. She says, “What is it like to be a creature that can test 5 hypothesis in just a few minutes?”
Most psychologist thought that babies were barely conscious, if even conscious at all. Allison thinks the opposite. Adults think if something is important we should pay attention, they are more flexibly focused and purpose driven. Babies and young children are a lantern of consciousness. They are very good at taking in more, they are bad at not paying attention. To be like that as adults, when we are put into situations we haven’t been in before, we act like kids. It’s good to be an adult, and makes sense that we put efforts into actually making babies. Think like adults do but if what we want is to be like these babies, to have open learning, imagination, open mindedness, creativity, and innovation. Maybe at least some of the time we should spend time getting more adults to think like more children!
We apologize for our long blog post, but these are some of the most meaningful videos that we have watched this semester! We encourage you to watch each of these if not the other seven also!