Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Dante, ROTC and war, mom without a job, my life"


This photo is of Dante's mom, Angelna, and Dante in front of the church where they go. Angelina, who has been kind of a mother to her younger siblings since the age of 6, saw her own dad in the military get murdered when he intervened in a domestic violence incident where a man was beating a woman. The man left and returned with a gun and shot this promising young father. So the thought of Dante going off to war at 18 is going to hit her especially hard, but she gets up every morning to drive Dante to drill practice, probably because he is motivated to go, and 3 hours of drilling works off some of that boundless energy of his.

Dante has confided in me this visit he is very bored in school so he has taken to drawing constantly in his classes. He may have inherited some of the family talent for drawing as both my sisters LaRae and Linda did, as well as his father and my son Dan. I asked him why the classes bored him. He cited one teacher who complained all the time. He said he likes the history class. He seems to think it is the lack of teaching talent that is the problem.
Unfortunately, I think that if a teacher is good enough to get the attention of some of these wild young students, he or she is very apt to become controversial and unable to function within the 'system' long without getting into trouble themselves. I had to admit that I experienced the same kind of problem in high school, and I know that my 4 children kind of slept through high school, experiencing similar boredom.

I think we are afraid, as a society, of the kind of dynamic teaching that would fuel interest in the young generation. Why? What are the answers?

I made Dante stop playng games on the computer at 3 AM and had him sit down and actually talk to me. He protested that he was talking on the Internet most of the time, not playing games, to people all over the country as well as here. I said, "Okay, talk to me." So we talked about communicating, and how he has been coming to visit Grandma, quite often staying overnight as he did last night, for years. He actually visits me more than anybody in my family, and knows more about how I live. He even interacts with Doc. He has gone down to his apartment quite often and watched the videos we make on his screen, where I edit them on his computer. Last night we mostly talked about communicating and the problems everyone has with it. I said how each person has to develop muscle in this area, so they don't repeat the same kind of behavior over and over that kills communication. I said one thing was getting too angry in the attempts to talk. Getting into a heated argument instead of actually discussing. Another problem is doing it enough. You can't become a good communicator I told Dante just doing it once in a blue moon.
I always found Angelina, Dante's mother, to be a talented communicator but I think too many people rely on church involvement to take care of the problem of communicating. The only problem with that is if there is some serious doubts about doctrine or as is usually the case, services that fail to hold the interest of the young rebel, then the skeptics and rebels depart from church, which is usually one or two of your children and what then?
I doubt Dante will remain a Christian once he is 18 then his mother will feel she has failed to do her job and will also likely blame my son and even me for his falling away. I must say he is attending church much better than my son Dan did who on being asked if he wanted to return to church again at the age of 5, firmly proclaimed, "No, it's too boring!" And he meant it. He also announced he would not return to day care one day at about that age, and fought going back so hard I had to allow him to pick his baby sitter since his mother had to work. He finally agreed to Mickey. He would also accept his Aunt Linda when she was available. But Dan had a mother with skeptic tendencies and Dante's mother is a believer.
He is better off with her than with my son, as his job requires him to be away many hours in the day which would have left Dante unsupervised. As it is now she has two younger chldren and up untll just a year or so ago stayed home with them with their father providing funds to live on.
Unfortunately he went from a good paying job as an operator of big equipment to no job at all in the Arizona construction business deep recession. Unemployment benefits ran out. And this proud man employed many years in the construction busness seems lost in how to go to a lesser job to care for his kids. He had given up drinking, but Dante says he is back doing it, so is not reliable to tend the kids while Angelina works. She has separated from him. So it is tough times for this little family. My son Dan is helping out with some child support and taking Dante on Saturday when he is not in school and he is not working too long of hours. On Sunday Dante usually returns to attend church. Last night, for example, Dan worked 12hours and more yesterday so Dante stayed here.
Hopefully Dan's job in one of the big downtown hotels will hold up. He is lucky to have it. He works in the media department that provides equipment to the big conventions and sets it up and sees that it runs properly. My son Gary who works for a construction company also and is finding it tough to find jobs let Dan move in with him. He bids jobs for his company, but said he thinks he can swing his new mortgage even if he gets laid off. Gary is experienced at many jobs, so if he can't keep workng, you know the recession is biting deep.
Dante got to go to sleep after a while and is still sleeping peacefully as I write. I have his breakfast ready for him. He requested orange juice and a sausage and egg biscuit from Circle K. Maybe we will talk some more when he gets up!


Paula said...

You're a good grandma Gerry.

LaRena said...

I really enjoyed seeing Dante, both in his ROTC attire and in the video. He is one handsome little dude. I worry about the war and all the young boys coming of age. If we have to resort to a draft in order to have enough troops to cover all the necessary area it will be very upsetting for a lot people.

My heart goes out to Angelina trying to manage to earn money and be a great mom to her kids. What job! She probably relys on the church to help he raise them well, feeling she needs all the help she can get. It is to be hoped the recession is coming close to an end so these nice little families wont have to have such a struggle. It is very good that Dante can rely on you to talk with him and make it interesting. I think kids now days are so stimulated with their electronic games, texing, computers and such that teachers and other people become boring pretty fast. Interesting entry. said...

I, too, enjoyed this entry and video. Communication is not always easy. I find Dante willing to get up to be a drill at five, interesting. I sympathize with Angelina trying to find work where she can feed and still be with her kids. Not easy.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of Dante after seeing him looking so handsome in his ROTC uniform. I don't know what his plans are but I just read where many kids are being rejected from the service because of not having high school ddiplomas, maybe you are hoping that he really won't want to go into the service.
Also been thinking about comments about teachers failing students. I guess technically teachers can be blamed for failures as well as success of students. Watching the conditions in the educational system with too many kids, too few good teachers, cutting funds on and on, it will be a challenge to excell in school, maybe the odds are against it, but too it doesn't make sense that the kids with more intelligence are the ones that are being shorted. Or again it might be more up to the kid to maneuver their way to try to go whereever they want to, more kids are in college than ever, its more like going to high school years back, many expect to go and do even with big debt for student loans.
Can't imagine what families are doing without jobs, many are relying on their church to help our as well as medicaid. Angelina would probably love to be able to stay home with those cute kids, seems she worked most of Dante's young life.


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