(5) The Bull

“Future civilizations will study how technology transformed our world.  They will analyze how humanity was molded by television, literature, and media.  They will be able to look at our behavior differently with an advanced understanding of which we can not comprehend today.  They will use what is happening now to improve future life on this planet.”

I put this quote on the screen so that the students could look at the words as I read aloud for them.  When I was finished, I minimized the quote and put everyone back in their boxes on the computer.  Now seeing all of them, I asked, “So, what do you think?”

Yesterday I had given them this quote at the end of the day to read and reflect on in their journals. 

I was requiring them to keep a journal for the class.  At the beginning of the year I had bought them each a nice one to keep.  In it they were allowed to write whatever they wanted but were asked to answer certain questions in it as well.  

Part of the what helped me stay sane in sobriety was journaling, so I was simply trying to plant a seed with them.  I knew damn well kids did not journal; I never journaled when I was a kid.  But it really helped me now and I wanted them to look back on this as something they could possibly use in the future.  In reality I was never going to really check that they kept them, but looking at my students on the screen at this moment I could see they all had the journals with them.  This made me very happy.  

After not getting any volunteers, I moved the conversation forward, “Pras, tell me what you think.”

Reading from his journal he spoke, “From an evolutionary standpoint we are infants when it comes to understanding the technology we have.  For that reason, I agree with the statement completely.”  Looking up from his book he saw that I was encouraging him to go on.  

Not looking at what he had written anymore he elaborated, “I mean, classes are taught to kids about the industrial revolution and how it changed everything.  Someday I have to imagine a class will be taught about the internet revolution and what is happening right now-and how that changed everything too.  That’s pretty much what the quote means right, Mr. J?”

There was no way to be certain, but I had to agree with Pras, “I think you hit the nail on the head.  Your explanation makes perfect sense to me.  What do you think Lauryn?”

“I think it’s a bunch of bullshit…just more noise to distract us from what is really going on,” Lauryn snapped back, “God has a plan…this world is destine to end and this is just part of His plan.  Thinking that we can control things, or fix things, is the devil’s work.”

I should have anticipated this.  Lauryn spoke of religion a lot.  When I provided the quote for them to reflect on, I never imagined someone would put this spin on the statement, however.  Respecting Lauryn’s beliefs, I tried to politely move on by asking Nel what he thought.

“I agree with Lauryn,” said Nel simply.  From the corner of the screen I could see Lauryn smile and then Nel smile too-not to each other but instead to the camera in front of them.  (On a computer this whole flirting thing was super-awkward; it made me feel like a third wheel on a date.)

Laughing at them I butted in, “Nel, how about you think as an individual and not as a boyfriend for once…I promise Lauryn can take an honest opinion on the subject from you.”

Standing firm, his smile grew into a smirk as he looked at me through the screen, “I agree with Lauryn,” he said again. 


Week 5- (10.9.20) – “The Bull”

“Did you know that they put an elastic around a bull’s balls to make it go crazy like that?”

When I was around ten years old, my older cousin said this to me at one of our regular Sunday dinners while the family watched television- a bull riding competition was on.

This was before you could pause live television (also before Google).  Over time, more and more family members joined my cousin and I around the couch.   Was he right?  Was there really an elastic tied around this bull’s testicles?

Every time we would get a shot from behind of the bull kicking his hind legs, we would jump to our feet to get a closer look; thinking that we saw a string in that millisecond.  For the record, I had strong feelings against animal cruelty as a young child, so I remember being upset thinking that my cousin was right.  That did not stop me from laughing however.

It was not just the kids that were entertained by this either.  Aunts, uncles, parents, and even grandparents pondered the validity of my cousin’s statement.  There would be no proof though unless one of us actually ‘saw it.’

“You have to see to believe.”

So we watched.

And we all laughed.

It is one of my favorite memories of those family dinners that we would have.  I know this will sound cliché, but it was simpler times back then.  Nowadays, any one of us would have just jumped on our phones and ‘Googled’ it.  But I promise you it was a lot more fun the way things went down in my grandparent’s living room.  

To this day I’m still not sure if my cousin was right or not.  I’m pretty sure however that you will find out the answer for me after we end class here today.

Just remember to delete your browser history!

But anyway.

Have you ever tried to support someone trying to kick an addiction?  How about trying to help someone stay emotionally stable in the midst of a life crises??  Forget about other people for a moment, maybe just keeping yourself balanced 24/7 is a challenge sometimes???

I do not have to tell you that none of these things are easy to do.

Life is hard.

Again, nothing secret about this.

Some days we are sad.  Some days we are angry.  Some days we are annoyed, worried, anxious, stressed. Somedays we might feel scared that life will never get better for us.  

“Momma said there’d be days like this.”

But then again, some days we are happy, and that is the goal.  Right?

Wrong, not for everyone.  For many living in this world, surviving another day is the goal, not happiness.  I wish this was not the case, but unfortunately there is too much evidence to support this statement.  

Tragedy strikes everywhere you look.  And life for the majority gets harder year after year.  No wonder Hollywood has made a fortune making movies about a pending apocalypse.  Maybe some people find hope in believing the end of days is near?

Telling you this does not make me a wise person.  It is common sense.

The pursuit of happiness is not something to be ashamed of, however.   Just like many of you reading this, I think my well-being lies at the center of the universe also.  It is how the human brain is wired, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Something to do with ‘self-preservation,’ I think.

It is no secret that we are all at our best when we feel like we have purpose.  And if that purpose is to be happy then you should fight for it with all your might.  There is no judgement here.  I just want you to be reminded that for some out there, survival is the goal, so give yourself a break and try to be grateful for being alive today.

The truth is that trying to stay happy in today’s world, just like an addict trying to kick the habit, is like riding a bull.  Life will kick you around.  Punish you.  Test you.  It will make you hold on while you wait for it to get tired and give up before you do.  Unfortunately, the bull always wins, we all eventually fall off.  

The real question is:  Will you get back on?

My hope is that you will, because there is no way to ‘Google’ what the future holds-A miracle may be waiting for you right around the corner.

Which reminds me: Did you know that in some religions the word ‘Apocalypse’ represents an ‘awakening period’ for humanity?  This is quite different than Hollywood’s portrayal of it, don’t you think??  Which one do you think will be correct???

Only time will tell.

Regardless of which one wins out, it promises to be quit the show.  So, gather your friends, and sit up close.  You won’t want to miss it…

Trust me, I’ll be right there on the couch watching things unfold with you; always asking questions, trying to be patient, and reminding myself to have faith even in the darkest of times.

Week 5- Question for Reflection:  

In your opinion, will things in this world get better or worse over the next 100 years?

(Click here to continue to next to chapter of the journey)

Music for Transcending Minds:

“I know a galaxy and I could take you for a ride.” -Levitating (feat. DaBaby) by Dua Lipa

Follow us on Facebook: @SocialRecovery101
Read our story at: RecoveryHighSchool.com

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