…That’s what little boys are made of.
I am writing a blog today about men folk of all ages and varieties. I apologise now if I offend any of the lovely guys that I love by writing this..I will really try not to. It isn’t meant as a moan, more of an observation and ponder.
Men are really funny things…and boys are just slightly less funny things in training. But even a little boy has one thing in common with a grown man (and no it’s not what’s in his pants, don’t be rude!!) It is that they are undeniably blokey!
Personally at the moment I am really failing to understand guys at all, and am sersiously considering giving up on them entirley for a wee while to give myself a break!! Or maybe give up on them completely and become a nun/lesbian/mad cat lady!! And also the other “man in my life” Chris, the son of the vicar I live with, is driving me bananas right now and I do wonder what is in his head. As I type this, he is downstairs giving me the third rendition today of the only 3 songs he knows on the piano; they are both very loud and not very good!! This is after being on his Xbox 360, yelling at the americans who he was playing over his head mic, yesterday until about half midnight…and trying to eat the salt dough I had made for a craft today!?! I’m not gonna make a generalisation about all men eating everything in sight and being in love with their games consoles…(or am I?!?)…But he is not the first guy to display these characteristics and he sure as heck isn’t going to be the last!!
However, this constant wondering at what is going on in guy’s heads has made me think about the young guys that I work with. There is a little boy (Bradley) in my year 3 class that I am slowly really getting to like. My first few weeks there my thoughts were “I have never met a naughtier boy in my life!!”. He drove me mad, and his name was the first I learnt because I was forever yelling it down corridors after him. But as I’ve worked with him and talked to him (cos that’s what he’d rather do than work or do his reading) I’ve realised that he isn’t just naughty, he has something severely wrong with him; and it would seem that the school have only just really worked that out and sorted out the kind of one on one support he needs. Now, as I’ve grown to know this tiny little guy (he just about comes up to my hip) he has become one of the raesons that I enjoy going into that class so much. He’s got a wicked sense of humour, he has the cheekiest little face, actually knows my name and likes to talk to me, and working with him even small things are achievements that I can help with. On monday I sat with him for about 10 minutes while we did a page of work togtether, which was probably more than he’d done in a week, and then we trotted round the whole school showing all the teachers because he was so proud of himself. Yet another moment where i stopped feeling like I’m a spare part down here.
But this year 3, as small and young as he is, has some of exactly the same sterotypical male characteristics as another guy (Liam) who sticks out in my mind. This guy is 17, he’s already been in jail for three years, so while being so much older than his years in some ways in other ways he’s really immature and seems three years behind his peers. I have only seen him once when he hasn’t been high on something or other; he has left drugs in the church toilets; He isn’t allowed into youthie most weeks becuase he is too drunk to be safe, so spends his time drinking outside the door yelling at us through the window; and last week he smashed a window in the church hall. Despite all of this he is really funny, comes out with some hilarious remarks and keeps the younger ones in check cos they are all so scared of him.
But both of these guys are the same when it comes down to it. They both have a really macho swagger that is part and parcel of living in Weston; they both love the ladies; they love their computer games; and they are straight talking and don’t bitch about you behind your back, if they don’t like you they won’t beat about the bush!! And it is SO similar with the majority of the guys I work with here right from 5-18!!
Which in so many ways makes the guys easier to work with (honestly never thought i’d hear myself say that!!). You can strike up a conversation or realtionship just by picking up a playstation controller or having a game of pool with them; in the kind of work we do here those conversations, however small, are vital and sometimes all we can hope to get.
With the girls there is so much variety in how they can be. Even in age groups there is about 4 different “groups” we get here…and with some it is impossible to just strike up a conversation with them without getting dirty looks and then knowing that you are being bitched about. There is no real easy in, because there can be no assumption that they like anything. With the female species there is no one shared thing that we all have in common, and that is just one of the things that make this job tricky!! Even the 14+ girls that I see and work with three times a week are only now, two and a half months after they first met me, starting to use my name and actually acknowledge my presence. But ah well, it’s the beuty of youth work, huh?
So what am I trying to say in this post, apart from sharing tales of my work here. I guess it is addressing the many mysteries of men folk… The one’s I work with I seem to be able to understand perfectly but the ones outside of work I don’t have a clue about!! I guess I can’t win them all, and I should be grateful for the Bradleys and Liams of this world, the guys who make me laugh and are the only ones I go into work for sometimes!!
But Lord, I do pray, If it’s allowed…can the conundrum of men be unlocked, even just a little bit?? Please??