Saturday, August 3, 2013

Old Stories, New Lives

“When I was a child I never wanted to grow up. Now that I am grown, I look at the children and I think, “God help them to survive us, the big people in their lives.” Mostly, of course, our children will not survive our habits of thinking, our failures of the spirit, our wreck of the universe into which we bring new life, as blithely as we do. Mostly, our children will resemble our own misery and spite and anger, because we give them no choice about it. In the name of motherhood and fatherhood and education and good manners, we threaten and suffocate and bind and ensnare and bribe and trick children into wholesale emulation of our ways. Indeed, originality is recognized as disobedience, pathology, incorrigible character and/or unlawful conduct to be prosecuted by the state. Departure from established modes of being is seldom perceived as innovative or valuable alternative or necessary or, in any wise, legitimate. At best, new behavior by the new people among us, the children, is perceived as something to patronize or to tolerate, knowing that the systematic force of our adult demands for slavelike mimicry will likely overcome rebellious inclination, soon enough. Soon enough for what? Soon enough to convert these new lives into old stories we should be mortified, by now, to hear.”  ~June Jordan, “Old Stories, New Lives”

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

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