No Place for Youth

I walked out of an orthodontist’s office with my thirteen year old yesterday after our first appointment. As we sat on the subway on the way home I said something along the lines of, “I was trying to place the reason as to why that office visit felt so uncomfortable to me and also clearly for you.” He had spent the entire conversation with the orthodontist literally pinned to the patient’s chair flush in the face. “And I think I have put my finger on it. It was the way they treated you. All of the questions went to me. You were like an object in the room.” My son’s eyes brightened as he sat up at this and he exclaimed, “Yes!” It felt as if I were buying new drapes for my windows, where the drapes were braces and the windows were my son. And while that story has absolutely nothing to do with what we did on Tuesday Flying Squad, it has everything to do with how youth are treated in our society and what happened to us on Tuesday.

All in all the day was fun and went as a normal Tuesday Flying Squad day would go. However, we made a visit to our Village to see how our houses were faring in the woods of Prospect Park. On the way into the final path we saw many deep truck tire marks left in the mud. As we walked up to our land we saw that the houses had all been knocked down. Clearly the Parks Department came along and knocked them all down. There was anger and disappointment among the group, including me.

We push around children like objects on a conveyor belt, with the expectation that magically they will come out on the other side as great innovators. Children are but drapes on our windows to decorate our lives as we see fit. There is no place for youth any more.

We went to the playground afterwards and played poker for zip ties again. And we discussed how to start a critical mass for youth project to claim their space.