Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roosevelts had Secrets; not Cool Kids

            I love hearing Jenna sing.  Often I am surprised to hear her sing along with songs that I have never even heard before.  One of those is the catchy “Cool Kids” by Echosmith.  Here is just one video with lyrics.

            As we were walking to school yesterday, she was not only singing the song, but made comments as well – how she and her friend Paul wish they were “cool kids”.  She was spending her recess with Paul and another boy who recently ditched them for his sports and Paul actually has safety patrol duty and so Jenna often feels alone.  She does have friends at Vantanna.  I KNOW she has friends.

            It’s not like her first school when she really was among the more popular kids at her school – in fact still is popular at her first school – which is funny; she hasn’t attended that school for over five years now. 

Popularity is not necessarily the greatest thing.  I had told her that before we moved.  What a devastating blow it’s been to her since we moved to West Valley.  Though she continues to seek friends, she is often a loner.

            I too, was a loner at school.  There were times I wish I hadn’t been treated like I was invisible, but I didn’t necessarily wish to give up my individualism in order to fit in. I did suppose that being treated as though I didn’t exist was better than being bullied.  I have often wondered what it is that makes “cool kids” cool and why they have such a following.

            I reminded Jenna that school popularity (or lack thereof) does not necessarily define who you will turn out to be.  I told her that there are many celebrities and historical figures that had been mistreated who still came to make a name for themselves.  Often times the result has had a positive effect or influence on many others.  There are also a number of “popular” kids that don’t know how to face the adult world once school has ended.

            Currently I am involved in watching the PBS series: “Roosevelts/An Intimate History”  Both Theodore and Franklin were bullied and teased in their youth.  They were not well liked.  And look at what an influence they had on the country that they served.  

            Eleanor had quite a difficult childhood and was verbally abused by her mother and not well accepted by her mother-in-law who seemed to have this insecure hold upon her son – casting Eleanor to the shadows at best.  I believe that Eleanor Roosevelt is the most quoted of any other first lady in American history.

            They had hard lives.  They had many secrets.  They kept their private lives private – tried to anyway.  Theodore went on to be the youngest president (though JFK was not much older) that we’ve ever had.  FDR served more years than any other president.  Both made considerable accomplishments – and contributions.  Not that their lives were ever what some might view as “sunshine and roses” but they did touch many other lives in a positive way.  Not everyone – but many.

            I think it’s great when we can turn our hardships to someone’s advantage (if not our own) and create positive things or examples of overcoming and becoming.  I think it’s great when “cool kids” are positive and friendly and don’t exclude.  I hope that Jenna will grow and stay herself and still be accepted.  We each have talents that make us cool.  Even though others may not recognize the “coolness” I hope she recognizes it in herself.

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