“Nature’s first green is gold”
The one line of a book I read at 15yrs old. In my grade 10 English class the entire class was asked (begged) to read at least one chapter of a book. The book was to go towards our overall grade 10 certificate for English. The entire class had groaned, admittedly I was one that joined in. One whole chapter of a book that the “teacher’s” wanted us to read. Wow, sometimes homework just sucked.
Anyways, I went home and did not do my homework. I went to hang out with a mate, then came home and had some dinner. The phone rung and it was for me. Another mate, who is still one of my besties till this day, rung almost every night. I had strict parents and although it bugged me at the time, age has shown me how amazing and strong they truly were, together. My parents didn’t want me to watch “soapies” on TV. Mortified by this, my mate rung me just so I could hear the latest gossip, on the shows, (so I wasn’t completely left out at school) through the phone (and yes, it was attached to the wall in my lounge room). After the shows finished we listened to music together over the phone till one of our parents said to hang up for the day. By this stage it’s getting pretty late I shower and get ready for bed. Say goodnight to my family and turn off the light. As I lay there I had a funny feeling I’d forgotten something. The light switch went back on, literally, and I remembered my homework.
Damn, OK then, I’ll read my one chapter…
So it must have been midnight when I finished the book, it was one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. It was actually abit of an honor for me to raise my hand the next day when the teacher asked who had read the first chapter. As the teacher acknowledged my hand in the air, I proceeded to tell him I’d read the whole book.
“What, in one night?” He said
“Well sure, it was easy. The book is one of the best things I’ve ever read”
Full marks for me, yay. If you haven’t guessed already the book was called,
A story of a family of three beautiful young men and their friends who have had their life mapped out for them because of where they are from, how they lived and what they wore.
I think the idealistic manner of learning your future as its “supposed to be” is what alot of people get lost in. Just because you didn’t want to read the books assigned in English or you couldn’t hang out at the high school parties, should not need to be the design of your future, or fate. I think what I’m trying to say is everyone is in charge of their own fate. I wish we could learn this when we are “green” but I guess it must be one of those things you learn in time.
My personal green was to be happy and content in my future. To me that meant saving my virginity till marriage, not taking drugs and not following others, just to follow my own heart. And to do this I believed in marriage and living happily ever after. As I waited for the “right” one to come along I lived. I went out with my friends and got a job. I earned my driver’s license and then … there he was. He was “the one” and I knew instantly that everything in my future was going to be amazing.
Now, if you haven’t read my other blog posts you may think that it’s a great story. I stayed married to this dream for 15yrs and during that time I grew. I grew up, and became the person I am today. I became a mother and a supervisor at work and was traveling nicely. Every problem or drama in my life, especially in my marriage, was manageable because I was living my happily ever after. I was in complete control (or so I thought).
If only I could go back to my teenage self and say, live your life, enjoy your time, don’t settle, take off those bloody rose-coloured glasses. The lies and bullying begun immediately, I see that now. But my green, naive self refused to see this. The taunting and the threats had begun before the ring even went on, I saw nothing.
I wish the message sent to me through this book showed me not to follow what I was supposed to do. And to step up and allow myself to have more options in life and not to settle. I wish Darry had gone to college with Paul. And Soda had got the opportunity to marry Sylvia. Just to show the impressionable 15yr olds reading can understand that they are in charge of their own future. Stop being a colony of ants following the leader and make your own path. Teach this to our children, that green can be gold. And that just because everyone and everything in their world is telling them to act a certain way or dress a certain way, they can become gold and make the best choices for themselves. And, flipping the coin, if your mate decides not to use drugs or be home on time … let them be. Support them, not ridicule them for not wanting to join in. I’m sure they want to but they are deciding to be their own personal version of gold and not green.
Being green is a beautiful stage in life. Teacher’s, parents, caregivers or even peers need to be more willing to un-mould children and allow them to follow their own paths. If they fail, then they learn. If they triumph then they’ve learned even better. Help each other grow and support the dreams of kids … playing computer games, hanging out late at night or using drugs are not the only option.
Sit them down and help them with homework and encourage them to be the best they can (and help them when they fail). Any thoughts? Add them in the comments and please follow my blog. I’d love to follow yours and spread the love and lessons.