Saturday, March 05, 2005

Adventures in drama parties...

Tonight was the first cast/crew extravaganza for Dead Man Walking. Maddy was the extremely hospital host and I would like to thank her again profusely for the sustanence (her mom makes a mean bean dip and excellent pizza). However, while lounging around at this celebratory event, I noticed several trends. To begin with, people quickly separated. A group of techies and associates (including ex-techies) congregated around the food, with the occasional actor or actor/techie entering the mix. A group of male actors promptly logged onto a computer and initiated an...interesting...conversation with smarterchild. Female actors took over the upstairs TV and basement stereo, watching movies and throwing a dance party, respectively. Several couples (no, not me) established bases upon chairs in the corners of the basement. Perhaps the most interesting mix, however, was in the family room...here, actors and techies freely mixed and conversed while a stereo, guitar, and piano were shared and used to entertain those present. Even here, however, smaller groups formed and stuck together, generally breaking along friendships created outside of the current stage production. More than a few people seemed rather confused by the whole arrangement and wandered quietly from place to place without ever really entering a conversation.

Now what is the significance of all this, you are probably wondering. Here ya go.
At Jesuit, we pride ourselves on the sense of community and the love we extend to our classmates. Despite this, given the chance, Jesuit students seem as broken and divided as any other group. A unified cast and crew that operates as one unit to put on an amazing piece of theatre quickly divides back to subunits at the first availible moment. I conceed that I am simplifying here and that I could easily miss a great deal in terms of who relates well to whom, but these divisions seem rather prevelent. Even observing the cast and crew during production, friends stick with friends in smaller clumps. And most techies seem separated from most actors. I wonder if we at Jesuit are really all that different from the outside world we claim moral superiority over. Who at JHS would deny that our Encounters provide an incredible bonding experience that ties the school together? Yet how many among us remain in close contact with our small groups or fellow retreatants? Everyone seems to find their niche, their social comfort zone, and stick to it. Our lunch tables further reflect these divisions...and how many of us strongly consider trying a new table with a new group? Why should we? We're happy where we are with the people and things we know...yet this provides the crucial stumbling block for our so-called community. Students unite behind common goals, form temporary relationships when they are thrown into proximity with one another but quickly return to comfort zones, like oil and water separating after being mixed. Obviously, not everyone does this, but it seems to be a general trend.

I find it disturbing and depressing, personally.

But what's even worse is that I had people asking me for a lighter so they could go "light some leaves" and others openly discussing their plans to switch to a more private venue later where certain things would be freer. Perhaps I misunderstood, but it seems that even in the heart of our drama community, social vices strongly prevail. I refer here soley to the consumption and use of illegal substances. Anyone who pays attention in the halls readily hears of drinking exploits and an acute nose can detect the acrid fragrence of weed in our parking lots. Students throw cigarettes back and forth between cars as they drive off-campus for lunch. And here, it is not students you think would be participating in such activities. No, these "wrongdoers" consist of some of JHS's brightest, most lovable, most athletic, and most christian. Forgive my nativity, but it seems our "good little Catholic school" is anything but.

I can only thank God for my amazing friends and the fact that my own Jesuit experience has been free of any of the vices I so fear.

-JB

13 comments:

Ken said...

I forgive your nativity. But I still disagree with you.

I don’t think that when people talk about Jesuit’s sense of community, they mean that we all have the social confidence and social skills to move freely amongst ourselves without fear, or (and this is important) the desire to do so. No one ever said Jesuit kids were superhuman.

Imagine ten random people in an elevator. You’ve been there. It’s silent, and it’s awkward, and everyone just wants to get out. The elevator begins rising, but halfway to the floor they’re approaching, it stops with a shudder. The riders look around nervously. Finally, someone takes initiative and gets his cell phone out to call for help. As minutes turn to hours, the ten begin to talk. They have a common bond now. When the firefighters finally manage to get them out of the elevators, they’re amazed by how cohesive and interdependent the group has become.

It happens.

But once they leave the elevator, do they remain friends? Do they call each other to find out how they’re doing? At a party where they each have several other friends—whom they’ve known for years—do they leave their respective groups and meet each other in the middle to discuss how life has been? I don’t think so. It’s human nature. When we build relationships with people, it’s an investment of time, emotion, and energy, and the good investments yield friendship and the safety and enjoyment that come with it. Surviving the unknowns of waiting for a rescue or spending time together time and time again? Three hours in an elevator or three hundred hours of tech work?

What I’m saying is that you can’t deny a group of people the title of “community” simply because some people have stronger and weaker connections with others.

Also. No one has time to maintain all the relationships they'll create. No one. Some will fade, and that’s natural and okay. And comfort zones are only harmful when they’re outwardly exclusive.

Now, are we a community because everyone at Jesuit is a perfectly friendly man or woman for others? Of course not. There are a lot of students who are just along for the ride. Is it because everyone is friendly and reaches out to everyone else? Unfortunately, no. As with any group of people, the Jesuit student body needs leaders—it needs a strong core of good people who make good choices and really do reach out. We have them. Jesuit admits a lot of kids who grow into moral, academic, athletic, and social leaders, and I think you can look through the senior class and pick out who they are. In that selection, you’ll realize that there are a lot of people who don’t belong to that category. Maybe they don’t involve themselves with the Jesuit community as much as they could. In fact, it’s possible they’ve chosen not to be a part of it. But there are more than a few people who have chosen to contribute.

By the way, I think it’s interesting that you’re an expert on how Jesuit compares to other schools and social groups.

And if you really care about illegal substance usage, do something about it instead of writing a blog post about your moral superiority, because that gets old really fast. Talk to those people, call the cops, get a program organized, do anything, but type is cheap.

Scott said...

I agree with everything Ken just said.

But, to add and repeat (and John, please do read)...

John, basically, you're way off base. First, I know it comes as no surprise that Jesuit has its little groups. You've been mentioning this almost as long as I've known you.

"I wonder if we at Jesuit are really all that different from the outside world we claim moral superiority over." Okay, maybe you do, but I almost NEVER claim any moral superiority over just about anyone. Certainly not when it comes to a "sense of community," and certainly not about people I've never met. I know I don't feel like I'm friends with everyone at school...hell, I don't really WANT to be friends with everyone at school.

And even in the drama group, I have my close friends and I have people I only kinda-know, but like hanging out with. And I have the people who I don't know at all, and some (very few) who I just outright do not get on with.

But that's the way things are. And Ken's totally right. I certainly didn't see you trying to do anything about anything you just posted about. Whether it be about the drugs or the social groups or ANYTHING. Most of the night, I saw you sitting off in a corner somewhere, not so different from the rest of us.

And yeah, for most of the night I hung with Spence, Alan, and Michael. But I really do not get a lotta opportunities to just hang out with those guys, especially Alan.

So again...if this all somehow hampered your fun, you coulda done something or just left. But complaining about it really doesn't help.

In partial conclusion, I don't think less of someone who does drugs. Maybe it's just the way I was brought up, but unless the drugs turn into this whole other thing where the addiction thoroughly impacts the way they act towards others, those guys are fine by me. Like you said, they're Jesuit's brightest, most lovable, et cetera. Certainly not bad people as far as I can tell.

In total conclusion, I had a blast at the party. If the next one's this much fun, I'll be there in a second.

Doug said...

About the substance abuse, I'd agree with John and whine about it. There is nothing more that we can do. Talk to them about it: you'd get laughed at and nothing would change. Talk to the authorities: they'd hate you and nothing would be accomplished. Programs? what programs? They would be stupid, ineffective, and would consume a lot of time and money. The only thing that could possibly change this would be a total change in society, where pimps and drug dealers are not glorified and revered, where alcohol and smoking isn't cool because it contradicts authorities, and makes you seem mature, in charge of your own destiny and future. And where intoxication cannot take you away from the troubles of everyday life. Substance abuse has gone on for thousands of year, and is not going to change now. If you have enough of a problem with it, go to a christian high school or a military academyor byu, or something, but i am sure the problem exists there, too.

Seeing how nothing I can do will ever change anything, I am just going to sit back and whine on my tiny, relatively insignificant blog.

John and Karolyn said...

Ken,
I find your comparision to a group stranded in an elevator interesting. In fact, I'd agree completely...that's almost exactly how activities at JHS cause groups to behave. They bond temporarily and then part ways, with some tighter bonds forming but the whole having no reason to ever regroup again.
And I do not mean to deny Jesuit the title of community. If I may quote a dictionary, community is:
A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government.
The district or locality in which such a group lives.
A group of people having common interests: the scientific community; the international business community.
A group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society: the gay community; the community of color.
Similarity or identity: a community of interests.
Sharing, participation, and fellowship.
Society as a whole; the public.
Here, all but the last definition fit perfectly. What my point was (and is) is that while there is a definite sense of community at Jesuit, that does not affect groups so strongly that they act differently than groups of strangers would. I would like to thank you for further proving my point with your excellent example. Perhaps its merely a truth of human nature that people are bound to act a certain way, I don't know. I just find it interesting that we're all the same, despite our supposed difference.
I am not an "expert" on much of anything. I just observe things and occasionally (alright, frequently?) share my observations.
As for moral superiorty, I did not mean to insinuate any particular person at Jesuit ever claimed moral superiorty. I've noticed that people outside Jesuit assume we do and that there is often a sense of us being "better" than other schools because we are Catholic, richer, have better teachers, etc. Perhaps I'm the only one who's detected that attitude, but I have had parents of friends at other schools and of students considering highschools comment to me on how different they perceive Jesuit to be from other institutions.
As for illegal substances..."Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Perhaps I'm a coward, perhaps I'm a pessimst, feel free to label me what you will, but I do not beleive I am capable of forcing anyone to act in a way I find morally acceptable. I've tried talking to people about such things before, including a cousin, and gotten absolutely no where. No one likes to be told what they're doing is wrong and no one accepts that some other person has the right to tell them it is. After all, if they thought it was wrong, why do they do it? Type is indeed cheap, in fact, its free. I'm not trying to change the world here Ken, merely trying to understand it better and instigate a discussion (or is it a dialog) about it. If you ever manage to get someone off the bottle, or cigarettes, or weed, please tell me what you did so that I may attempt the same...but right now, I don't know of any way to do it.

Scott,
I know I've noticed groups almost as long as I've been at Jesuit. However, I'd never noticed how splintered some groups were: before the Encounter, I thought Encounter groups always stuck together, at Music Man, it seemed all the actors knew each other and hung out together and techies didn't separate themselves so much at parties.
I would like to know if you claim moral superiority over a rapist or psychotic killer...in cases where someone behaves in an obviously reprehencible and morally wrong manner, is one not morally superior to them? Perhaps I'm using the wrong phrase here, and I do not mean to ever imply I or anyone else is a "better" person than someone else because of choices that have been made...that is for God to decide. However, we are all entitled to our own opinions on what is right or wrong and a discussion of such things will allow us all to come closer to the truth.
As for me last night, I spent the first hour exclusively eating. Then I walked around for a while, explored the whole house, talked with people in each of the various groups I pointed out, then decided to sit down and relax. And if I didn't make this clear before...I had an incredible and amazing time last night. It was, without a doubt, the best I'd felt about a show and at a show since Music Man. I commented to someone last night that I then felt about the same as I did during the run of Music Man - I'd helped to accomplish something and was now able to sit back and have a great time. Eagerly anticipate the next cast/crew party as I fully expect to have a blast there too. I did not think I complained about a lack of fun anywhere in the post, if that attitude was conveyed, I would like to abolsh it here and now by saying once more I loved the party at Maddy's house and was in fact one of the last kids to leave...because I really didn't want to.
As for drugs...I have no problems being around someone who has done or will do drugs or alchohol...so long as they are not actively doing it in my presence or talking about going to do it. I in no way condone or support such activity and would immediately leave a location where such things were participated it. And again maybe its just the way I've been brought up (having only strongly negative experiences with alchoholism and druge abuse) but I'd have an extremely difficult time if I discovered a close friend abused substances. I think there are a few people where I would be able to get over it, especially if they were trying to stop or were using it as a coping method and recognized it was not healthy, but drugs and alchohol do some weird shit to people's heads. When someone's drunk, they're not the same person. Then again, I've only ever been around angry drunks, and still only 3 or 4 of them have made my aquantence while drunk.
Out of curiosity, would you have a problem with a person stealing things every night? Or lying to you about what they do and who they do it with?

I concur with Doug (regardless of if he's mocking me or not ;D)

-JB

Doug said...

No, I'm not mocking you. IF anything, I am mocking Ken, but I really don't think I am doing that.

Jeff said...

Well, there certainly seems to be a great amount of conflict in this discussion or rather a varying of opinions. I would rather not side with anyone but will say instead that I agree with various parts of each person’s argument that is present on this page. However it seems to me that everyone is saying the exact same thing... just in different words and with slightly varying details. (To simply everything, I’m going to say now there are always exceptions to everything please, do not point them out because we all KNOW they are there. And yes, we are ALL hypocritical in some way; I would appreciate it if you would refrain from continually pointing this out if anyone chooses to respond.)
1. Everyone splits into groups with whom they can relate to and feel comfortable and accepted around.
2. People do bad things, so what we'll get over it. And almost nothing we say or do can ever get them to change without them disliking us.
3. Most people can become friends given the right situations but are bound to stay with those that they can relate to the best, hence the groups. Most people will stay with this group until they find another that they can relate to more. I point out the example of myself. I started freshman year with soccer players, shifted to 'our' group (because back then there was a very definite group) because I felt more comfortable, and am now hanging more with pole-vaulters and some actors. “Why?” you might ask: Because I have more in common now with them than I do with many others in the cluster of 'our' group.
In addition, I think that the groups themselves are fading at Jesuit. For example, how many of us at Jesuit could go to a party with a bunch of seniors there and feel comfortable? I know I would feel comfortable with people of all different characters such as Jim, Jack Arriaga, Pat Schnider, Charlie, Mertens, etc… All of these people are of different background. Basically, Jesuit has broken down those walls we formed and made most groups easily traversable and interlinked.
Another thing is that our perspectives have changed radically. John said “before the Encounter, I thought Encounter groups always stuck together” which I did to. It always seemed that when seniors or juniors got together they had something in common and could talk for hours. Of course this might be just me, but back in sophomore year I basically ONLY hung out with you guys. That was it, aside from a few friends I met in classes, all my time was devote to ‘our’ group. Now it is hardly that. Back then it probably seemed like you would only talk with your own group so seeing these random people hanging out made it seem like they were in fact a group. This my logic sophomore year would have dictated. This supports my previous ‘Jesuit breaking down the dynamic of the ‘group’’ idea because now we can do what those seniors we saw doing so long ago doing. In essence when a group of people get together at Jesuit who have something in common, they become a cohesive ‘group’, for lack of a better term. I know for a fact that this does not happen at most public schools. I do not claim to be an expert but I do have a great deal of friends whom I talk to a lot that go to schools such as Beaverton, Southridge, Aloha, Lincoln, Sunset, and Hillsboro. I just actually asked a few kids what they though a few minuets ago and they all said that I describe happening at Jesuit hardly ever occur there.
On a side note, Scott, you said quote: “And yeah, for most of the night I hung with Spence, Alan, and Michael.” You do share more interests with them then most other people do you not? They all love the same music, movies, comics, activities (tech theater), as you do right? In essence this could be a ‘group’ in itself it’s just that there is an age gap with does play a big part, especially in high school. Most people hang with people their own age the majority of the time but know that we could also be with those of a younger age. So you attacking John because of his hypocrisy is out of place. I apologize for picking you and I know I’m and being hypocritical because I’m doing exactly what I told people not to do at the beginning of this post. I just needed an example of showing that people really need to shut up about others being ‘wrong’ or hypocritical themselves. We do not see everything that a person does, and I know I’ve seen “sitting off in a corner somewhere, not so different from the rest of us” as it were but I’ve also seen him reaching out to people of every grade and of every background at Jesuit, which we’ve ALL done. Sometimes I think we are all too quick to judge (I know I often am).
Now, on the issue of claiming moral superiority: everyone is superior to someone else at times in their lives. There is no one on this blog that has never done something that they are ashamed of. In those moments a lot of people could claim to have ‘moral superiority’. We are human and we make bad and good choices, who are we to label others and claim we are better when we know we’ve done things just as bad? (don’t think so? Cutting some with a knife is just as bad as cutting someone’s self esteem. I would know. Actually cutting self esteem is worse. Cuts heal.) I know I it when someone claims to be ‘superior’ to me no matter where and I’m sure people have been angry with me if I have claimed the same thing.
I will conclude with my opinion about the and Alcohol. I personally would not do , or drink alcohol in high school just because of the way I have been brought up and the morals that have been shoved down my throat. As much as I might fight those morals, they are still implanted in me especially in the light of certain characteristics of my extended family (cousins, uncles, aunts, and such). However, I know that someone engaging in these activities are still really cool people (with the exceptions that I might not like them if they were not doing those things). Granted, I cannot ignore the fact they are doing such things because as much as some deny it, and alcohol are part of their personalities, part of their character. So it does influence my opinion of them, but it does not take away my knowledge that they are at heart really cool and good people. As for kids at Jesuit doing it, we’ve all known it since freshman year. How many of our friends that we see every day drinks or hits up on something when they have a free chance? It is probably likely that we talk to these people every day and do not think twice about it. As for the smell of weed in the parking lot… yea I’ve smelled it. Sometimes it’s so strong it even carries down to the track on windy days. But once again, we are only human. Whatever your opinion is, we do not have the right to belittle people for their choices. I never though I’d do this but I’m actually going to use something Mr. Allen told us. For those in Christina Ethics or those who have taken it you know the difference between Guilt and Shame. Shame is only destructive while Guilt lets a person build themselves to become better people (please do not argue semantics with me, it could go on for hours I know, but I have no desire to and simply will not respond). As Sister Helen says in the play “Because I’m a human Matt! We all deserve respect!” (Not sure what exact quote is, but that’s close enough).
And lastly, why the hell are we arguing about this? John and Scott, you both had a great time at Maddy’s (sp?) party last night and I know I did to, for the full 10 min. I was there. Please, let’s just have fun our senior year and except people for who they are. That is not an accusatory statement so don’t take it that way. I’m just saying that I’m planning on having fun and I hope everyone joins me.

Post script: this post is not meant to offend and is not focused on attacking anyone. So please if you are offended either know that I did not intend it or come to me and I will say “sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you”. And no the entire post is not in response to the statements made by John, Doug, Ken, and Scott, but consist of my opinions to. AND I know there are errors in this post. I’ve revised so please do not ridicule for my bad grammer.

See you tonight guys!

Cynda said...

Despite the fact that it may be ripped apart, here's my opinion: The other week I was walking down the hall and for the first time ever at Jesuit I heard multiple conversations over buying drugs for the weekend and actually saw people paying and bargaining for what they wanted. I knew of course that these type of things happened at our school but never had witnessed them first hand. I knew people went and got drunk to celebrate, in fact my various friends tell me about there parties, about getting caught, about getting away with it, about having parents condoning it. The thing is that I have no problem with it. I still love each and every one of them. I'm still just as good of friends with them and I certainly don't think any less of them. I wish, of course, that those things didn't happen. I've been invited to such parties countless times, but knowing what was going to be going on I declined. Personally, although I have nothing wrong with the people who do such things, I would rather not be around them while they are doing them.

I also don't find it at all surprising that the brightest students, the athletes, the students that are often put up on pedestals are the ones letting loose. After a season of training hard, working your but of, and stressing out it's no surprise to me that top athletes would party to celebrate.

Finally I definitely don't think I am morally superior to anyone and I am just as thankful for my friends that do drugs and alcohol as my friends who don't. They are just as amazing people and even if I happen to be with them when they choose to drink I don't feel at all pressured to do so. They respect my choices. I've heard many people say they are thankful that they have friends who don't do drugs and don't drink and personally I don't understand why. Some of the greatest people I know aren't your typical "straight and narrow" folks but they are still invaluable to me and I thank God that I have their support and love.

Since I've gotten to know more people this year I've realized that there are people at Jesuit who love to judge others, who love to think they're better than others, who love to think that they are the ethical ones and others are just misguided and will hopefully discover there wrong doings. All of that is crap. People at Jesuit can be the most accepting people or the most condemning. Nobody is perfect and I agree with Ken: if you think what someone is doing is wrong talk to him or her about it, but don't complain about it in a place where the majority of people who read don't even do what you have a problem with. What good does it do to preach to the choir?

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken said...

[added post postscript after reading Cynda's comment]Ugh, don't really want to keep typing on this.

But before I leave it alone, I have a couple things I want to point out.

This argument is getting pointless because it's no longer about specific points. It's conflicting viewpoints, mindsets, worldviews, paradigms. Unfortunately, that means no one is going to change his mind.

That said, here's how I see it.

Doug, this is where we agree. There's no easy way to deal with kids who abuse substances. If there were, people would use it. I don't have your miracle solution.

This is where we disagree. I think that just because there's no easy way to do something doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, or attempted. I also think it's really annoying when people whine about problems without putting anything into solving them. In my view, your complaining both (a) takes up my time and (b) makes me unhappy. Thus, complaining is valuable only if if (1) makes you feel significantly better [and then you owe me because I got nothing out of it], (2) asks me for help [and then you owe me even more], or (3) takes some steps toward fixing whatever you're complaining about, in which case we both feel better.

If none of those cases are true, what's the point? Do us all a favor and shut the hell up. If anything really annoys me, it's fatalism.

John, this is where we agree. Jesuit is a microcosm of the outside social world. Our school forms a community that can be recognized by those inside and outside the community. Some Jesuit students sometimes abuse some substances.

This is where we disagree. I do think the Jesuit community is stronger and more cohesive than other schools' communities. I went to public schools until Jesuit, which both gave me a taste of the outside world and kept me connected to lots of people I still talk to who continue to attend public schools, and they continue to assure me that there is a difference. And I believe that there are groups at Jesuit who, because of Jesuit's influence, make good choices.

Doug AND John: Here's where we really have different worldviews. I think that moral superiority--in fact, any type of unquantifiable superiority--is like the Driver's Manual's definition of "right of way". It is not something you just have. It is something you are given.



postscript
I talked about paradigms. If you want to get people off drugs or alcohol, their mindsets will have to change. You probably can't do that for them. But you can indirectly make it harder for them to live that way.

post postscript
Cynda, I think it's completely reasonable to have less value for someone's judgment if they think using drugs or alcohol is an acceptable or positive behavior. I definitely do have a problem with it. And I am surprised that the people we put on pedestals are the ones who make that kind of choice. So would I necessarily hold them in as high esteem, or ask them for lifestyle advice? Probably not. Would I treat them with less respect? Absolutely not. Honestly, though, I don't know who does drugs at our school. If someone told me that he did, we'd have a conversation about it.

Scott said...

I don't hav enough time to go through all the comments (I will later), but I just wanted to address this one thing from John's post...

"Out of curiosity, would you have a problem with a person stealing things every night? Or lying to you about what they do and who they do it with?"

Yes. That hurts people. And like I said, unless a drug or alcohol addiction turns into a thing where it hurts other people, I am not in a position to tell people what they should or should not do. I can tell them why I personally do not partake in such activities, but I would never tell them they are wrong for doing it.

Again...UNLESS IT GETS TO THE POINT WHERE IT HURTS SOMEONE ELSE. You might ask if I would care if it started spinning out of control for them, and would I want to help them? Well, yeah, obviously.

But there are people I know at school who drink alcohol socially, it rarely gets out of hand and never has to any great degree, and that's fine. That's there choice...they know by now the harmful effects of such things, but I sure as hell am not gonna tell them they're wrong for having a drink now and again.

Same goes for drugs. I've known a few people who have been known to use certain illicit substances, but many are some of the nicest, most decent people I know.

Others are assholes. But they were assholes to begin with, and drugs and alcohol sure didn't change that.

Shinekaze said...

I have to agree with John that Jesuit does form a strong community under the right circumstances, then falls away when the things that push us together are gone. However, I have to disagree that this is a unhealthy thing. I see it as something that is perfectly normal. If i were to try to keep in contact with everyone i have ever met and liked, i would be swamped and i would never have any time for anything but networking with people. While i feel bad when a friendship goes to the wayside for a while, i also realize that it usually isnt permanent, i know that i could go back and pick up a conversation with any one of those people. i know i havent been at a public school since kindergarden, but i know enough about the way the social structures in those place operate to tell you that Jesuit still(even with its somewhat fragmentation and heirarchies) is much better for a community. I know that at any point that I could walk up to anyone in our class, and I could strike up a conversation with them. I feel like I can just drift in and out of those groups you describe, john, and that i would still be at the very least talked to as another human being. At many public schools, if you were to try this, you may very well just find yourself in a fight. I know you have admitted it yourself john, but sometimes you are way to idealic. as for the idea of moving tables, i have indeed thought about it, i was at one point planning to go sit with some encounter leaders and others like Reed Van Beveren, and Keough. The only reason i didnt is due to the facts that there was no space at the table (there were literally people 2 deep like we used to do last year) and the fact that i have this thing about having my back exposed in a large room, i like to place myself against a wall, dont know why, but i do.Also I dont think your idea that there is a complete disassociation of encounter groups, i have to disagree, i know that people do go thier own seperate ways, but i also know that even tho I havent had a whole long converstation with some of them for nearly a year, i could still go and talk to any body from my small group, at any point.

As for the drugs, I have always expected that there were people that used them, i even guessed that there might be people i hang out with regularly who use them. i always kept myself fairly aloof from that whole undercurrent, didnt really pay attention to it, i just knew it was there. in the last year or so, i have started to think about it more, accepting the fact that there isnt shit i can do abotu other people using drugs, no more so than i can do to keep people from breathing(except kill them of course). All i can do is worry about myself, keep myself from doing something that i find personally bad, due to a genetic disposition to addictive behaviors and traits. I can only hope that people dont allow themselves to get dragged in over their heads, and when it does happen, to stand by them and try to help them out of the hole. i have seen alcoholism in teens, i have seen controlled substance abuses by teens. I dont agree with the person for having done it, but i dont feel that it is my place to demand that they stop. nothing i am capable of doing is going to throw them into a eureka moment, nothing, the only way they can get past the stage is to get past the stage themselves. That doesnt mean that, like scott said, to stand by and resolve to make the abuse stop if it starts to actually harm them or the people around them. I also agree with doug in the fact that there is truly nothing we can do about the abuses. Preaching to them would only serve to turn them against us, tattling on them will only get them in trouble, and ergo turn everyone against us, and no program is truly effective. People have to decide for themselves to kick the habit. its like what mr. simons said in history the other day. "I got over [drinking] very quickly. It didn't take me long to realize that there was nothing fun about it. Getting drunk, puking up my guts, then waking up the next morning with a massive hangover. I realized very quickly that there was nothing really fun about it." Its paraphrased but you get the idea. Basically its like the person will think that they are having fun with it, and then will come to realize that it really wasnt all that great of a pastime. you just have to let them come to that on thier own.

However, I hadn't realized that there were deals like this being made at school, like cynda witnessed. I honestly had never thought about the supply chain, and how it was getting into the school. I also never thought about any hard drug usage, the types that would require a dealer. I mean I expected pot, and i knew about the alcohol, hell i was asked if i wanted to come to a drinking party. Who knows, if i didnt know that my grandmother died from alcohol related health problems, and if my dad didnt grill my over the whole drugs and alcohol issue before every party perhaps i would be arguing a bit differently. All we can really hope for is that in the long run, that the abuses people do today dont carry over into life, that they realize that perhaps getting wasted every night and getting stoned all the time isnt what they want for their life, and that they decide to quit on thier own before they are completely burned out.

John and Karolyn said...

I feel obliged to make an addedum to this topic...I attended the party at Megan's tonight and was one of the few who were there. Interestingly, I think I had a better time tonight than last night at Maddy's because the entire thing was more intimate. With only two groups (those wanting to sit inside and those wanting to sit outside) that quickly merged into one, there were no splits along prior friendships. And here is where I think I must admit JHS might have something really special...there were some people there I barely knew. Yet still, I found myself drawn into coversation with them as if we were already great friends. I don't think that's very common.

Ken, I think we agree on a lot buddy, just have slightly different twists to things. As you've said before, we're really a lot alike. With moral superiority...you may be right. Regardless, I feel that I *know* some things are wrong. And I feel that my morals are "better" or "more right' because of them. I do not profess perfection, in fact, I find myself quite flawed (especially when I get emotional) yet can still critique another's choices (just as I would and do my own) and point out things I find wrong.

Cynda, I'm not going to "tear you apart" for your views, cause you're entitled to them and I doubt I could change your mind. However, I do flatly disagree. Substance abuse would stretch any of my good relationships to the limits. While I cannot and would not state that I could not remain friends with someone who uses substances, I would think less of their judgement, trust their opinion and judgement less, and avoid socializing with them anytime I felt they would utilize a substance. I would not feel comfortable ever going to their house if it were unsupervised and wouldn't go if it were supervised if I knew their parents didn't care. Substances might be fine in moderation, but at our age, there is no such thing as "appropriate social drinking". And I find smoking to be revolting. Scotty, you're right that it isn't always harmful and I would not make a big deal of someone occasionally getting high on their own or having a drink now and then alone. But if you take these things and make them public, you're changing the nature of them and enticing others to join you. Drinking to get drunk is never right, no matter how much you want to forget something. These things effect your judgement, whether you notice it or not, and I would not trust anyone who was acting under the influence of illegal substances. Cynda, I'm glad you value your substance-using friends as much as your other friends, but I can't agree with that. I'm proud of the fact that my parents trust me to make "smart" choices about where I go and whom I'm with, and that they trust my judgement in the things I do, and I would never do anything to intentionally break that trust. I like being able to look at myself in the mirror and acknowledge that while I'm not perfect, I try to be the best I can. If you want a different slant, consider that illegal substances in any kind of quanity are harmful and that by not oppsing your "friends" choices, you're condoning them and helping them hurt themselves.
Just my scattered thoughts on the matter.

As for "judging others to feel better about yourself", that's not me at all. Maybe I am guilty of judging others, to me it feels more like assesing their character. And if it seems harsh sometimes, I'm even harder on myself. That might not justify it, but its the way I am and always have been. And perhaps I'm worried that I'm not preaching to the choir.

Being accepting is great until you accept something unethical or morally reprehensive. Love the person, hate the deed. I've found that the people we associate with have an enormous effect on the contents of our character. With this in mind, I make a strong effort to assciate with people I look up to and admire. It's been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, I'd propose that given my previous statement, friendship is an even higher form.
Yeah, that's an awkward way of saying I admire y'all and am enormously grateful to count myself as your friend. Thank you.

-JB

Pat said...

Wow, those were all really long.