We were all eleven. Well. Most of us.
June 11, 2012 5:57 PM   Subscribe

This AskMe thread is just fantastic. A not-simple question with so many great, empathetic, caring suggestions from people who were at one point up a similar creek trying to fashion any sort of paddle. POSITIVE THREAD CALLOUT. EVERYBODY HUG.
posted by davidjmcgee to MetaFilter-Related at 5:57 PM (39 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Nobody hug me I dont want to catch the weird. Oh god who am i kidding i already have it. Also scabies. Understand if you want to skip the hug now too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is the good kind of weird. That's kind of the whole point!
posted by kostia at 6:05 PM on June 11, 2012


That thread may reach 100,000 comments since the child in question is the junior version of many of us.
posted by Cranberry at 6:09 PM on June 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


I wish I were eleven again because I would so totally be that girl's people.

The idea of us being kids has me thinking: maybe in a parallel universe there's a Metafilter Babies spinoff where all of us are little kids with big imaginations! Every thread would have a catchy yet heartfelt musical number.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


HUGZ!!!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:33 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


maybe in a parallel universe there's a Metafilter Babies spinoff where all of us are little kids with big imaginations!

mathowie has an identical twin sister named "methetta" who loves gymnastics but never appears in the adult version and in fact they don't even MENTION her and it's like what the FUCK do they think we won't notice, where the FUCK did she GO, what did she just give up on the DREAM or what, is this shit even CANON
posted by Greg Nog at 6:39 PM on June 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


Also cortex's wife is a stuffed chicken.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:42 PM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


That thread is so awesome because so many of us here were "that kid." For whatever reason, we were the oddballs amongst our peers — but for the better. And now the chance comes along to help a kid in a similar situation? WE'RE ON IT.

I hope the girl gets a MetaFilter account someday, and I hope she reads that thread and realizes how awesome and incredibly not alone she is.
posted by hypotheticole at 6:45 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


That thread may reach 100,000 comments since the child in question is the junior version of many of us.

My reservation about that thread was that we don't know if she's a junior version of many of us. Everyone seemed quick to have her start playing MineCraft and going to science fiction conventions and writing fan fiction. When maybe she should enroll in a jazz dance class and join the swim team.

Nerdy as I am, one of the things that helped me turn the corner was going to summer day camp (not CTY or anything special or specialized) where I made friends and realized that it was the other people back home who were the problem, not me.
posted by deanc at 6:46 PM on June 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


♥ TY davidjmcgee for pointing this wonderful recent example of why askMeFi community is very good at offering productive solutions to very specific issues.
posted by TangerineGurl at 6:54 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I share deanc's reservations, especially the categorizing going on, as if she can't both be nerdy and go to jazz dance classes.

I was a nerdy girl who read a lot - science fiction (Olaf Stapledon, Cordwainer Smith, Keith Laumer, ...), Harlequin romances, multi-generation sagas from Nobel literature prize winners, what have you - and took jazz dance classes. I wasn't good at sports, but was willing to give everything an earnest try. I was obsessed with fashion magazines such as L'Officiel and also a member of my school's computer club. I didn't expect other girls to share my nerdy interests. I think I was lucky that there were other girls who were more interested in schoolwork than boys and lip gloss, and so I hung out with them even though they couldn't care less about science fiction or superhero comic books.
posted by needled at 7:02 PM on June 11, 2012


Everyone seemed quick to have her start playing MineCraft and going to science fiction conventions and writing fan fiction. When maybe she should enroll in a jazz dance class and join the swim team.

I dunno, man. Sounds like she already wants to play MineCraft and she loves fantasy novels. I don't think the suggestions along those lines--you know, to let her play minecraft and put her into situations where she's likely to meet other fantasy novel fans--are really all that likely to crash and burn.

(I do think that the suggestions for science camp are a little odd, but that might only be because, as much as I wish I were a science nerd, I'm really just into dragons, myself. But yay, encouraging girls in the sciences!)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:06 PM on June 11, 2012


Everyone seemed quick to have her start playing MineCraft and going to science fiction conventions and writing fan fiction. When maybe she should enroll in a jazz dance class and join the swim team.

Suggestions thus far in just the things selected as Best Answer include camps of all kinds, changing schools, online and tabletop gaming groups, conventions, festivals, websites, books to read, taking her to Hot Topic (and just generally being open to whatever she cottons to), music lessons, several different kinds of athletic events, naturalist clubs, library and museum events, theater and performing ensembles, hanging out with sympathetic adults, all sorts of school clubs, knitting and creating stuff, talking to her in all sorts of ways how it's OK to be different AND OK to like "normal" stuff sometimes, online courses, volunteering, going to trivia at the effing pub, workshops, bookclubs, backstage crew, and signing her up for MetaFilter.
posted by davidjmcgee at 7:14 PM on June 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


I didn't answer in this thread because I am still too confused about my own high school experience. I THOUGHT I was that kid that didn't fit in, because I was mature and nerdy and all the other girls were superficial cows. But I've met many of them again in later years and they aren't superficial or bovine, and actually, I think maybe I was a bit of a precious jerk. So if I had to give advice re that kid in the ask thread, I would probably say she should try getting over herself, have another go at figuring out the other kids, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and see what happens. But then if someone had given that advice to teenage me, I would probably have gotten myself beaten up more than already happened, or I would have rolled my eyes and ignored them.

I think that often mature kids who hang around with a lot of adults are too quick to categorise other kids and label them as jocks or mean girls, or boy-crazy, or boring, etc. But also mean girls and jocks and boy crazy boring girls do seem to exist too. Maybe they just grow out of it eventually?

And the people I met later who I really like now and who I wasn't friends with at high school are mainly the ones who I didn't even NOTICE at high school. They went straight home from school, didn't participate in extra curriculars, didn't hang about with anyone else at lunchtime (god knows what they did do), and were just weird enough to not fit in, but not so weird they got persecuted. I guess I always imagined they were too cool for me, but actually I think we might have got on just fine if I hadn't had this self-image as a lone-wolf-child who was above it all.
posted by lollusc at 7:22 PM on June 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


lollusc, I think a lot of them grow out of it. I went to school with a lot of the same kids from kindergarten through 12th grade (small suburb without a lot of family mobility), and I'm friends with a lot of them on facebook, and just about ALL of them felt like the oddball weirdo dork. Even the pretty, popular girls of whom I was in awe at the time. One of my friends and I were having a conversation on facebook recently and she was saying how she just about fell apart the year she was 16 and only volunteering at an animal shelter saved her. And I commented that I never would have known that, because she seemed so together -- she was one of the pretty, popular girls with indulgent parents who bought her expensive stuff and who was in all the "right" extracurriculars and popular with the boys and fun and funky. I'm not sure if I was jealous of her, exactly, but I was totally intimidated and thought she had everything and it all came really easily to her (and I was jealous of that part). But in fact she was struggling like crazy at home and her sister was going through a rough life patch and it was exploding her family, and she cried all the time and felt lonely and horrible and like she had no "real" friends and all her "fitting in" was a horrible lie and she was going to get discovered and everyone would hate her.

And when I was that age I cried a lot and frequently felt lonely and horrible and like I had no "real" friends and I would never fit in and everyone thought I was a giant nerd and all my extracurriculars were nerdy and I was terrible and awkward at small-talk. And she told me, "I was so jealous of you because you were so self-confident and you didn't seem to think if anyone thought you were weird, you just did the things you wanted to do and enjoyed them and I wanted to be like that so badly, and I felt like I couldn't even admit I liked Star Wars until I was in my 20s." (And I guess in a way I was self-confident, I was doing my stuff where people could see me and mock me and I just shrugged it off, but at the time I would have told you that I was just so awkward I had no idea how else to be, so what else was I going to do?)

And then there was this CHORUS of like all the girls we went to school with saying, "OMG I wanted to be like so-and-so so badly, I was such a mess!" "No! You were never a mess, you always seemed to do everything so well! I was just struggling ..." "But you were so cool, everyone wanted to be friends with you ..."

I think we are all weirdo oddballs on the inside, especially as adolescents, and that given enough time and love, we mostly grow into decent people who are kind to others and indulge our eccentricities without too much self-consciousness.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:34 PM on June 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


Even the pretty, popular girls of whom I was in awe at the time.

I had a similar experience - the girl who was The Most Popular, to my eye, in high school was the one that I was absolutely astonished and frankly honored by when she decided she wanted to be my partner in class freshman year. I was pretty damn sure I was way on the dorky side of the equation - read a lot of books, fantasy books even, had even less fashion sense than I do now, and was queer enough that people noticed probably before I did. She was blond, wealthy, athletic, personable, and cute enough that I still think wistfully about her.

She recently wrote a blog post about her high school experience - terrible social anxiety, stress about fitting in, having enough friends, etc. High school did, in fact, suck for everyone.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:15 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone seemed quick to have her start playing MineCraft

I was quick to mention Minecraft because my daughter, who is also eleven and sometimes similarly puzzled by other eleven year old girls, enjoys it very much. Back when I was eleven, all we had was a Commodore VIC-20, A Wrinkle in Time, and 3-2-1 Contact. and we LIKED it that way get off my lawn
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:25 PM on June 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


I thought it was a good thread, although some of the answers had me cringing a little bit. Despite my solid nerd credentials, I tend to think of gamers as a group being a haven of some pretty horrific sexism, and my impression of Ren Faire is that it's crawling with drunken pederasts (a lot of my female friends did Ren Faire as kids, and 100% of them encountered things that I would consider highly inappropriate at best).

Not having to spend much time thinking about things like this are a big part of the reason that I'm glad that I'm not responsible for raising a child.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:54 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I admit that I read the question and then skimmed and made an answer. I just identified so strongly with that girl.

I just gave the same advice I give to myself as a mom and a bit of history about my own weirdness at that age. I would totally have that girl over for a happy sleepover weekend to not feel weird at my house, as long as her parents and I agreed it was ok. That age starts the hardest part of being people, I think. I see an interesting combination of me and my son and daughter in that thread.

Like I said in the thread, that's such a hard age. I wouldn't do it again voluntarily.

My baby girl turned 14 today and I'm now in my mid-40's. Anything to escape the hormones on any side is a relief.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:22 AM on June 12, 2012


American kids are so lucky. Over here, there's no specialist summer camps (at least, not fifteen years ago), no special programs, and the extra-curriculars in state schools tend to be sports-based. (At that age I used to go to lunchtime Art Club, though, as it was more fun than sitting on my own and I got to play with clay and things.) God would I have loved to have gone to nerd camp, or the one where they get girls to play instruments and form thrash bands.

Also, thinking about teens and internets reminded me that in the mid-90s before the web really took off here (I see our Eternal September as around 2003 or so when home dial-up got very cheap and broadband started to roll out) the way we used to 'meet' boys was to write to someone from the penpal page on Teletext. 90% of all the ads on there listed their interests as 'going out' and 'having a laugh', though, so it wasn't exactly nerd haven. I wrote to one boy who said he liked Blur and Oasis - he turned out to be a massive happy hardcore fan who would sit in his room chattering his teeth along to the beat, declaring that 'I don't like any songs under 140bpm' and was possibly educationally subnormal (I'm not saying this as an insult, I think it was actually the case, he was extremely slow). He thought I was 'morbid' the one time we met in person, but I was 14 and really wanted a boyfriend, so I was still upset. When I checked the penpal page last out of nostalgia, every ad said you had to include a signed letter from your school headmaster (?) before they'd be forwarded on - maybe it was also crawling with drunken pederasts?

Coincidentally, I'm reading Donna Gaines' Teenage Wasteland at the moment - it focuses on 'burnouts', kids who got high and listened to metal, never my kind of thing, but the intensity of feeling from some of the kids written about is so familiar. The feeling that there's nothing for you now you've explored the boundaries of the streets around you and found them wanting, the sensation that the narrative is written by the adults and not the kids (one regular theme is kids who have committed suicide asking for specific music or services to be held at their funeral and the adults making their choices for them) and anything that is written by the kids is only written by the popular. I remember that feeling so well. I want to give that crying girl a hug.
posted by mippy at 2:27 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find myself agreeing with mippy. I remember the teenager I was, and how tough high school was (although really, it was a lot better than my horrible elementary/middle school), and how, in Pakistan, there just aren't the opportunities for people whose interests aren't mainstream. Some of that has changed, but really only for the most privileged. Camps that focus on specific interests are pretty much unheard of. sigh.
posted by bardophile at 3:30 AM on June 12, 2012


"I was so jealous of you because you were so self-confident and you didn't seem to think if anyone thought you were weird, you just did the things you wanted to do and enjoyed them and I wanted to be like that so badly, and I felt like I couldn't even admit I liked Star Wars until I was in my 20s."

Whenever I hear someone say this, I want to jerk them back to middle school Ghost of Christmas Past style, smack them upside the head, and shout, "QUIT. BEING MEAN. TO OTHER PEOPLE." If you, yes, you who says she also likes the "weird" things, hadn't been such an unholy bitch to anyone who showed the slightest interest in something not mainstream, maybe it would have been a better place for everyone.

It always seems like it's the ringleaders who are the ones who always say how scared and insecure they were, and you just want to be like, "but but but don't you realize you were a big part of the problem?!"

I don't know how we can solve this, but I know that one of the most important duties I feel I have as an Adult Who Knows Girls is to help them not be jerks to each other. It takes a special kind of person to persevere through all that crap, and I really hope our 11 year old little buddy finds her path.
posted by phunniemee at 5:34 AM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


phunniemee: "It always seems like it's the ringleaders who are the ones who always say how scared and insecure they were, and you just want to be like, "but but but don't you realize you were a big part of the problem?!""

Oh god yes. My senior yearbook was full of people talking about how much they respected me for doing what I wanted to do and refusing to be bent by stupid expectations. I was so angry - "Where were you for the last four years when I cared what you thought?" (Although, in retrospect, I think I was much better liked than I perceived at the time.)
posted by Karmakaze at 5:56 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


She recently wrote a blog post about her high school experience - terrible social anxiety, stress about fitting in, having enough friends, etc. High school did, in fact, suck for everyone.

At my 20th reunion every time I told people how horrible my high school experience was most of them agreed that it was horrible for everyone.

I'm still not convinced they had it as bad as I did, but even the popular kids were going through a real awkward time in their lives. Realizing that helped me forgive everyone for being total dicks back then.
posted by bondcliff at 6:38 AM on June 12, 2012


I love that thread.
posted by Why hello, I am a sock puppet at 7:16 AM on June 12, 2012


So if I had to give advice re that kid in the ask thread, I would probably say she should try getting over herself, have another go at figuring out the other kids, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and see what happens.

This actually got a lot easier for me in high school. Middle school sucked SO MUCH MORE. Part of this was that I moved from a tiny little fishbowl of a school to a large one, and part of it was that I finally started to see some of the benefits (in terms of increased autonomy and independence) of growing up. Eleven was just this awful mass of hormones and insecurity and still being treated like a kid, and thinking that things were never going to get better.

I don't know -- from my perspective, eleven is more a thing to be endured as best possible (for girls, anyway -- seems like all the adolescent nonsense started hitting the boys a year or two later in my class). I might've been able to understand intellectually at that age that people were every bit as insecure as I was, but emotionally, dealing with the hormonal fall-out, I'm not sure I could've really internalized that the way I was able to by high school.

(But yes, it is dreadful to look back and recognize all the ways I was still a "precious jerk" as an older teenager. Adolescence is a wretched thing.)
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:20 AM on June 12, 2012


My senior yearbook was full of people talking about how much they respected me for doing what I wanted to do and refusing to be bent by stupid expectations.

Yeah, the only reason I'm still in contact with this particular popular girl (alone of all the popular girls I had civil relationships with, which were quite a few, in hindsight) is that she decided that she thought I was cool and didn't give a rat's ass who knew it. She was, and is, a remarkable person.

Which says something, that I was so totally used to having "friends" who were totally my buddies during volleyball practice but wouldn't acknowledge my existence in the lunchroom that I thought that was the normal order of things. I still deal with some social twitches around that.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:39 AM on June 12, 2012


I was worried my suggestion about girl scouts would be too much of a soapbox rant. I really curtailed back on what I wanted to say.. because it would have been multiple paragraphs and claims that I would never enroll my hypothetical daughter into the girl scouts. Ever.

I even wanted to respond to the OP afterward that I thought I enjoyed GS too. I thought I had fun. It wasn't until I got older and someone asked my opinion on my experiences there that I had a clarity moment of, "OMG it all makes sense now!!"

I was never really popular in school, but it never bothered me too much. I had one or two core good friends and that was enough for me. But in Girl Scouts, when there's only 12-15 of you and you're encouraged to interact, have sleep overs, and sing songs together.. being shunned had a much more profound effect on me. To this day, I'm fine in large groups of people at parties and what not.. because usually there's one or two people I'm comfortable with.. but get me in a room with a smaller group of people and I feel much more uncomfortable.

Although I'm glad to know people like deludingmyself had a much better experience with it then I did. I figured it couldn't all be bad, or the organization would have fallen apart by now, right?
posted by royalsong at 11:11 AM on June 12, 2012


I even wanted to respond to the OP afterward that I thought I enjoyed GS too. I thought I had fun. It wasn't until I got older and someone asked my opinion on my experiences there that I had a clarity moment of, "OMG it all makes sense now!!"

I was exactly the opposite! I didn't much enjoy the Girl Scouts when I was in it, mostly because I didn't have a whole lot in common with the other girls (it's not that they were frou frou girly or anything, they were just a different breed of nerd than I was). It wasn't until I was an adult and thought back on my experiences (we did some cool things (went to Switzerland--what!) and my primary troop leader was about the best person/troop leader you could ask for) that I realized what a positive thing it was for my life.

I love the message of the Girl Scouts, and I think it really can be a good thing for girls of all ages to get involved in. Not every troop is wonderful, sure, but the message and goals of the organization is really something I support.

And because of this, in ONE week I'll have the first meeting for my very own troop. I live in a neighborhood that is a little rough around the edges, and I think that having some structure and providing positive role models and support for the girls in the area is important. I contacted my local council, and they rounded up some interested kids. I'll be in charge of 12 brand new Daisies by next Wednesday. (And I'm really, really, super duper excited! Yay!)
posted by phunniemee at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and also, it wasn't until there was a post about the Girl Scouts here on metafilter that I actually started thinking back about my GS experience. So thanks, MeFi! I'm going to be a troop leader because of you. :)
posted by phunniemee at 11:32 AM on June 12, 2012


I really hope it goes well, phunniemee. :)

I am not against the Girl Scouts organization. I agree with their message too. I think some of the core values they try to impart on their girls is awesome. It's just not something I think a parent should enroll their kid in without.. evaluating it.

and I stand by my call out that no one should ever buy those cookies. They are the most evil fundraiser in existence.
posted by royalsong at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2012


Actually, everybody needs to buy at least one box of cookies. If you don't at least try to participate in the nationally-sponsored fundraisers, the Council can't approve your troop for independent fundraisers or for financial assistance, which means that your troop has no source of fundraising money, which means that if you're a troop in a low income area where all your girls have poor parents and can't contribute financially, your troop has no money to do anything, and that's not fun for anyone. Though I agree...after they discontinued Juliettes back in the 90s, it's like what's even the point anymore, amirite?
posted by phunniemee at 11:50 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Whenever I hear someone say this, I want to jerk them back to middle school Ghost of Christmas Past style, smack them upside the head, and shout, "QUIT. BEING MEAN. TO OTHER PEOPLE." If you, yes, you who says she also likes the "weird" things, hadn't been such an unholy bitch to anyone who showed the slightest interest in something not mainstream, maybe it would have been a better place for everyone."

Well, I don't really think she WAS mean to other people. I think the popular kids excluded other kids from their clique, but they weren't directly mean very often. There was a lot of scoffing and mocking, but the unpopular kids did that too. People did that to their friends. It was the way Teenagers Were Supposed To Behave; it wasn't cool to like anything too much, whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing.

And I think we were ALL part of the problem, obviously some more than others, but, boy, the nerdy kids could be judgmental and exclusionary too. Calling people "airheads" for being popular and for having good hair. Freezing out a popular girl who was in honors English, but not honors anything else, because she was one of THEM and THEY were "mean" to us and she couldn't be that smart anyway. Kids mocking those below them on the popularity ladder to keep their own place. The sci-fi geeks refusing to let people who weren't already in their group "like" what they liked. This was just when sci-fi was becoming sort-of mainstream, and one of the lacrosse players would overhear their between-class conversation and be like, "Oh, dude, I saw the Star Trek movie, I thought it was great!" and the geeks would be like, "No you didn't. You don't get it. Go away."

Anyway, modern adolescence sucks monkey balls and the whole construction of it needs to be different. I don't really know how, but it's really a pervasive structural problem. Everyone's so unhappy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2012


royalsong: "I even wanted to respond to the OP afterward that I thought I enjoyed GS too. I thought I had fun. It wasn't until I got older and someone asked my opinion on my experiences there that I had a clarity moment of, "OMG it all makes sense now!!""

I'm the OP, and honestly one of the things from that thread that has been haunting me is your comment about Girl Scouts. I feel SO BAD that it was like that for you. I'm sure I've forgotten some things that sucked, but it was really great for me, and for the girl the thread is about I think it's been great so far. Admittedly, her mom has been her co–troop leader, which has probably shielded her a lot. I think she'll have a new troop leader starting in the fall, so we'll see.

Looking back on Girl Scouts, I think it was the adults more than the other girls who influenced me in the most lasting ways. When I was in middle school (Cadettes), our leader was gay—something I didn't know until years later, when it was too late to appreciate her for being who she was when it probably wasn't easy. When I was in high school (Seniors), that leader ran her own small business in town, and went far out of her way to involve us and show us what she was going through with that.

Most of the great stuff I got out of Girl Scouts had nothing to do with the organization itself, though. I guess it could just as easily have been a school club, a sports team, or a church group.
posted by kostia at 1:00 PM on June 12, 2012


Oh, don't let it haunt you! It was one of those things that I hadn't seen anyone else notice or mention and wanted to throw a sort of, "hey could this be part of it?" sort of idea out there.

I'm kinda jealous that it sounds like I just got saddled with a really poor troop/group of girls.

It makes me happy to know her Mom is a co-troop leader, though. Her mom would be right there on hand to see it if there was any trouble. I feel one of the biggest reasons I was ostracized was because of the troop leader and her girl. It really was a troop that revolved around the leader's daughter. You know those movies about teenage girls and how the head cheerleader is kind of the Queen of the school? Exactly the same thing in my troop. It didn't help that her Mom looked down on my Mom.

It wasn't something I fully realized until later though. When I was young I just knew I wasn't buddybuddy with anyone in the troop and that the leader wasn't a warm person.
posted by royalsong at 1:25 PM on June 12, 2012


Actually, everybody needs to buy at least one box of cookies. If you don't at least try to participate in the nationally-sponsored fundraisers, the Council can't approve your troop for independent fundraisers or for financial assistance, which means that your troop has no source of fundraising money, which means that if you're a troop in a low income area where all your girls have poor parents and can't contribute financially, your troop has no money to do anything, and that's not fun for anyone.

As if I needed another reason to buy Thin Mints!

I wish there had been the internetz when I was this girl's age. If it's hard to find one's people now, it was MUCH harder back in the 1970's. And I don't know if this was particular to my upbringing then, but my parents and most of my teachers were very firm about "adults are authority figures, NOT friends." There was a hard line separating "kid's world" from "adult's world" and, looking back, I think this was a bad thing. I envy today's kids (like the girl in the original post) who are encouraged to think of adults as their friends, not alien authority figures.

And Eyebrows McGee is right, adolescence suck-diddly-ucks for most kids, and it shouldn't have to be that way. I don't think it will be an easy thing to change, but I think that there have to be ways of making pre-teen and teenagerhood not so awful for so many kids.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:31 PM on June 12, 2012


It really is a wonderful thread.

I didn't post in the thread (everyone else was coming up with better answers than I ever could), but sent a meMail to the poster. I said that I had been that kid and I didn't have any kind of support and didn't find my own people until I bought a computer when I was 33 years old. I also said that the kid in the thread was a lucky girl to have such concerned people looking out for her.

MetaFilter wins again.
posted by deborah at 5:12 PM on June 12, 2012


I missed this one. Thanks for pointing it out, and good work, MeFi!
posted by apricot at 7:36 PM on June 12, 2012


Actually, everybody needs to buy at least one box of cookies.

Maybe, maybe not. I am one of those people who quit GS as soon as I started almost because, unlike Brownies, it was a lot more geared towards being a little junior salesperson and a wife-in-training [this was in the seventies, I am sure it is different now] than I was comfortable with. Telling girls that there is some righteous reason that people need to buy a product from them that they did not design, produce, market or even price is not a set of values that I feel is important to pass on. I know this is a thing that reasonable people disagree on, but I have pretty strong feelings about not supporting this sort of thing.

I was a shy solitary kid and the best thing my folks did for me was not to force me to hang around with people I didn't want to be with [camp, sports, whatever] and support me going to the college I chose [Hampshire] where everything basically turned around. I got along fine with people generally. Girl Scouts was the first time I remember being taught a tradition by rote [we go over the bridge and say this, then we walk over here and say this.... I was always asking "But why?"] and as a kid who had never gone to church and didn't have any family traditions really, the whole thing was super strange to me. One of my fellow GS later went missing in Florida and that is now my strongest memory of my GS time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:29 AM on June 14, 2012


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