A.B.C.1.2.3. Teach Our Children Well

by Miles Patrick Yohnke

"Communication companies are the new drug dealers of our youth. What has happened is through competition, these companies were forced to drive down their long distance costs, creating lost revenue. Text messaging came to replace this downfall, preying on our youth. Communicative skills and self-esteem will be greatly affected as a result of this."

"We see Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, or Kurt Cobain on t-shirts. Why? If we think about it, they all killed themselves. None of them were happy in their own skins. As a society why are we embracing them? Shouldn't we all be wearing Mother Teresa t-shirts?"

Let's teach our children well.

Me? I'm just trying to express myself. Pulling out the ghosts from yesterday's past, overcoming my learning disorder, getting past the tragic loss of my father when I was five or the endless days of pain and hurt from being mercilessly bullied for the first eight years of my schooling.

I'm blessed that for the most part, I can find some positive in all of this.

Grateful also! I never want another human being to feel the pain I did. That's why I try to help others. I'm in a good place now. It's from this place that I want to share my words and my thoughts. My life.

Not too long ago, in talks about bullying and schooling, I brought up one event that occurred in those school years. It appears sad but like the other events in my life, I'm grateful for it. It's interesting. During the thoughts of these events in my mind came this endless quest; this interest on the human condition - a life long human study of why we do what we do.

To set up the one event that occurred, I have included an entry from my personal journal. You know, my learning disorder was so bad that by the age of nine I still couldn't spell my last name. I couldn't get the "h" and the "n" correct and in the right place.

It was through my brother Bob and a situation at a bank that became my saving grace.

I was opening a bank account. I had so wanted to save up to buy a Boston Bruins jersey. I had to sign my name to open the account and fear took over me. I told my brother the problem. He, then only eighteen, said: "Think of the "h" as a chair and the "n" sits on it."


One problem solved.

One life-changing event.

An eye opener.

Thurs, July 27th, 2006, 2:15a.m.:

I think about the way I am, trying to make some sense of it. As a child I faced a tragic event, and by the age of thirteen I had been kicked, beaten, and robbed of my self-esteem. Only my mother and my two older brothers had faith in me. Nobody else saw much hope for me. I had a learning disability that made it almost impossible to read and write. Through this time of endless pain, I still had this inner voice telling me that I could make a difference in this world. I still had pride. They had taken everything from me but not my pride! I received a lot of internal scars that I keep to this day. Through these events I became very grateful, as it's made me a homo-sapient; one with great sentiment. It's given me a vortex of emotions involving vulnerability, pain, anger, hope, love,
and a lust for life.

It's made me a prize-fighter!

Still wide-eyed like an infant, I find myself intoxicated by my surroundings. So today I climb the endless mountain, grateful that I can, grateful not knowing what I may find.

Grade 7:

My teacher, who was also our principal, was talking and I always listened so hard to each word. For one thing, I was trying to figure out what he was saying. The other thing was that I always was afraid of the teacher asking me for the answer.

If it wasn't just the verbal abuse around the school or in the hallways, it was the fear I'd be asked a question, the fear of not having the answer, looking stupid and the 30 or so students jumping on me for it.

This particular day as I was sitting off to one side, half way back, he asked me a question. I didn't know the answer and that familiar fear filled my mind.

He replied:

"Miles, why don't you come sit up here?"

(an open desk in front of him)

I did.

With a piece of chalk in his hand, he drew a mark on me; a line that ran down my nose. The 30 students laughed and I saw his eyes light up (he felt good about himself - empowered). He did it again. A tear glazed my cheek. The class erupted with laughter and again and again and again he repeated this.

We need to teach our children well.

That their dreams are possible. That it's okay to have some hurdles to overcome.

To live a life without limits. Point out their strengths. Build on those strengths and nurture those strengths. When their confidence and self-esteem is high in those areas then, and only then, should we work on their weaknesses.

Turn their weaknesses into their strengths. Success is failure turned inside out.

Fill them with proper culture.

Great films. Ones that make them think. Music that goes to the core. Lyrics that run deep that provoke the mind. The library system is a great resource for all this.

Show them that their dreams are possible. To live a life without limits.

You see, my teacher had not learned these lessons himself; so sad for him. I believe he was just insecure. Lost in his own life. Another lost soul teaching all the wrong lessons from all his wrong skills.

By Miles Patrick Yohnke
© 2010 All Rights Reserved.

About the Author
Globally recognized and award-nominated engineer, producer, writer, poet and founder and C.E.O. of 5 Star Productions, Miles Patrick Yohnke brings many years of experience to the music industry; including many awards in sales and marketing. If you are looking at developing your career, Yohnke offers consulting in person, by phone or via email. For more info, please contact him directly at: 306.227.6379 or email at: miles(at)5-starproductions.com.