Public Notice

The Youth Shall Set You Free

Like M. Somerset Maugham said in Of Human Bondage: "It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded." Christ, do we go out of our ways to make kids' lives miserable? When we're not teaching them to hate, manipulate, or compete, we're teaching them to fear others. When we're not pressuring them to succeed at things we could never master as kids, then we're bloating them with notions that they are the greatest thing since Baby Christ-a-mighty himself, more special, gifted, talented, and supreme than all others -- instilling puffed-up delusions of superiority and false confidence. If we're not shielding them from the real world with some sort of proto-adult fantasyland, we're indulging every whim and wile just to stroke their natural tendencies to trust too much and their innate desire to please everybody all the time -- who doesn't want to be idolized by a kid?

We have issues with kids. We are no longer them. We are smarter than them. We know what's good for them. Yet, we still have issues -- and many needs which we don't even acknowledge which, in turn, temper our dealings with them. The true mission of being an adult is in finding the true courage to be an adult. Part of being an adult involves giving care and guidance to the young. It's tough. It's tough supporting the very group for which we hold such shameful, unnecessary, and unintentional contempt. Yet, we love kids. We sense in them not only our own abandoned youth, but also the total abandon with which they leap into this life, the total disregard for bullshit adult shackles like prejudice, greed, fear, pessimism, and self-doubt. That whole "hope for the future" thing with regard to the young is no crock. It's what keeps us progressing, looking forward. We hope. Whew. Are we on a bender or what? Down, girl!

What got us all amped on the kid tip was that the events that stuck out to us this week involve support for the young whippersnappers.

  • First, there's the big Mission: Possible event hosted by the Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, this Sat, Aug 28, 10am-11pm at the brand spanking, shiny new Millennium Center at 1156 Hargrave. This seems a perfect way to introduce the facility to the general public, as the event will incorporate much of the idealism and many of the principles which inspired the creation of the city rec center in the first place. The program's focus is a community-wide substance abuse awareness and education mandate, to combine the efforts and experience of many local public service entities into one united partnership. The schedule for the day full of event is chock-full of break-out sessions divided by age group, as well as plenty of fun, including a hip-hop group, break dancers, free lunch and dinner (for those who stay all day), a skating party at 7:30pm and a dance at 9:30pm, all for -- dig this -- FREE. Our Community Listings has more info (page 73) and the event ad is running on the page facing this one. 447-2442.
  • Kids. Supporting kids for who they are is an impressive, noble goal, especially when you stand firm against the tide to do it. It takes a stupendous amount of enthusiasm, optimism, motivation, and drive to set up a group like Out Youth, especially in the face of the nasty venom and vitriol that too, too, too much of the world still hurls at lesbian and gay adults, let alone kids soaking in sexual identity issues. Our local out kids are trying to put the dough-re-mi together ultimately to send some Austinites up to the rollicking GLBT Youth Leadership Conference in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. If you are so itching to help, you could send along some plentiful scratch or donate your American Air incentive Advantage miles so that some of the groovy kids can soar. 419-1233x3.
  • Medicaid Eligibility has expanded coverage for teens. More teenagers under the age of 19 can now qualify for health care coverage. Existing eligibility has expanded to kids ages 15-18 in families below 100% of the poverty level ($16,700 per annum for a family of four). The eligibility level used to be 25%. Kids ages six-15 qualify under the same 100% guidelines, while children ages one through five qualify up to 133%, and infants under one year qualify up to 185%. Qualifying teens can now receive health and dental checkups in addition to necessary treatments. Benefits include medicines, office visits, hospital care, and other items. If math makes your head hurt, or you just want to find out if your teen now qualifies, check in with the Texas Department of Human Services. 800/252-8263.


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Kate X Messer, Aug. 31, 2001

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"Public Notice" talks about friends and the end of this column.

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