Monday, March 14, 2011

Hide & Seek

"I want to show you something."

The sun spreads orange pink plaster across the walls of the sky, brilliance leaking through the blades of the window dressings to paint ours as well. We sit on the couch, talking, as the day closes around us.

We spent the afternoon at the park, playing hide and seek on play ground equipment. Spring breathed a warm gift on us today drawing people from their homes. Dog walkers. Kids giggling with glee, escaped prisoners from winters incarceration. A couple walked hand in hand, oblivious to it all, lost in their own attentions.

Exhausted, we found a seat under the arms of a tree and worked through some exercises to help him manage his frustration level. He doesn't understand why people act a certain way. It frustrates him, he responds the only way he knows, the way he has been taught.

"Ok, I am ready. Watch."

He walks down a dark hall, crouching slightly to avoid being seen. A moustached man in fatigues steps around the corner, raising a machine gun. A heads up display zeroes in on the mans body, offering options. Quickly each are highlighted, then the mans head explodes, a fountain of brain matter and skull fragments erupts in slow motion. The body falls like a marionette whose strings have been cut.

He turns and smiles, pausing the game.

"Head shots are worth more points."

Eight years old. Brown hair. Blue eyes. He gets frustrated when he does not understand why people act the way they do.

He responds the only way he knows, the way he has been taught.

62 comments:

Kori said...

Wow...makes you think. I am having a giveaway that ends this Friday to celebrate Spring. Check it out and enter if you haven't already! Kori xoxo

http://www.blondeepisodes.com/2011/03/spring-break-giveaway.html

happygirl said...

And so it begins, dad.

Mighty M said...

I am so ready to be one of those escaped prisoners! :)

TALON said...

It's hard to comprehend the horrors that some children have to carry inside...

ayala said...

Cool description ..I like it...it reminds me of my son playing his DS.

Sue said...

I can't stand those games. Just can't stand them. Where is the sense of responsibility to our kids in a corporate world that concerns itself only with what sells?

And I don't buy the studies that say the violence has no effect. Every stimulus that goes into the brain has an effect.

So well done, Brian. Thanks.

=)

Tara Miller said...

He responds the only way he knows, the way he has been taught...

We have a tremendous responsibility as parents of what we allow our children to be exposed to. They observe and absorb EVERYTHING. Nice write, love.

Raven said...

Children learn from us, whether we know they are watching or not. Great write, Brian. I wish I could escape winter!

Steve E said...

I just had a scary moment. The year, 2022 and I had just accidentally pushed in front of a young man to board a train.

He did not like it.

Seconds later, my head, ears, brain matter ( looked like scrambled eggs) and hair scattered all over the subway pavement. I was only age 90.
Not yet prepared to die--really!

Alan Burnett said...

Even when you move outside the constraints of your 30 word or 300 character or whatever challenges, your writing is as tight as a Yorkshireman's wallet.

Heather said...

so well written. those games are so violent. - have a great monday

Daniel said...

Oh my! I did not appreciate the transition from the park to the soldier after the first sentence. Then it hit me and I understood. Strong work with a powerful message.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian,

Your masterly skill with words painting a lovely picture amazed me.You transported me to a wonderful world for some time and then suddenly brought me back to the horrible reality of life.

Fantastic.I enjoyed this post very much.
Joseph

California Girl said...

Are we talking XBox games or real life with a boy in the Middle East or an African nation who's been taught to fight at too young an age?

Could be either.

Eva Gallant said...

Those games!

ladyfi said...

Dark and scary! Very deep - well done, Brian!

Baino said...

Better to shoot at a video game than carry a gun. Then who buys an 8 year old such a game?

Betsy said...

that game had to be rated "T", right?

Brian Miller said...

it was a game...and yes it was rated T...and i am not blaming it all on the games...or TV...or movies...or FB...or...but when you have a disinterested parent ot one that openly promotes violence toward others...there are just somedays i wonder if i am spinning my wheels....

Debbie said...

Makes me upset just to think about it!

Laura said...

This is a hard one. He is so fortunate to have you to help him learn another way...to teach him another way. The cycle can be broken.

Mama Zen said...

This is a really thought provoking piece, Brian.

secret agent woman said...

We once had the foster son of some friends over. He had been terribly abused before they took him in. I caught him showing my kids a very violent video game and when I laid down the law about no violence, he said, "But I only like violent games."

David Allen Waters said...

a whole lot of power and truth in that one last line...

DJan said...

Gasp. I just don't understand the attraction of violence, and it scares me that it is just a game to the younger generation.

Claudia said...

i so hope you can help him to advance his frustration level..and still there are thousands of those 8 year olds..and it kind of scares me

drybottomgirl said...

As a mother of boys who have played World of War Craft, and other games, the violence at times unerves me, but it doesn't unerve my oldest. He was always calm about it and he would tell me, "mom, I know it's not real". And yet I worried until he became about 14 and he started noticing that there are real horrors in this world, just turn on the evening news. Now he takes a more serious and concerned look at Egypt, Libia, Japan, and all over. If you install compassion they will use it....

slommler said...

Either this is a game or it is real. Either way...frightening!
So skillfully written.
Hugs
SueAnn

Ami Mattison said...

Wonderful social commentary here, Brian. The juxtaposition between the lackadaisical springtime day and its parade of carefree people sets an contrasting context for this child's relish of violence. How he doesn't understand others speaks a lack of empathy which is the first scary clue that a child will not be okay in this world and the world will not be okay with this child. I always appreciate your insight!

Friko said...

that is gruesome, not something I would welcome.

Pastor Sharon said...

And we wonder why young adults and teenagers get into trouble . . . not always because the parents were the example. However, some of those games are hideous!

5thsister said...

and then there are things that no child should experience and it's a miracle any of us turn out somewhat "normal".

Natasha said...

It's true you know, head shots are worth more points, and that frustration will explode Mainstream if his teacher fails. We are all products of our environment, and we all have to find those coping tools to deal with that environment. For some, the game is the only release they need, or have. I pray it stays a game that gets played only on screens. Now I have to deal with my own frustration at us beasts we refer to as people...I'm gonna rock some Mario with my daughter :)

blueviolet said...

Some of the stuff my son has played makes me sick, but hey, he's an adult so what can I do?

The Retired One said...

I so agree,Brian. Violence begats violence.

william said...

having been brought up in this, it made me a much better person, yes I had my moments, but im much happier now within myself, great post mate, your a star :)

Myrna R. said...

Definitely, young parents have a huge responsibility to teach their children well.

Parenting is about teaching by modeling and guiding. Your poem shocked me when it got violent, but I see why. It made its point.

Stacy Uncorked said...

That is why even I don't like to play those scary games! :)

KB said...

We do what we know. Scary but true.

Shanae Branham said...

Nice writing. You have a gift with words and description. I hate to say it but I got lost. Maybe that's because I am a little slow. What does the exploding head matter have to do with the boys frustration and why they are sitting under a tree? Or is playing the game...I guess some type of gameboy they're therapy? Not sure...how everything connects

Brian Miller said...

hey i respect that shanae...it would be the writers fault...always is if you cant follow...i was trying to meld the early part of the day (therapy) with the end when he showed me the game he had been playing...

rhymetime(aka Pat) said...

Blaming games or movies or anything else for what someone does
Is the stupidest bit of buzz
It's just a parent being to lazy to watch what their kid is doing
And then when something happens bo hoing
Don't use the tv for a babysitter
and things won't get worse than cleaning the litter.
Make sure they know it is fake
When you watch someone getting drowned in a lake
If they take the game to heart
One should stop being a lazy fart
Not letting them play
Until they are old enough one day
If a videogame or movie made you do it
The you were screwed up and just looking to have a fit.
People need to stop blaming everyone and everything else for their actions
And start looking at their own inactions
For if one takes the time they'll find
Their kids won't fall behind
All the stupid crap they see
And just laugh it off with glee
Of course now days games and movies are dumbed down with a cheap thrill
Because again people are to lazy to develop any skill
Would rather whine when it's to hard and quit
Then getting better and beating it
But those are the days we live in now
Where they are just looking for a cheap wow
And greed rains above high
Copying and dumbing down things until you want them to die
For the only thing hard now,
Is buying games from the cash cow
Wow that was a long ass rant
But stop I can't
It was a very nice read as always
In the WaystationOne hallways

Pat said...

Makes you think how corrupt our kids minds are playing these video games.

She Writes said...

I am not sold on these video games teaching violence. I think it depends a whole lot on one's family on how one is in the world.

adeeyoyo said...

Eight years old - far too young to be playing 'games' like these! I don't car what anyone says, violence begets violence. Poor child had no choice.

Zuzana said...

Your writing is always filled with absolute contrasts, which shows how multifaceted you are.
To be a parent must be the most difficult and the most challenging but also the most rewarding occupation of them all. So much to teach and to leave behind...
Have a great day dear Brian,
xoxo
PS: Thank you for your great comment yesterday, could not agree with you more.;)

Cinner said...

Those games scare me Brian, great write. smiles.

Valerie said...

I'm with Sue on this, when she said 'I don't buy the studies that say the violence has no effect. Every stimulus that goes into the brain has an effect' I nodded my head in total agreement.

Arts web show said...

I never played these games growing up. never had a games console.
I know violins right. lol
This is good, very thought provoking

the walking man said...

There has been a failure in parenting going on and spreading for a while now.

Lorraine said...

Oh hell! it's all so wrong..I love how you write it, always

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trisha said...

this is scary brian- the method of solving problems.

Goofball said...

I'm sure you'll manage to teach him something new

lori said...

This is very touching. Sometimes I want to scoop them all up and take them home with me. Other times, I want to hide away myself from the world - not understanding why people act the way they do either. In some ways, we all do what we've been taught, even when we know better. It sometimes seems life is all about the un-teaching.

Always a pleasure to read your work.

mama-face said...

This hits very close to home.

Titanium said...

Still absorbing this one, still thinking of all the ways we as parents, teachers, guardians and friends affect our Little Ones.

Marla said...

Very thought-provoking Bri. Also, of course we are spinning our wheels somedays. That's not a bad thing little bro. Spinning wheels eventually burn rubber and take off screaming ultimately winning the race. Keep em spinning, I say.

tracy said...

This was deep. I remember was Frogger was the most violent video game around. :-)

IELOVER said...

Yes it a favorable game, you should enjoyed it.

Syd said...

Violence begets violence. It is sad.

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
Wow! So the child was angry and taking his frustrations out on another person? and yet, he is feed a "steady diet" Of violence in games?...Just asking...
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee :-/