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it's just the weather...

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BY JUSTIN HAMPTON

I’m not gonna complain, it's just weather.

These past few months of weather have been crazy, at least here in Montgomery. One day it's a nice 65 degree-day with the sun shining and the birds chirping, and the next it's blisteringly cold outside. It's like the earth is going through puberty or something.

Well, I feel like I have something in common with the weather, and no I’m not going through puberty, I don’t think.

Lately things with the Middle school program have been increasingly difficult because the kids I’m dealing with are going through things that most other children their age are dealing with. New feelings toward the opposite sex, coming into their own as maturing people, and even their own bodies are not the same today as they were yesterday. Their very person is changing like the weather. This is without regard to the myriad of issues these kids deal with that most other children their age do not deal with.

In addition to the whirlwind of bodily changes, the hormonal imbalances, the pimple breakouts, and the ever changing social structure in their schools; they have a whirlwind “without” in addition to the whirlwind “within.”

They are dealing with fatherless homes, poverty, lack of vision, possible abuse, systemic incarceration with the people in their community, violent neighborhoods, and the like; it's a problem not uncommon in any other ‘"hood" in the U.S., but it’s THEIR problem nonetheless.

Interestingly enough, they don’t see it as a problem. Not because they are unintelligent, or destined to live a substandard existence, but rather because what the outside world views as problematic, they view as normal life. “Normal” is relative.

So when I sat and pondered about what to write this blog about, I decided to write about this crazy weather. The shifting, unpredictable combo of hot and cold spells - this polar vortex - that has swept through our region of the country leaving us reaching for the A/C one day and melting the ice off the windshield the next. In this type of uncertainty you really don’t know what to do. You look crazy, not because you are, but because the circumstances are so volatile that there is no room for consistent behavior. Suitable behavior for today wouldn’t fit the circumstances only moments later. What is appropriate must be learned through consistency, but if inconsistency is the norm, then inconsistent behavior becomes what is appropriate.

Man, I’d love for my kids to just act right, but sadly for them, acting “right” (even-keeled,  balanced, stable, behaved) all the time may not fit tomorrow's circumstances. Many times I’ve walked outside with clothing that was suitable yesterday only to discover that I needed a jacket, or an umbrella, but what if I don’t have one? What if my emotional circumstances and family situation was as ever changing as the weather but no one ever equipped me with the right gear to combat the elements?

Hot, cold... Cold, hot... And on and on... It's a bad weather day now, 27 degrees outside, snowing in some places around here, and no lie, by Saturday it'll be sunny and around 65 degrees again. For most of my kids it's a microcosm of everyday life, or lack thereof. But, for you and me - it's just the weather.