Below is an excerpt from The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks. I stumbled across it and it cracked open my head with an illumination that was so bright that it gave me a Advil-resistant headache that I'm still carrying around four hours later.
We've all lost our children. It's like the children of America are dead to us. Just look at them, for God's sake - violent on the streets, comatose in the malls, narcotized in front of the TV. In my lifetime something terrible happened that took our children away from us. I don't know if it was the Vietnam war, or the sexual colonization of kids by industry, or drugs, or TV, or divorce, or what the hell it was; I don't know which are causes and which are effects; but the children are gone, that I know. So that trying to protect them is little more than an elaborate exercise in denial.
Exactly! And does it matter? Hardly. Causes, effects and symptoms are not braided together as easily distinguishable and manageable separate parts. Our personalities are born in our experiences; our lives are born from our choices. And still, the children. How to help them? How to get him to realize this truth: he is responsible for his life. And that truth would be a simple one, though it is not the whole truth but really just a string of words that should be true. He is not responsible for his life because we have not made him be. There are no consequences for him, just changes in the scenery. This pattern, it has to change. And it will change. Because if it doesn't, it will change us and everything about and around us. Well, except for him. He would just have a change of scenery.