Today would have been a really long day for me. There's a party for the graduates of the program tonight, and we are all expected to stay overtime to set up, serve, and clean up...so usually on graduation day, which happens twice a year, it is a 8:30 am to 7:30 pm day. And usually, it is quite enjoyable, but this time, not only do I have no graduates, but I also don't totally agree with their choices of graduates.
To me, graduation should be based on a certain set of criteria; of course, good attendance and remaining drug and alcohol free are the biggies, but the graduate should also be in the process of doing something to better his/her lifestyle...i.e. GED classes, vocational training, internship, job or even job search. This is why I have no graduates. Although I have clients who satisfy the first criteria, they are doing nothing else with their life. Two of tonight's graduates come to mind. One is a young man, 21 years old, with his entire life ahead of him. His attendance was 'okay', his urines clean, but he has done nothing else. He was disruptive in groups and hasn't even taken the first steps to obtain his GED. Instead, he got involvd with an older women, got her pregnant, and is now crying the blues that he made a mistake. You know what that says to me? Relapse mode, not graduation. But, because he has been so disruptive, they are graduating him to get him out of the program. Another client has done absolutely NOTHING and I mean nothing. He's never even once shared in any of my groups. He has done no work on himself, but because he and his counselor have had a few words, they are graduating him.
Somehow this speaks to me of the old social promotions of the New York City school system when students were passed from grade to grade and graduated, receiving high school diplomas, just because of their ages. And what are the results of that? Today we have thousands of adult men and women who cannot read and write.
By the way, that photo isn't from me. The battery went in our camera. But, that is a photo of another snowstorm that hit Brooklyn a few years back, and it gives you some idea of what it is like here today. And, with that, it's been awhile since I have posted any poetry, so I will leave you with the following'
Jove descends in sleet and snow,
Howls the vexed and angry deep;
Every storm forgets to flow
Bound in Winter's icy sleep,
Ocean waves and forest hoar,
To the blast responsive roar.
Drive the tempest from your door,
Blaze on blaze your heartstone piling,
And unmeasured goblets pour,
Brimful high, with nectar smiling;
Then, beneath your poet's head
Be a downy pillow spread.
--Alcaeus (7th-6th century B.C.)