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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

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Momma Kiss: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Momma Kiss

If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes you can mow the lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game.

In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.

Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs. It's the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It's the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire.

In nineteen minutes, you can order pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to your child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem.

In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge. ~ Jodi Picoult

A friend and fellow momma recommended this book and it has changed me. It has actually rocked me to my very core.

It is chilling to read. And difficult to read.

But I believe any parent, or adult with children in their lives, or even teenagers should read it.

The story is about a school shooting. And the character build is phenomenal, the teen years, flash backs to early childhood, etc.

I can fully relate to many of the characters, even 15+ yrs out of high school. I was a misfit. We moved a lot when I was little. So I was often the new kid. And my (single) mother went to college late in life, so for years we were on welfare. I was teased for not having the best outfits or for getting free lunch. I was bullied at times.

And then I can sort of relate to the “popular” crowd, too…in high school, I had friends who were jocks and pretty. I wouldn’t say I was totally “IN” that crowd, but I was accepted by it and it felt nice.

Looking back, I feel like I balanced myself really well in HS, not that anyone could have told me that at the time. I had friends in lots of groups – the smokers, jocks, brains, pretty people. As I said, looking back – that’s a tough thing to accomplish, but at the time, my goal was to just be accepted. By anyone. And not desperately, I don’t think. But in a “this is hard, this teenage stuff, I’m looking for anyone who can relate” sort of way.

So anyway, now that I’m a mother to 2 young boys, this book could not have been written at a better time. It poses many many questions without really answering any of them. The shooter, Peter, is the younger of 2 boys who is continually compared to his older (and smarter, more athletic, amazing) brother. I’ve always known I wanted to ensure that my sons are raised as individuals, but how many times have parents done that “compare?” And even the most benign or subliminal comment can stick with a kid. Peter is also bullied because he is slighter, wears glasses and is just “odd” (or so it seems to other kids). His lunchbox is thrown out the window of the bus on his very first day of school and the torment never ends. It turns worse with (and this is my biggest nightmare) the internet. Can you imagine dealing with that every single day? There are kids being bullied right this very second. And how many stick up for them?

So I continue to question, how can I raise my children to be good. How do I ensure they’re not bullied? AND, how to I ensure they’re not THE bully? I know in my heart I can’t keep them in my sight forever, but isn’t that the only way I’ll know they’re OK? Part of letting them become men is to let go, but to think I have allow that independence at a young age? In kindergarten? That’s going to be a tough balance for them, to be cool, but not too cool. I love love LOVE my sensitive little boy right now. But what if he’s “too sensitive” for the cool kids and is not treated well?

My God, I could go on forever.

I’ve talked to Mr. Kiss about this and he thinks I’m a little bit nuts, but this has really been weighing on my mind. We do agree that the only thing we can do is teach them to love, but not coddle them. And to talk to them. To monitor what we can, but not smother. And to talk to them. We will have a computer in an open area and monitor use (even though they can find computers anywhere else, I’m sure). And talk to them. Have I mentioned talk to them? I can’t stand the thought of them withdrawing.

I’m not ready to have teenagers. Hell, I’m not ready to have 5 year olds! It’s years away – but I’m doing my best to build a good foundation now.

I’ve rambled a bit, but I guess my point is that I’m very glad I read this book, it’s opened my eyes to a whole lot of things kids deal with these days and I’m sure it’ll be even more crazy in 10 / 15 years.

My only option is to parent the best I can and when it’s time to let go, let go ~ praying I did my best.


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