Workin’ On It

by Young Che on June 13, 2009

Well its been almost two months since our nephew got expelled from his school and became a little too much for his Mother to handle. He’s officially a ‘troubled teen’ and officially living with us now. You already know that the decision to allow him to move in with us wasn’t exactly what you would call a “no brainer.” There are way too many variables when you are raising your own teenagers not to mention taking one in with some known problems. I mean, he did threaten to “blow up” his teacher’s house. Sure, everyone knows he was just joking, right?

YungGin G


In some one ways he’s just your typical teenager. He expresses a deep rooted desire to do nothing. Umm, if you didn’t hear me correctly he actually wants to do nothing as in with his life. Well, he did want to do nothing until I helped him with his understanding that its virtually impossible to do completely nothing with your life. After over a month of prodding it would seem that there are some things that he actually wants to do with his life although he’s not necessarily shooting for the stars yet. Well I’m rambling a little and beating around the bush somewhat as well considering the fact that I’m not about to get too specific. Let’s just stick with the troubled teen description and beyond that I guess the only other defining trait would be his pants, which are perpetually sagging and his utter disregard for reading or vocabulary even though he wants to be (among other things)…. drumroll please…. a rapper.

My once peaceful home has turned into a bootcamp/prison ever since he moved in with me alternating roles between Squad Leader and Prison Guard depending on the circumstance. Fortunately for him there are some other roles that I’ve been obliged to play during our time together including but not limited to: teacher (to his student), Miaggi (Danielson), doctor (patient), Big Brother (Lil Brother), etc…

Male children can be strong willed in their desire to do as they please no matter how misguided they may be. Prior to his arrival I didn’t really have much need to be Squad Leader/ Drill Sergeant around my house. My wife and I only have one daughter who happens to at least play the game of life as it should be played to keep us off of her back. She brings home good grades, is well behaved most times with the exception being her smart mouth and she at least values whatever privileges she enjoys enough to do what it takes not to have them revoked. I can’t say the same for ‘YungGin G’ yet. Maybe with time he will up his game a little.

The other morning I went into his room to wake him up so that we could get our day started. This sleep thing is a difficulty factor for sure because he repeatedly stays up too late and even if he goes to sleep on time I wouldn’t exactly consider him a morning person. It takes him anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes to actually get up after I’ve interrupted his sleep in the mornings. So I actually allow a little extra time for his sluggish morning behavior. He always responds differently and that may have something to do with the different methods I employ to get him up every morning. I like to change it up.

On this particular morning he reacted quite abruptly by yelling some indiscernible syllables coupled with some oddly timed moans and groans illustrating his frustration with the idea of waking up. My response was swift, decisive and appropriately harsh given the set of circumstances I was presented with. My wife was awakened by our exchange and asked me to stop all of that cursing. My reaction to her request was almost as harsh as my reaction to this young nex-con who happened to pick the wrong moment to test me. After I dropped off the two teens to their respective locations I arrived back home to continue my daily research. I happened to read a passage from a book which crushes the notions of coincidences completely so let’s just say the timing was impeccable. The following passage is from: The Daemon: A Guide to Your Extraordinary Secret Self and reads ….

These organs — the hippocampus, amygdala, septum, thalamus, fornix, cingulate gyrus and reticular formation — are believed to be the location of man’s basic instincts. It is this part of the brain that governs automatic responses such as fear, anger, parenting behaviour and aggression. It is also the seat of deep-rooted emotional reactions such as tears and laughter. This does not mean that it is ‘primitive’ in the accepted sense of the term because some of man’s most noble attributes such as love and the creative process may also be rooted here. It is important to recognize that this area is unconscious and acts without the will and control of the conscious mind. (pg. 78)

Once she finally got up she tried to clarify her position which led to a debate which I was obviously poised to win being that I had relevant reference materials to back up the common knowledge that it takes men to raise men. She still doesn’t like the fact that sometimes its rough business raising boys but I informed her that I will not stroke his testicles nor will I watch her allow him to relive his infant stages by suckling him and spoiling him further than he has already been spoiled by his biological Mother. I asked my wife if she knows what it takes to “make a man” and of course her answer was negative. Well I do have a clue how to help boys become men. In fact, it happens to be one of my Super Powers. I definitely need and would love her help and assistance on this one but babying a troubled teen is not they way to go.

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