As a nine year old I was taught wrong;
I learned I must be seen as strong.
I looked in the casket seeing him without a soul
My grandmother told me “Do not cry, stay in control.”
It does not matter if my sun has gone out
Or if I cannot cast out my self-doubt.
I mustn’t let them see a tear,
Yet I must seem oh so sheer.
Nearly eight years later I still abide by this rule.
As an eleven year old I was taught wrong;
From my class I was forced to withdraw
Because the teacher thought my blouse was too low.
I didn’t know what I did yet I felt like a hoe.
From that day on I saw girls had duties
To cover up even if they’re too young to have boobies.
I’ve occasionally not followed this rule
Which makes me the victim of cruel ridicule.
To think the rights of my body continue to be stolen.
As a thirteen year old I was taught wrong;
That grades are more important than my need to belong.
One too many times I’ve considered selling my soul
Because the value seen in kids on honor roll.
I’ve stressed over turning an eighty-four into an eighty-five
Far too many times although it’s never made anyone feel more alive.
I’ve heard of kids taking pills for good grades
While others pull the pin on their grenade.
When did letters start to mean more than lives?
We continue to instill these distorted values
Some in hopes of higher revenues,
Others to create strong men and women,
But it’s done by ensuring if they don’t conform they won’t be forgiven.
Children should be taught to appreciate the stars,
Not to fear being shamed or beaten for a D on any report cards.
Instead of teaching kids to be ashamed why don’t we teach them to love themselves?
– Rebecca Anderson