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The Parenting Track By Sam Kadence
As adults we all look back at our childhood and a lot of us have good memories. The rest of us wonder how the heck we got through it alive. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood isn’t a good one. It was a weekend and despite having the poodle hair my mother insisted I get, I felt pretty good. I said to her, “I feel pretty today.” Must have been fifteen or sixteen at the time. She laughed at me and said, “Yeah, right.” Twenty years later I still remember that moment.
Was that the beginning? No, it was a snapshot. How many of us vow we won’t be like our parents when we grow up? Problem is those early years are what shape us the most.
I’ve recently written two pieces that have very accepting parents:Double Exposure and On the Right Track.
Double Exposure is really an idealistic story. Something that could possibly happen, but likely not yet. Maybe ten years from now as the world is still reeling from the acceptance of LGBT individuals in general. Throw in something like gender fluidity and you’ve got most everyone stumped.
On the Right Track, however—the parents at least—are based on a true story. A friend came out to his parents the very same way, over breakfast, with little to no angst. See, they knew, or at least suspected for a while.
The current generation of young people have a different set of parents than my generation. A more observant, yet less focused set of parents. Today’s parents believe in two types of parenting: Over-parenting, which is what my sister does and her kids have separation issues. And Hands-Off parenting, which means as long as their kids aren’t in trouble they pay no attention to them at all.
We lived through the end of the Cold War, the Gulf War and the Recession. Our parents’ generation might have had a World War or two, some even the Depression or parents from the Depression area that makes them more stubborn to change. See they found out during those wars and hard times that change is a bad thing. Food was scarce, getting from one place to another wasn’t as easy, and money was made mostly by the men in the family (if you weren’t married you were in trouble).
My own mother—to this day—has a basement full of canned food, two large stand freezers full of frozen goods, and two refrigerators. Now it’s just her and my dad in the house. One of my sisters or I go through those supplies every few months to get rid of all the expired stuff. But as kids we didn’t get allowances, and anything we wanted we bought ourselves, even school clothes and supplies. Even with all that food in the house we had three meals and no snacks. And God forbid you didn’t eat the nasty Hamburger Helper mom put down. You’d sit there for hours starving and not get anything else.
Now compare that with my sister and her kids. She buys for a week at a time. At the end of the week the fridge and the cupboard is bare. They’ve never have to scrape for food and take out is only a call away. The kids get whatever they want. Don’t like dinner, my sister makes them something else so they will eat. She still lives paycheck to paycheck. Now it’s our kids who have no concept of money, limits, or control. All of them are obese, never play outside, and have fights over who gets to play on the internet.
We’re a busy generation, I get that. People raise their kids on TV and iPad games. The kids have it easy. And they want to be like us.Like us. Yeah that’s different, right?
They want to be connected, linked-in, always in the know because the internet is at their fingertips and the internet never lies. Right? Reminds of a commercial with a woman who is talking about how the guy she met on the internet is a French model and he’s obviously not. Remember that one?
The problem is we’ve spent so much time doing things for our kids (because our parents didn’t) that they now expect us to keep doing those things. They don’t want to go to college, or get a job, or even get out of the computer chair. So what we have on our hands—as a generation who did not want to be like our parents (strict and unappreciative)—we have unappreciative and lazy kids who think they know it all. While we as the parents scratch our heads going, huh, how did that happen?
In On the Right Track, Adam’s parents are pretty strict. No internet for him, no Facebook, etc. But he’s confident in himself, applies himself in school and doesn’t waste his days inside sitting in front of a screen. I think Adam is actually a bit more fairytale-like in this story than his parents are. Sure there are kids out there like him, far fewer than ten years ago. But he battles something else, lack of focus. He has no idea where he wants to go in life and while his parents are supportive, they aren’t exactly helping him figure that out, and aren’t pushing him toward standing on his own. They practice more of the “hands-off” style we see a lot of nowadays. As long as he brings home good grades, stays out of trouble, and follows their rules, they leave him alone.
It’s not until Ru steps into his life that he wakes up and realizes, hey, I’ve got to do something with my life, and I only have a year to figure out where to start. Ru is a self-made business man at the age of 17. He knows what he wants and is fighting to get there. He’s had no parents for years and so has had the harsh reality of the world on his shoulders for some time.
So it makes you wonder just who really is on top. Our parents or us? How different did we really end up?
And now, a bit of On the Right Track
Author: Sam Kadence
Genre: YA M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 184 pages (ebook and print)
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: August 15, 2013
Ryunoski “Ru” Nakimura knows all about the trappings of fame. Expelled from a boy band for coming out as gay, he still wants to continue his career in music. Too bad his ex finds nothing better to do than exploit their relationship in the press, so Ru leaves California behind to lie low in Minnesota for a while.
Adam Corbin attends a Minnesota high school and wants to coast through as a typical student. He’s friends with an openly gay student, Bas Axelrod, but while Adam plays football, he also stays away from much socializing. Blending in and not outing himself has been easy because he’s never really been seriously interested in any of the guys he’s encountered.
When Adam meets Ru in a library, Adam begins to think he’s found that special young man who might make it worthwhile to just be himself. And for Ru, Adam looks like someone he might trade his fame for, if they could be together. Ru and Adam will both come to realize that courage and love must go hand in hand if they are to have a future.
And now, a snippet from On the Right Track
The next week Adam stared at that number in his phone probably a hundred times a day without finding the courage to actually call. It wasn’t until he was in study hall on Tuesday, cramming for the French test, that he actually thought about doing anything other than just thinking about it. Adam had almost hit the dial button when Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod, the flighty, out, gay guy, plunked into the seat next to him, all glitter and smiles. Their study hall meetings weren’t unusual. He was in AP French and helped a lot of students out with their homework, Adam included.
“Adam, sweetie, you’ve been looking so distracted this week. Need some help preparing for the midterm?” He waved his hand at Adam’s French book. “Maybe something to take your mind off whatever bug has gotten into your bonnet.”
Adam couldn’t help but laugh. Where did Bas get those lines? “I just need to practice my verbs. I’m more worried about the oral exam than the written part.” It always made more sense on paper. He didn’t know why.
“Oh, honey, I can help you with oral anytime.”
Adam felt himself flush at Bas’ teasing. And it was teasing. Bas did it every time they saw each other, and he did it to everyone. Adam didn’t know if Bas had gaydar and could tell that he was gay as well, but Adam never felt he aimed more teasing at him than anyone else, so it was okay. “If you can help me with my French, I’d really appreciate it.” The words were out of his mouth before he even realized Bas would probably pull a double meaning out of them too.
“Oh baby, I knew you’d come around. I’d love to help you French. Nothing sexier than that pretty platinum blond hair of yours or those big lips. OMG! Let’s begin now.” He pursed his lips dramatically.
Adam groaned. “Bas, behave, or I won’t study with you anymore.”
Bas gave Adam a huge dramatic sigh. “So beautiful, but so mean. So dish, sweetie, what’s really on your mind?”
Bas was known for gossiping, so Adam hesitated to tell him anything. A quick glance around the room showed him everyone was occupied with other things and not paying attention to them. “So I saw this person in the library. And they were pretty attractive, even gave me their number, but I’ve been too scared to call.”
“I see, said the sharply dressed gay man. Okay, so if you’re worried about calling, text this hottie before she slips away.”
Adam blinked at him. “Text?”
“Don’t give me that deer-in-the-headlights look, sweetie, though it is absolutely breathtaking on you. I know you know how to text. Even you pretty runner types know how to put your thumbs together and pound out a message.”
“The jock jokes are getting old.”Adam picked up his phone and glanced at the screen again. Yeah, he could text Ru. That wasn’t as scary as outright calling him.
Bas put his hands up in an “I’m harmless” sort of way. “Don’t bite the messenger, baby. Nate has been hanging around you a lot, so I’m hearing a lot of the jock banter thrown around with your name attached. Some of the jockstraps are starting to get jittery.” The“jockstraps” were his affectionate term for all Nate’s hangers-on.
Adam frowned. Nate had been running with him every day, requesting Adam to stay late after football practice and just run. They’d even raced a few times, with the results being hands down that Adam was just faster than Nate. It probably bothered him,though it was all body structure rather than actual skill. Nate was built like a football player: thick, strong, and wide. Adam was built more like a swimmer: lean, lanky, and long-legged. “Nate is trying to get a scholarship to the U of M.”
“Yeah, he sure isn’t going to get one based on his grades. You, on the other hand, with a little work, could. You’d have better grades if you’d just apply yourself.” He flung his hands about. “Stop being all wishy-washy.”
“I’m not going to the U of M.”Everyone at Northern High went to the U of M. It was like some sort of unspoken rule. If you went to college, and not just a community college like the one next door, you went to the U of M. Which was exactly why Adam wasn’t going.
“All righty, then. On that somewhat incensed note, let’s practice your French, shall we? Afterward you can text your Ms. Right and talk about moving to some grand place that doesn’t snow eight months out of the year and accepts exceedingly unmotivated individuals like yourself.” And just like that, he turned his focus to helping Adam learn instead of teasing him to death.
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