Babies are awesome miracles. We see miracles everyday. I have nieces, nephews who I say are miracle babies. They survived premature birth and are beautiful miracles. Lot of people will look at babies and feel they have the cutest, smartest, baby in the world.
Me, I see slugs. Babies regardless of their beauty and how much we love them, are basically slugs. They lay around being slugs until they are about 7 or 8 months of age. The slug stage is slowly being out-grown. It is here they start to have some character. We enjoy their laughs, smiles and how they try to get around and make noise. So they start to be fun to hang around with. Prior to that, the slugs could be just put in a baby swing and left there. Of course when I say slugs and slug stage, I mean that in the best way possible. Or as many of the Indigenous folk say, "from a good spot in my heart".
Its interesting and kind of sad of how our beautiful babies can go from the cute and harmless slug stage to the thug stage later on in life. The thug stage is a wide range of age. The thug stage has started as young as 11, but more likely the slug stage starts at 16 years of age, while hitting full thug stage in their twenties. The thug stage can end abruptly for a number of reasons: maturity, enlightenment, jail and death.
In the Reserves and in the poor neighborhoods of the City our beautiful slugs turn into thugs. What can we do to curb, to stop the thug stage for our beautiful babies?
My encounters with Indigenous youth have exposed me to the thug stage. There are of course many many Indigenous youth who do not enter thug stage at all. They help out their parents, go to school, make good choices and work towards the Good Life.
I wonder how can you engage with the youth so they don't stay or go into the thug stage?
You know the thug stage? Sometimes the thug stage is actually a late slug stage: No emotional connection, no interest, no discipline, no drive, no passion, no participation.
The thug stage can be so sad.