Throwaway People

We know of the people that we see on the streets that have been thrown away, by choice or circumstance. There are also throwaway people much closer to you, maybe in your very own home. These throwaway people can be given this label because we have mentally thrown them away. These people are isolated, just like the people you see on street corners or lurking in the dark shadows of the night. Who are these people? They are people who are ignored, bullied, abused, and isolated. Comparing these people to the homeless – they both need help. We, as a society, ignore throwaway people. We look at them and keep walking without a thought, but when you close your mind to those closest to you, you are doing the same as if that person was sleeping on the sidewalk. When we mentally throw away a person, it’s like they don’t exist. We ignore them. We turn our heads. We isolate them by not interacting. I feel that mentally throwing away a person is worse because these are the people you know and love. I often hear people say, “I tried,” or “I’m tired of trying,” when it comes to how they can mentally remove these people from their lives. The killings, to which we are becoming all too accustomed, could be the result of people been thrown away. The rapist could be the result of being mentally thrown away. The child bully could be the result of being thrown away. The reason I can say this is because we have the best babysitter in TV and video games. These things isolate our children, but parents throw their kids in front of a TV or a computer from an early age. The child grows up only interacting with a screen; it becomes a way of life. The child becomes an adult expected to live and act as an adult socially, but he/she doesn’t know how. The adult world shows no sympathy for that adult. When there are young people with weapons and stockpiles of ammo in the same house as the parent, I can only think that the child was mentally thrown away. When you have children killing themselves due to bullying and parental neglect, I have to think they were thrown away. I say this because no matter how tired you are and how many times you try, there is always something else you can do. It is hard to believe that there is nothing else. Can we honestly turn away from a problem that we ourselves might have created? The young person in your house who is on drugs – how can you throw them away mentally? The mentally ill child showing aggression – how can you mentally throw them away? The wife who is being abused – how can you throw her away? It’s way too easy to throw them away mentally. All you have to do is turn off the part of your brain that says, “I care, I love you,” and turn it into “I will not reach out to you.” All it takes is a flip of the switch in your brain and they are gone, even if they live in the same place as you and no matter the age. The answer to the problem is it’s not easy to keep that switch on when there are so many reasons to switch it to off. We, as a society, have to do something, and at this point anything is better than nothing at all. The heart and the brain sometimes have different approaches for how to deal with problems. Is one more right than wrong? I honestly can’t say. If you are waiting for me to give you a solution, then keep waiting. Honestly, I think each of us must take a look at our lives and ask ourselves: “Did I mentally throw away somebody rather than reach out to them?” I think you have to limit television, computers and video games and stick with it. You have give your time, which is not easy for a lot of people. We are so busy with our own lives that we swear we don’t have time. There’s always time! If it’s kids – you spend time, you listen, you relate, you be empathetic, and most of all, you keep that switch on. You might try having specifically designated family time each day. You can try family reunions, so you can get more of your family involved. These are just a few things off the top of my head. I just hope that we stop mentally throwing people away. And the next time you see a homeless person, don’t turn away, but show some empathy.

A Grandmothers Dilemma

This is my dilemma: I have three grandsons; the oldest is 16, soon to be 17, and it seems the relationship I had with him has faded. How many of you find that as your grandchildren have gotten older there seems to be a disconnect?
Every generation strives to be better parents and grandparents to the new generation. It is not easy. I grew up in the age when being outside was the thing to do. You met your friends and went to the club and danced the night away. Now, with cell phones and video games, there’s an isolation that seems to be happening. While some still go to the club when they are of age, just as many are content to stay in front of a video game or have their face in the small screen of a cell phone. I can see that happening with my grandson. The oldest has very few friends. I mean the kind that you meet in early grades and you stick together through college and beyond. He has what I’d call acquaintances; people you meet haphazardly in school. He seems content being in his room and only going out for meals and occasional interactions with his brothers. The point is, we have just about the same amount of kids staying in and being isolated as going out and being sociable. As a grandparent, I want to help, so I ask: “What are you interested in?” The reply is usually, “Nothing,” and that’s the end of our conversation. I can tell by the silence on the other end of the phone that he wants to be anyplace but on the phone with me. This is the same kid who, just a few years ago, was drawing and talking with some ambition. Where did he go? I speak to my daughter, but as a grandparent, I have to be diplomatic in my approach. I mean, I try to be tactful by first saying what a great mom she is, which is true, she’s a parent that I never was. I then proceed to ask about each of my grandsons’ wellbeing and finding out what they are up to. I don’t want to target just him. That might not go over well. I then say how I feel that he is unmotivated and has no interest in anything.; silence is what I get. That’s the end of the conversation. I went online to find classes for him for the summer, since he applied too late to be considered for a job. He applied in June and all of the summer jobs for kids are taken by then. I told my daughter in February to start researching for summer jobs and have him apply. I found an online program with Jam.com. They offer all kinds of online courses such as drawing, photography, animation, and more. You get a 2-week trial before having to pay for the course. I was excited. Surely something there would spark something. He did the two-week trial drawing, but he wasn’t interested in the full course. What can I do now? I guess what upsets me is when he needs $200.00 sneakers, his parents can’t afford, he becomes the sweet kid I used to know. I’m a grandparent, not his parents, so what I say is I wouldn’t say dismissed, but not given the full consideration that I might know what I’m talking about. Maybe I’m so removed from his generation that I don’t fully understand about communication with his generation.
I will tell you one thing: I’m a grandparent and love all of my grandsons. I will continue to put myself out there, knowing that sometimes his distance will hurt, but hoping one day he will become that same kid that I was close to as an adult.