The holidays are upon us once again.
It is time for overeating, overspending, buying things we don’t want or need for people we don’t like. Why not spend this time doing something creative and productive for the younger members of our community.
Why not give them the gift that can’t be charged, won’t make us cringe when the new year rolls around and will actually give us those warm fuzzies that Madison Avenue always promises and never delivers.
Give our young people the gift of our time.
Spend some time with young people not instructing, fixing or judging but just listening. I know this is difficult because so many times you witness people plowing head first into a train wreck and yet there is nothing you can do. What we can do is be available. When asked, we can offer assistance and guidance.
We can always offer compassionate encouragement.
This new type of encouragement is not about fixing and stepping in to correct a person because they will never get it right without your help. Instead, it steadfastly relies on the person’s intellect and belief in self which allows them to try, perhaps fail or risk failure and then try again.
This is one of the greatest gifts we can offer young people.
Time to listen. Time to be heard.
I am reminded of that great scene in Bowling For Columbine when Marilyn Manson said :he would have simply listened to what the youth had to say.
Powerful and to the point.
So this is the gift I want to offer to young people. I have no money but loads of listening and empathy skills. I am started up my gay youth mentoring program in the very near future. My determination is to have a spot where every voice can be heard.
I understand that it is difficult at times listening to the brutality and obstacles that young people must overcome. The difficulty lies in having to relive our own struggles and the feelings that emerge when certain topics are discussed.
We must do whatever it takes to stay in the game with these folks and not let our past dictate what we are able to hear and ultimately act upon.
If a young person brings us something that is to reminiscent of our past, the responsibility to find someone who can hear what is being stated and needed is imperative.
What is required is the presence of someone who wants to be there and wants to be as helpful as possible.
The gift of time.
Nobody ever remembers all the stuff somebody gave them or didn’t give them. People remember the time a joke was shared,an amusing anecdote was delivered, a warm hug and a series of kind words that said “let’s kick butt today”.
These are the things that young and older people require.
So many people are not taught to articulate this basic and very life affirming need . How sad.
It is time we provide a road map to the younger generation, shut the hell up after realizing the world is a very different place then step aside and watch them blaze a trail .