Monday, September 12, 2011

Tough love

I will always be grateful for the depth and breathe of experience life has given me.  It is from this well of experience that I now draw in hopes of helping.  I am sure you have heard someone say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Prevention is where I hope this is headed.  For C, cure is now impossible.

As you may have guessed, C is dead, felled by the number one killer of Americans under the age of thirty-five.  He took his own life.  C had been involved with drugs, violence, and had threatened suicide in the past.  His parents were employing "tough love" to deal with his problems.  From what I have read, "tough love" is a way of dealing with troubled youth, especially those addicted to drugs.  Since he had threatened suicide in the past C's parents were told this was manipulative behavior and to ignore such a threat. 

I believe all love is tough at some point in time.  All parents experience this when our children push against our rules. It is tough to say no, mean it, and meed out the consequences.  Almost any parent will tell you, kids on their way to adulthood will push you to your limit and often past it.  That is when love is tough. 

I understand not enabling someone with substance abuse problems.  I do not understand not taking a suicide threat seriously.  I write this as I grieve for C, for his parents, for his friends.  I want everyone to take a suicide threat seriously.  While I maybe a professional, trained to assess the risk of such a threat, I can tell you that in the face of such as situation with one of my own family members, I would not stop until a thorough assessment could be carried out by an unbiased professional.  The threat of suicide is a serious cry for help.  Giving or getting help may be tough, but that is love.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

On 9/11/2011

One of the attributes which makes us human is the ability to analyze the past and plan for the future. While it is easy to hold the picture of the twin towers of the World Trade Center burning and falling to rubble in my mind's eye, it is much more difficult to find pictures of peace and reconciliation. That first image of the towers is followed by those of the night raid bombings on Afghanistan, the ground war there and the invasion of Iraq. Ten years of fight is what I think of when I think of my sons who have grown from 10 and 12 year old boys to young men of 20 and 22 years.
An image I have tried this week to pair with that of the burning towers, is that of women dressed in white bonnets, holding hands, heads bowed in prayer. These are the women of the Amish community in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Yes, I had to look up the name and I submit to you that their way of life is as foreign to most of us as the people we blame for those attacks ten years ago. If yo follow my facebook status, I left an interesting article there yesterday. My warning was to read all six pages. I guess no one did. Or if you did you did not "like" it.
There was a great deal of news surrounding the murder of the ten young girls in an Amish school house in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania on October 2, 2006. A wealth of information is available on the Internet. Yet, the main image my mind goes back to on that day, now almost 5 years ago is the one of the women praying. News of the community has died out. Pacifist behavior does not sell many newspapers. It seems that the gunman's children are growing up without retaliation from the families of the victims.
One this day, when we remember the 2,996 individuals who died in those attacks, as we listen to their families, whose lives have forever been changed, could we please also weave some modicum of forgiveness into our beings. Violence begets violence. This is the truth of 9/11 for me. I have watch as a generation of young Americans has grown up with the idea that to make our world safe, wars must be fought. 1,680 Americans have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past ten years. 4,792 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the current war began there.
There must be a better way forward on this planet. Please, I beg you, speak peace. Teach peace. Most importantly, live peace. Everything has to begin somewhere. What are the words to that old Christian camp song? "Let it begin with me."
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