When You Needed More Help,
We Dropped the Ball
I'm writing from a personal place about something that actually happened. From studying how to be a professional helper, I have come to a new perspective on something I was a bystander of. But, I will for privacy sake be very vague. But the truth is, we all have let people down--- perhaps when they needed us the most. It's so easy to point the finger and tell someone they failed. But, what did we do to help them do the opposite-- succeed?
and no one takes their portion of the failure?
Since when do people ever hit it big of their own power? They almost always have a connection or people who are helping hoist them to success. (Do you know how many god-children Steven Spielberg has inserted into stardom?) In contrast, when people see others fail, they take no part in that result. Individuals usually don't fail on their own.
So for my instance, this person needed critical help. They had hit their rock bottom. They were seeking services. They were trying to see who in their life would step up and help them maintain the smallest shred of their previous life of family living, in a warm home with a working car.
Sure, the person made mistakes. Who doesn't? But in the process of straightening out their life, NO ONE (not the social services or closest people) did anything to protect their role as a parent. Bystanders thought that because the person was an "adult" that it was their choice to do as the they did. But did bystanders consider the person's ability to look out for their own best interests? Did anyone think about how their kids would handle it if people let that person go further down that path?
If they did, it was lost on me. Instead, the "system" raised the bar so high for them that it was impossible for them be that parent and for the kids to have their parent in their life. The social worker could have found temporary free resources. In my humble opinion, it was neither in the best interests of that person or their kids to thrust them into an impossible situation. It was like asking a blind person to read without Braille.
Sometimes we need to be saved from ourselves.
This is actually a common story...
Many people are out there crying out for help or not asking for help because they don't feel worthy. We, the bystanders, have an important role in their lives. I remember as a 21 year old ushering a friend to therapy. She probably wouldn't have made it there on her own. And sure, I had my own slew of problems. Yet I still did what I could.
This could easily have been my birth mother's story. She probably would have chosen to keep me if she had long-term family or societal support. I do not bring that up to hint at any hard feelings with my family but only to illustrate that the theme of letting people down is a part of many lives and many families.
The "embed.ly" card below represents a person who has taken the initiative to help people from a vulnerable population save themselves from themselves. Ismael would probably agree with me.
What I learned as a kid in jail