411 Focus

Now we have folks who see themselves as "O" folks, as in "U O Me!"

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

"Gimme! Gimme!"

I just read a comment on Facebook wherein someone lamented that there is nothing for the kids to do during the summer, and admittedly, I’m a tad grumpy, but it bothered me. Immediately I engaged in a silent, intense argument with the writer. Though the person couldn’t hear or see me, I started gathering up a wagonload of arguments, some of which I’ll unload here.

The main complaint heard in this community is “Kids have nothing to do,” and the first thing that pops into my mind is, “Huh?” I say this with a slight wrinkle in my forehead, not an “Are you kidding?” wrinkle that would be accompanied by the eyebrows forming a demonic peak toward the nose, but a worried wrinkle, a kind of sympathetic “Really?” wrinkle. Then my mind moves to “fill in the blanks” mode…

The library just re-opened across the street from what used to be the Boys and Girls Club. Is not there “something to do” there? Are not there churches with basements and books and colors and games somewhere in Gary? One common complaint is “a church on every corner.” Do they go into hiding, like squirrels and groundhogs, for months at a time? Have they disappeared… when you reappeared – OR… is the onus on the one complaining?

What happened after the last give-a-way at the “Rail Yard”? Did your kids park their bikes, or, with a few friends, ride over to the park to pick up empty bottles or McDonalds trash littering the area? Did they return the trash can to an upright position, or plop down with their friends, squashing it even more to accommodate their bodies until it was their “Next!” ?

We used to take care of what was ours. We used to be a part of what we created. We used to finish what we started. Why? Because we knew that nobody could take care of their own… and somebody else’s, too! That didn’t mean that we never helped another! No way! At any given time we were giving to or receiving from another… the “you wash my back, I’ll wash yours” theology.

I don’t know what has happened to us – let me rephrase that… I do know what has happened; I just don’t know how, given our history! I remember growing up as a girl and watching neighbors work together for everybody’s good! The men would kill and dress the hogs on one farm, then move to the next one a day or so later. The women would lend roosters to the woman down the road at the proper season so that each one would have chicks in the spring.

Where have help and cooperation gone? When did “give and take” become confused about their addresses, and one stay much too long at one place? A community is a “grouping of more than one… as one,” and everybody has a responsibility!

Somewhere along the line we’ve not made that lesson clear, and now we have folks who see themselves as “O” folks, as in “U O Me!”

Think of life as two hands, one facing downward, the other upward. You give, you receive… and the repetition happens over and over, not in any fixed order. Yet, this is the way that leads to community… and everybody has a role!

Q: What’s your role? How’s your standing?

Story Posted:06/08/2018

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