For the first time, in a very long time, I find myself working in the retail industry. Yes, like so many of us, I lost my “corporate” job and re-entered the rat-race of looking for work again. Shame on me, for making a livable wage. Shame on me, for making so many sacrifices, which only benefited my employer. Shame on me, for thinking employers actually appreciate anyone or anything. Seems most only care about expense and profit.
Like many of us, I remember when experience and knowledge were valued in the work place. I remember when people honored their word and solidified a deal with a hand shake, not a contract. I remember when dedication and hard work, meant job security. Back in the day, you knew that by putting experience, pride, and knowledge together with those things, meant you could feel secure, your employer valued you and you could look forward to retiring with a pension. Oh yes, our world certainly has changed.
There once was a time when being a homemaker was respected. I referred to myself, humorously, as the “Kool-aid” mom in the hood. On any given day, you could bet there would be a dozen or more kids interacting in the great outdoors at my home. They’d be playing soccer, kick-the-can, ghosts in the graveyard, Frisbee, street hockey or a number of other physical activities. They built a “workshop” in the backyard where they repaired toys and bikes for each other. They explored the woods and helped save the animals and make them feel safe. They would teach each other a variety of games that they didn’t all know how to play, or perhaps had just created. Imagination was key. Interaction was necessary. None the less, fun was had by all in attendance. Friendships were formed that I have been fortunate to see last into adulthood.
In the world today, “full-time moms” are frowned upon, due to the large number of them that rely on movies, video games and the such to watch over or keep the children company. No matter what the job, I took pride in what I did. I never considered myself a full-time mom, I felt I was a full-time homemaker. I didn’t just raise the children to the best of my ability, I created a home environment that everyone felt loved, safe and respected in, looking forward to returning to at the end of every day, whether they lived here or not.
We’ve all heard a great number of jokes and criticisms when referencing today’s twenty-something’s. Believe me, I’ve worked a lot with children of many ages, including those dealing with behaviors and challenges. No, not all moms are created equal, nor are dads. One thing I did see though, many of those kids were fortunate to have a parent/parents that instilled self-respect, self-worth and confidence in them early on. They were taught to believe in themselves and understand that no one’s opinion of you, is more important than your own.
I have hope. Not just by looking at my kids, who are twenty-something, but all those countless others I’ve been blessed to cross paths with as well. I am hopeful and truly believe that our world is becoming a better place, overall. Get away from the mainstream media and you’ll see it too. They want you to believe that our world, our society as a whole, is damned and cruel. I am proud to say, I still have a connection/relationship with so many of those youths. I had the pleasure of experiencing their growth and witnessing their development. Many of them have grown into caring, intelligent and successful individuals, living both on and off the grid.
Those fortunate youths, brought up with necessary personal self-strengths, compassion, unconditional love and respect, will one day be our future employers, our future politicians, our future leaders. They will embrace our “differences”, not exploit them. They will appreciate, acknowledge and care about those around them. They will be the change we wish to see in this world. They will nurture and value mankind, as well as our environment. They will see that all these factors are equally important. They will welcome those challenges in order to make change.
Call me a dreamer and you’ll be correct. At the age of 60, I still do have dreams for myself and my life. I believe that, one day, they will become a reality. I will not give up on them, nor will I ever lose hope. Some disagree, and that’s okay, but I see it everyday and so could you, if you truly pay attention to the world you live in. Put the phone down, get off social media and truly engage with those around you. Realize one thing, like water, children are one of our greatest natural resources. Screw them up and we’ve failed, not only them but our world as well as our future.
Whether you’re a parent or you just know of a youth that needs understanding, compassion, guidance or love, reach out and make a difference in a life. You don’t need a degree to be the best human being you can be. Agree to disagree and leave it at that. You just never know, what you do today, could change the world tomorrow. Believe in the power within. Believe in the world around. Never lose hope. Dream everyday. Share with others. Make this a beautiful day and it’ll only become the beginning of a beautiful future.
Live. Laugh. Love…and by all means…give a crap.