Too much discussion | Mark’s Remarks

I love to watch the show “Hoarders.” 

Most of the episodes are predictable.  A team comes in, assesses the hoard and then goes about convincing the person to let go of things or allow the team to clean up their property.  

Usually, a problem is uncovered and there is a degree of therapy involved.  Most of the time, the person has to be convinced to let go of things, and it isn’t always easy. There are barriers that have to be overcome, and the hoarder has to be helped along.  In the end, after lots of conflict and drama, the house is usually cleaned up and a possible new life is on the horizon for the former (hopefully) hoarder.

While watching a particular episode the other night, I noticed the people involved weren’t going by the usual script.  The hoarder, a no-nonsense lady, was living in a hoard  created by her parents and had continued some of the hoarding patterns. 

When the cleaning team showed up, the lady who lived in the house of her deceased parents was relieved and very ready to get that place cleaned up. Apparently, she had already made up her mind that the time was now and, because she had a team there to help her, she should seize the day and get ‘er done.

What was funny to me about the episode was that the somewhat whiney therapist and the professional organizers, I think, were being told by the producers or the director that they needed to prolong the show.  

Even though the lady of the house as well as her only sibling were saying “Yes!  Throw it out. Get rid of it!  I’m ready to let that go,” and similar things, the therapists kept saying “Let’s pause for a moment and make sure you all are doing well.”

As the therapist and the organizers were bemoaning the limited time frame, they were still stopping progress from time to time and having a meeting to see about the emotional well-being of the family.

And the family kept saying “We’re fine! Let’s get going!”

It illustrates a theory I’ve had for quite some time – especially watching the way we handle kids these days. 

Now, I am so very glad we have stepped up as educational institutions and put programs in place for kids.  Kids now have places to go and talk to someone if they need emotional support or help with anything in schools. It’s awesome.  

Most parents seem to be more in tune with how to talk to kids as a result of new information and support from schools and churches.

However, time and time again, I have watched kids who are growing and changing be brought into conversations with their parents or others; conversations they really don’t need to have. Conversations they really didn’t ask for.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk to kids about stuff. I’m saying we need to let the kids come to us with questions or just to talk. They need to be met with unconditional love and support, and  we need to foster home and school environments where kids know they can come with questions.

But how about just letting the kids come to us?  

It’s OK to say “Everything OK? How are you?”  I mean, it’s totally OK to “check in.”

But we shouldn’t be creating conversations that the kids haven’t asked for.  That is going on way, way too much in this day and age.

Kids need time to think.  They need to be allowed to go through phases and stages of life without a bunch of prodding and poking. We need to be working harder on love and support than the suggesting and pushing.  

I mean, how long ago did my daughter want to be a vet? Then a teacher.  Then an architect?

I can’t tell you the amount of kids I’ve been around who have gone through phase after phase and finally gotten comfortable in their skins because, instead of having ideas introduced and suggested to them, they merely had loving and supporting environments to grow in. 

That’s what needs to happen. That needs to be our focus.

We have our ideas and our beliefs, but we need to be gentle about it all when it comes to kids. We do not need  to impose them on a kid who is searching and wondering.  

We must, must remember how to love kids no matter what, even when their decisions and their thought processes are painful to us.  Oftentimes, growing kids come to a realization on their own, and it’s usually because they’ve had people who haven’t butted in too much.

My opinion, of course.  But I contend we have forgotten how to love others the way we are supposed to.  Without judgment.  Without condemnation. With plenty of “I love you no matter what” statements, even if we are asked to tell them what we believe. 

It’s possible to answer questions honestly and gently without putting the other person off.  

We can’t be jamming things down the throats of others and expect them to feel accepted and cared for.  However, we shouldn’t be putting ideas in people’s heads either.

Just love. Just listen. Just be there.

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