Quality Street

Six years ago, I was invited to attend Friday night youth, and give ‘a talk’ for the teens. When I unpacked my ‘visual aid’ for my talk, I had the attention of each and every one of them…. especially when I proceeded to open the bags and allow the taste delights to spill out on to the table in front of me. Because, you see, I had brought with me three large bags like this :

The image comes from the Nestle website, and you’ll notice in the fine print below the ‘Choice Chocolates & Toffees’, it states that it is ‘everyone’s favourite favourite’.

Funnily enough, the pictures alongside that (the green, yellow and purple chocolates) happen to be MY favourites in the bag πŸ˜‰
Now Quality Street has always been ‘an expensive treat’, and when growing up, if our family gifted a box of chocolates, this was usually the one that was given.
We had them for ‘us’ a few times a year…. and I can remember many a battle over MY favourites, ha ha ha!
They are still one of the ‘more expensive’ boxes/packets of chocolates, and I think we probably only get them once a year now – usually around Christmas time.

One of my reasons for using them for the Youth Talk was this : Like the bag of chocolates, with it’s variety, we are all different. And we all have different things that we ‘prefer/like/favourite’ as well as different strengths and weaknesses – ‘tastes’, if you will.
But what if I said to them that they could have any chocolate from the bag, just not their favourite? Would they still choose one? Their reply was a unanimous yes.
And I used this to illustrate to them that just because someone wasn’t their favourite, or wasn’t ‘like them’, didn’t mean that that person didn’t have value. That person was still SOMEBODY’S favourite, and deserved kindness and love, just as much as they themselves did.
And that even if they felt they themselves were different, they still had worth!

And as I look around me in the world today, I see a whole lot of people with a variety of talents, and weaknesses, and strengths, and ‘differences’.
And I may not always ‘approve’ or be comfortable with their choices, or choose to spend ‘quality time’ with those people – they may not be my choice at all….
But they still deserve kindness (which is an expression of love!!!) no matter what I think or feel. Because they are still Someone’s favourite.

IN A WORLD WHERE YOU CAN BE ANYTHING, BE KIND!

(And yes, I let the teens eat the chocolates – although supervision was required to ensure that they were evenly distributed πŸ˜› )

Plea and please

The picture below is a photograph of my son and I, taken four years ago, on the evening of his final school dance. Many people have commented that he ‘looks a lot like me’. (I softly curled my hair for the occasion πŸ˜‰ )

facebook_1597127112404_6698836636068258226

Although there is a resemblance in our appearance, it stops when it comes to height and body shape. He’s slouching a little in the picture, for Mom’s benefit πŸ˜› He’s just over six foot tall, and slender. I am a shorty, and rounder πŸ˜›

The similarities with us are not just physical – he seems to be very similar to me in a lot of other ways too. He has a kind and tender heart, a gentle spirit, and like his momma he can be quite sensitive. He and I are the ones who will sit and cry in a movie, or an episode of a series – not always out of sadness though. In fact, most times, if it’s heartwarming, it gets our tears πŸ˜‰ When we try to retell stories of acts of kindness, our voices wobble a little – and if it’s one of those ‘overwhelming type stories’, we’ll have to stop to try and ‘get a grip’ and prevent ourselves from crying.

We’re just too soft πŸ˜›

But I am proud of my young man, and who he has become. He may fail in some ways, and may be a bit of a slow starter in others – and yes, he still has his moments where he frustrates and irritates me, ha ha ha! BUT his good qualities FAR outweigh any bad, and I am very grateful for that!

One of the ways that he is VERY different to me though is when it comes to the social side of his personality. He’s great with the friends he has known since he was 13 – there is no struggle for him there. But he is, for the most part, shy and introverted. It takes him a while to come out of his shell around other people. (He partially struggles with self esteem.) And yet, like his mother πŸ˜‰ , heΒ doesn’t struggle to connect with his online friends. He met them through the world of online gaming, and soon they were social media friends, which means chatting and voice noting and connecting. And through all that, he has made good friends – friends he has never met in person. And I even ‘know’ a few of them – sometimes it feels like they are part of our ‘real world’ and have been to visit πŸ˜‰

SO…. why am I telling you all this?

Last night, my very precious ‘boy’ came to me, still in shock and unsure of how he felt. He had just received a message from one of his other friends to say that their ‘mutual friend’ had committed suicide on Saturday. She was only 18 – we had all ‘celebrated online’ on her 18th birthday this year.
We knew she was struggling with depression. We knew that she had started new medication earlier this year. We knew that a couple of weeks ago, things were bad for her and she was withdrawn.
But it still came as a shock.Β 
Because we also knew that we had all offered help, that she had reassured us that ‘it was okay’, that she had her meds. She never once told anyone that she wished for death.

I didn’t hug my son. He’s not one for physical affection, and I respect that.
But we talked. Briefly. And I made it clear that I am always available if he needs to chat – he can even wake me if I am sleeping.
Then I watched my young man as he left my room, shoulders stooped, heart hurting.
And I cried a little bit.

Preteens, Teens, Young Adults, Grown Ups – please hear the cry from my heart today :

Depression sometimes has a way of ‘creeping up on us’. In society today, it’s ‘common’ – and yet in some cases, there still seems to be a stigma attached to it.
If you think you may be suffering from it, or know that you are, please DO NOT BE ASHAMEDno matter who has tried to shame you for it.Β 
Please reach out and try to ask for help.
I know that sometimes we get to a place where we just can’t ask.
Please force yourself. And if you need to, then please force yourself to accept help.
Your life IS worth something.
YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING!