Saturday, 3 October 2009

Bringing The Colour Back.

My son has lived with me since he was twelve. My son, 'my little boy', is almost twenty-one. As a single dad challenging his mental health concerns and trying to be a good father; it has not always been easy. Yet, the responsibilities of raising my child has been very much the catalyst that enabled me to be strong for him, be strong for me.
Like any other parent, it has not always been a happy and blissful relationship. During those times I could have really used the input of a partner to back me up. No doubt, during our times of conflict, my son would have benefited from the opinion of a third party. Still, eventually, we work it out and our differences are resolved. Ah, the life of a single dad and his little boy who is now a young man. I have tried to instil in him that he should always try to maintain an air of dignity and use diplomatic assertiveness in his encounters with the outside world. I told him that when he signed on for benefits that he must realise that those in the Job Centre have more than likely had their fair share of unruly, unreasonable customers. "Son", I said, "if you go there with a calm, pleasant demeanour, you should notice a more positive outcome."
After much hassle, he finally got his benefits. What this entailed was for him to travel in on the bus every two weeks to sign on. One morning, about a month ago, he left the house in plenty of time to go on the bus and sign on. Unfortunately, due to road works, the bus got to his destination late. When he went to sign on, he was ten minutes late. Instead of making allowances for this, the people at the Job Centre told him, in an apparently dismissive manner, that he would have to come back several hours later that day. So instead of hanging around for several hours, wandering the streets of Stoke on Trent, he came home. Upon his repeat trip on the bus, when he arrived, to finally sign on, he was handed a written warning for being late that morning. The situation that occurred is hardly conducive to creating a positive environment. My son, already struggling with the fact he had lost his job, did not deserve this. Indeed, nobody deserves this type of treatment.
Yes, these have indeed been some tough, challenging times. For quite some time, his bedroom has been in need of a fresh coat of paint. The room had become dull and lifeless. Perhaps a fresh, bright coat of paint would do the trick.
I managed to persuade him to come with me to the 'DIY' shop and purchase some tins of paint. At last, a positive focus.
I will now conclude this posting on a very positive note. His friends have realised that there bubbly, lively mate had been down for quite some time. So his friends, his true friends, friends who have been there for each other, through the good times and the bad times; rallied round and came over to help him paint his bedroom. How heart warming, how inspirational. Heck, even his dog, Penny, wanted to be a part of the action.
So by bringing the colour back to a dull and dreary room, may just be of some help. Help to move on from the dark and gloomy times that have surrounded his life.
To my son, my 'little boy', my young man, Tristan; "You're going to be okay. Your dad loves you and the power of positive thinking will find a way."


  1. It's tough out there just now - a situation not made any easier by the 'jobsworth' attitude of some officials.

    However, your son will be fine. He's much luckier than some - he has good friends and a lovely dad.

    Hoping things look up for him soon on the job front.

  2. Hi Suzanne,
    Thank you for your supportive comment.
    I know, like you mention, that my son will be fine. With the encouragement of his mates, his mother, my friends, and my ongoing positivity towards him; I am convinced that this rather trying time in his life will soon pass.
    I believe that what can be perceived as a negative situation will end up with a positive outcome.
    Still, the judgemental attitude of certain officials, does nothing constructive to help the plight of those who have had a radical change to their quality of life. Often, through no fault of their own.
    Thanks Suzanne and keep going with that great blog of yours.
    Kind wishes, Gary

  3. Hello Gary,
    Hard to believe a year has gone by. Seems like yesterday, I was reading your blog on Tristan, leaving the teenage years behind!

    You've every right to be proud of him. In a short conversation, we had, he was very pleasant, and bubbly sounding. Give him my best.

    I will meditate for his employment, focusing on the desires of his career choices. Indeed even your friends step up to cheer you on, while you cheer him!

    Blessings to you both,
    Dixie :)

  4. Hi Dixie,
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment.
    It is indeed the ongoing support of kind people like you, and my other friends, that have helped me to try and help Tristan. It really means so much to me.
    Your blessings are very much appreciated, Dixie. I shall pass on your good wishes.
    I look forward to further inspirational blogs from you. You are a remarkable lady. Big respect to you, Gary x

  5. A heart warming account. There is little I can add but to say thank you for posting that.

    There is always something to hold onto when things look bleak.

    And he must be an OK guy if he has friends like that.

  6. Your son is very lucky, he has a wonderful dad. Peace to both of you.

  7. Wow what a wonderful powerful post. I can picture his mates, the dog and yourselves painting the room.

    How did you know it was my birthday?

    Yes life is tough and I heartily agree the job centre should not have treated him in that manner.

    Has he considered writing a letter to the manager to explain the circumstances of why he was late or just decided to leave it be?

    The benefit system doesn't appear to have a human face at all some days.

    Best wishes to Tristan, yourself and his dog.

  8. Hi John,
    And thank you for your very nice comment.
    I have always maintained that even the dark times; if we only see the dark instead of the glowing light, then the dark becomes darker.
    My son is indeed blessed with having some decent mates.
    Thank you, John. Kind wishes, Gary

  9. Greetings Jun,
    Thanks for that. That is very nice of you.
    I hope all is well with you. Peaceful wishes back to you, my friend.
    With respect, Gary.

  10. Hi Fee,
    Thank you so much for a wonderful comment.
    It has been a very inspiring time seeing my son's friends be there for him. It warms my heart and keeps me staying positive to think that there is still hope for this world.
    You now know how I knew it was your birthday:-)
    Just wanted to say that you do a very inspirational blog. You have my utmost respect.
    In kindness, Gary

  11. Dear Gary,
    Just to echo earlier comments, it is a bloody bleak time at the moment economically, and this isn't helped by some people's horrible attitudes.
    But, having mates and a great Dad must be of some comfort during this difficult time.
    Thanks for such a heart-warming post.
    With Very Best Wishes,

  12. Dear David,
    Thank you, my good friend, for your thoughtful comment.
    What government departments and for that matter, all establishments need to realise; is that when someone is going through traumatic times, the last thing they need is to be treated in a dismissive, disrespectful way. Hardly conducive to a positive environment which is so vital to our mental health well being.
    Still. at least, my son and hopefully many others, are getting the support they so dearly need.
    Thank you, David.
    With respect, Gary.

  13. Hi Gary, when I read your last post it made me very sad and very angry. I wanted to go into that job centre and shout at those uncaring people!
    Hugs and love...Carole x

  14. Hi Carole,
    Thank you for your supportive comment.
    I can understand that the staff in places like the Job Centre may, at times, have had to contend with unreasonable behaviour by the Public. However, this does not excuse the way my son was treated in such a totally dismissive manner.
    There lack of understanding is beyond my comprehension.
    Thanks Carole. Hugs to you, Gary x

  15. You are a fantastic father figure and role model to your son Tristran and I hope things start looking up for him soon. Keep on doing what you're doing Gary, I'm sure that things will start looking up. Simon

  16. Dear Simon,
    Thank you for such a nice comment. As you have witnessed, I have tried to be a good dad. I have every faith that my son's ongoing journey will be positive, inspirational and fulfilling.
    It was very nice to have you drop by. I hope that the positive environment that I had tried to create within my home; has helped you. You are going to be okay, Simon.
    With empathy, Gary.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.