That was the title of a news article in today's paper. I thought, wow, that sounds an awful lot like a group that I was working with several years ago when I was on the "light side" of my fifties. I had recently become widowed and thought I might do myself and some younger folks some good if I signed up for becoming a mentor. The plan was to go through a six week training course with a bunch of like-minded people...men (young and old) women (young and old) and both of all colors and backgrounds.
See we all just wanted to really help some young people by being there and caring when no one else would. So how hard could that be? Harder than you might think, I came to find out.
Anyway, I took the course and finished it; then waited patiently for my mentor assignment.
Then, we were all discovering that what the organization really wanted was black males to mentor for very long list of fatherless black boys. They weren't so much interested in females (old or young) black was okay though. I thought to myself, well, okay. Whatever they think they need they can wait for it; if it doesn't come, I'll be here to provide some mentoring if called upon.
After a while, they called me to mentor a 15 year old Caucasian girl. It seems her mother had severe personal problems and the child was living with her grandparents. The story was she needed someone to talk to and help her stay on the "high road". I thought, this should be duck soup for me. I had a lot of similarities when I was her age and really could relate to her situation. It was never my plan to share my history with her, but knowing that I had a personal history to draw from made it easy for me to willingly accept the challenge.
We met and had lunch. We talked and went for a ride. She shared some of her dreams and current wants (there seems no end to what a 15 year old can dream about!) Anyway, I thought we were making great progress. She was more relaxed each time we met; she shared more and more. She even told me some pretty scary stuff and she swore me to secrecy...of course, that's all part of the gig. It was getting to where some of the stuff had me scratching my head though...
Then about two months into the program, I got a call from the program director. I was not to see the child anymore. No there is no problem, no I did nothing wrong. No, the grandparents think I am a wonderful person. It's just that I was too old. Get it? I was too old!
I guess I WAS too old. I thought we were talking about a living caring human being extending themselves to someone who had NO ONE!!!! That was not the case...she had two someones...and what she was looking for was someone to encourage her belligerent behaviour...someone younger who knows how to live on the wild side and not be responsible for their own behaviour. Someone who perhaps could come with a couple of new ways to live on the edge.
Well, she was right that wasn't me.
As for the news article, I guess they want to stay in their own little world too. It is a shame. I thought love was blind to color and age but apparently not.