Earlier today tractorman started a new post shortly after lunch. All that was said was, “I’m done.” What followed was post after post of playful banter and words of support for whatever might be going on with tractorman.
Well, his post got me thinking. You see, I’m a social worker by birth (and by training). I come by it naturally as my dad passed along some of his fantastically intuitive and reality based genes (I’m no bleeding heart for sure). I spend my days working with kids and adults who are truly struggling with life’s challenges….big and small.
Here in Maine, a couple years back, we had a real tragedy, where an estranged dad shot and killed his two children and his ex-wife in the early morning hours of a regular old school day. It was bad enough that it happened so close to home but when I started doing some digging and realized that (through my FB account) a friend of a friend of a friend was friends with the family it made me stop and take notice of how open our lives are to the public yet how out of touch we can be.
Through the friend of a friend of a friend on FB I found that between the dad and the mom they probably had upwards of 200 friends on their FB accounts….and all the signs were there after the fact…..but the tragedy still happened. My response to this revelation was to go home and purge my FB account of anyone that I did not have daily (REAL) communication with for fear that I might be perpetuating the same theme I witnessed in the above situation; everyone was connected but NO ONE picked up on the signs. I vowed then and there to do everything in my power to stay in touch with my FB (and non FB) friends enough to where I’d have a fighting chance of picking up on the signs and doing something to help a friend in need….even if the signs were subtle.
Now I’m sure there is more to the story as to why tractorman started new post. And I’m sure there’ll be many eye rolls when people read this post BUT I couldn’t sit idle on this one.
More often than not people whole heartedly believe that to talk about something will only encourage the behavior (i.e. suicide, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, etc.). True, sometimes planting the seed when there is no legitimate context can lead someone to be curious and start down a path they might not have gone down but in general talking about something that’s important or painful DISCOURAGES the unwanted behavior.
So, what’s my point?
Do we have a moral obligation or a simple responsibility to each other, even if we’ve never met each other, to check in, reach out or inquire about each other when we notice something’s amiss, out of character or for no good reason at all?
I look forward to your thoughts.