A true story about depression written by Alister Fuller.
“How do you turn a Ronny into a Robb?”
When I was growing up, I heard a lot about "Mental cases" or "Mad man" or in the town where I grew up we called these people "gone case" or "two screws loose" or "he’s cuckoo" and many more terms than I can remember. I never once heard the term "Mental Illness". I suppose back then it was not considered an illness. Movies like "one flew over the cuckoo’s nest" which was released around that time and the latest NetFlix series 'Ratched" did not help us understand this illness either. In fact because of the graphic nature of the treatment administered to those patients in these movies, brought home to us that there was no cure. Only experiments. In my hometown in India these people were not treated. There was no treatment. Only imprisonment in a "mad house" (’kilpauk' as we called it then) for the violent cases and "too far gone cases" and the others were left to roam the streets with no where to go. We had two such people in my little town where I grew up. Extremely sad to see. Abandoned by their families. No food to eat. Sleeping anywhere and everywhere. Ridiculed by teenagers and some adults too.
That was my first taste of this terrible illness and the memories are vivid. Drug addiction was rampant at that time. I thought it was because of the 70’s "drugs, sex and Rock 'n' Roll". That was a phenomenon happening in the USA which somehow got to India too I thought. No it was not the DSnRnR. We also never heard the term "Depression". The only time we heard the word "depression" was when it was happening over the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season. In hindsight looking back at the people who were drug addicts in my town I know at least two guys. One who was my neighbour and he happened to be the smartest guy in my town. He was academically super smart. But he was a drug addict. Is that just a case of ‘bad choices’ or was that a sign of depression. Now we know better that it was a sign of depression that no one understood. Ironically there was a doctor (psychologist) in our town who’s son (super smart) was studying medicine, took his own life. Even his professional father did not see the signs. Is that a coincidence - two super smart young teenagers one with an addiction and the other deciding to call it quits! I don’t think so. It was certainly "depression" now known to be a mental illness. As expected in India there is no treatment. My then neighbour friend I last heard is in his early 60s and still addicted.
Why did I call this title ‘Ronny’ you might ask? Well that is a long story. I do hope you read it till the end. Here it goes. I studied at a boarding school along with around 300 boarders and 2000 day scholars. When I was in higher secondary, I knew a guy called Ronny. Why did I know Ronny? Because, he used to play the bass guitar. I used to play the bass guitar too. However, there was a priest who used to favour Ronny and give him more opportunity to play the bass guitar, although I was older than Ronny and I also believed that I was better than him. So I was a bit jealous of Ronny. We were all teenagers and some were more naughtier than others and Ronny hung out with the wrong crowd who were doing the wrong things. We were the good boys. We noticed it but said nothing. Of course "depression" only took place just behind the school fence over the Indian Ocean during monsoon. I don’t think the Salesian priests, brothers or even teachers knew what depression was. So what you don’t know, you just don’t know. So looking for signs did not exist. Drug addiction in my mind is more of an escape and distraction to the underlying issue which is mental illness. Now we know that. That is a sign. Totally overlooked in Ronny’s case. We good boys called it "bad choices" just like some in society calls it even today. I was told by Ronny that he got kicked out of school because of bad behaviour (he probably got caught smoking dope in the school toilet). Again the so called guardians or custodians took the easiest path albeit the most destructive path for a troubled teenager in the last few months of school life. I call this trauma, or in layman’s terms, adding fuel to fire. Some teachers or guardians never question their decision to punishment of a child. How can such a decision be beneficial to a child. It is clearly a lack of education for the so called educated and educators. I would question this response further. How can punishment of a child have any positive influence on a child. My understanding of such a decision is "get rid of one bad apple just to save the good apples from getting bad". This apple did not matter. Total disregard for a child who is suffering from mental illness. His life did not matter. Sounds familiar in your surroundings today! I’m not surprised. Depression is considered a disability because “it affects your ability to live an ordinary life” in society. Thank God for the International Human Rights Treaty of the UN that set-up the UNCRPD which stands for United Nations Conventions on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Things are changing for the better, for teenagers like Ronny.
I passed out of school a year earlier than Ronny. I got on with my life and I never saw or heard about Ronny until 35yrs later. I live in Australia, and in my travels as a truck driver I saw a guy that reminded me of my best friend in year 8. Thanks to Google I tracked him down in my home city of Chennai. I called him and when he mentioned my name a guy standing next to him asked for the phone to talk to me. It was good old Ronny. I immediately knew who it was because of the rivalry we had in school. I got his mobile number and decided to keep in touch with him.
At this time I was going through a rough patch in my family. I just needed someone to talk too and Ronny was my man. In our conversations, I learned that apart from having something in common which was our love for music and bass guitar, we also shared the same birthday except that I was one year older than him. I asked him questions about the last 35 years since we left school. His story was most disturbing to say the least. I won’t make Ronny’s story too long because I need to address my thoughts on depression.
So Ronny got kicked out of the boarding towards the end of the last year of schooling. He became a day scholar which means he had to stay somewhere. Now Ronny was from the north of India which was 1700kms away. He could not tell his parents he would be in big trouble. He still wanted to attend school so he roamed the streets for a few days then got the courage to ask a good friend if he could stay with him. So he completed his exams while staying with this school mate. The dope habit did not stop. He went back home, met a girl who was smoking dope herself (is that a coincidence?) got married, she got pregnant, few months later she left him and went back to her parents house. The depression and dope habit continued. He continued to find his life by himself with zero help from his family or friends. There was no fixing his addiction or as we know it now 'depression’. That lifestyle is considered bad choices. He knew he was super smart and that he could handle his depression by himself. His son was born and he had no part in it. That affected him even more. So he decided to travel far and wide, away from reality in search of peace. Few years later He ended up in Nepal where he worked as a wild life tour guide. Taking tourists on safari’s in a wildlife reserve. A job that he loved. He was a woman’s man. He had a way with women. He had quite a few. He was intelligent, funny, charming and because of his habit, care free. Few years later he met a French tourist who fell in love with him. Recently after Ronny’s death in May, 2020, I got in touch with her (his second ex wife) and I asked her 2 questions. 1. How did you both fall in Love and 2. Why did you leave him when you fell pregnant. Her first answer was that he was charming, funny, caring and care free. They got married in a Hindu temple although Ronny was a catholic. That is how care free he was. Her second answer was that after she fell pregnant, at times he became too aggressive and unpredictable. She did not want to take a chance and she returned to France. Basically left him just like the first wife. So Ronny had no part in his second child as well.
Now you can imagine how can anyone live with themselves with such trauma. Ronny did. Still no one saw the signs and got medical treatment for poor Ronny. After that job ended Ronny returned to Calcutta and struggled to get by. The sudden death of his mother who was his lifeline and the only person in the world who ever loved him was the catalyst for sending him deeper in depression and addiction. Ronny ended up homeless. He roamed the streets of India for 10 years. Ironically he claimed that, that was the best part of his life. His only bad situation he recalled was being locked up in a jail for 3 days in New Delhi for no particular reason, for just being, dirty, homeless and a nuisance. That happens in India. His dope habit did not end. He always found someone who was willing to share a joint with him. He used to pick up used cigarette butts and smoke them. He used to rummage for food and lived off the generosity of train travellers. His favourite pass time was writing poetry on anything he could find and sticking it to a tree and moving on. He used to write on the walls of trains and stations. He had all the time in the world. If I had seen Ronny then I would have said that he has gone mad. I would have used all those connotations mentioned in the first paragraph. While roaming the length and breadth of India, behind the scenes his distraught father was constantly searching for him. He finally caught up with Ronny in the south of India and as we locals sometimes say " He caught him and put him in Kilpauk". Which if you don’t know is a mad hospital or the modern term is "rehab". His father finally decided to get him treated. Something which the school should have done in the very first place. Ronny stayed there for six months and showed signs of improvement. Got released and he stayed with his father until his death few months later. I can’t remember the specifics. Ronny had a loving younger sister and younger brother who took care of Ronny’s sustenance. He was damaged, he had a sleep disorder for which he needed regular medication. His addiction was cured, so he claimed. I found it hard to believe. I believed him. He told me his only bad habit was smoking cigarettes. He lived alone in a rented apartment. His upkeep was taken care off by his younger brother. He had a good sense of humour. He made me laugh. I spoke to him for hours almost everyday. Sometimes his conversation would seem weird. He would say things like "Nicole Kidman liked his comment on twitter". Or he would say "he wants to live in the mountains as a recluse.” I used to encourage him to do so. I soon realised that when he goes off, he was high. Towards the end of his life, his habit came back again. There were a group of boys who would turn up and smoke dope at Ronny’s apartment.
I used to support him financially when he asked for help. He used to complain about his food. So I got my cousin to cook him lunch and deliver it everyday. That arrangement ended not long after because my cousins wife was embarrassed on many occasions because Ronny would be smoking dope with his friends and his room was filthy. She felt uneasy. They planned to clean his room which never eventuated. Then he wanted to cook his own food. I got my cousin to buy him all the basic stuff. That lasted a day. He simply could not function. I bought him a flat screen TV many years ago which was his only pass time. He loved the news channels and I used to get the latest news from him. He was a loner except for his dope friends and an elderly gentleman shop keeper down the road where he used to spend most of time, reading the news paper. A few months before his death in May 2020 he complained of stomach pain. His sister was taking him to a local doctor. He could not give me an explanation of what was really wrong with him. On a Monday in May I had my usual chat with him and he complained that he felt ill but did not want to go to the doctor. I encouraged him to do so. On the Tuesday I got a text message on the sad news of his demise. My world shattered. I planned to meet him on my next visit to India. I planned to bring him on a holiday to Australia. He even arranged to get his passport a couple of years earlier. He wanted to visit his son in France who he resumed a relationship with. He visited his elder son and his family in Bangalore. He was a grandfather with no emotional attachment. He lost all emotion. That is a sign of depression. His French ex-wife visited him with her son a few years earlier to show him his biological father. His features was exactly as the young Ronny except he spoke French. He continued an on and off FB relationship with him. I arranged for Ronny to speak to his ex a few times on a conference call. There was nothing there. He had all these big dreams that I knew was just his way of being in touch with reality. We spoke for hours. He always said that I was his only friend. I always told him that if I was in his situation I would have done the same. Who are we to judge? I assured him that I would take care of his needs should something happen to his brother who was supporting him. It breaks my heart, even right now writing this to think that Ronny is no more. I really do miss him.
What really got me thinking was his brother’s eulogy of Ronny. His brother who is an IT professional claimed that Ronny was a super smart, loving, decent person and that he is what he is today because of his elder brother. Its the super smart bit that got me thinking. His school mate friend also claimed that Ronny was a super smart kid in school. It brought back memories of the super smart people that I knew in my hometown and their challenges with addiction.
This was the message posted by his brother. "My Brother Ronny born xx/xx/1963 Left us today xx/05/2020. Ronny was a good human being. Too good for a tough world. He was too soft. We love Ronny very much and Ronny loves us. Ronny We will miss you, your sense of humor was great. Your talent for music was awesome. You gave me my first love for Jazz and taught me many things my elder brother, more than you will ever know"
His reply to my post "Alister Fuller a part of me has left this world today, we grew up together he was my best friend for life and Thank you Alister for being such a good friend to him"
Some more messages after his passing. I am copying and pasting this for a reason. Please take time to read these posts from near and dear ones after Ronny’s death. After reading these posts, do you feel Ronny was just a bad apple and did not matter?? Do you feel he deserved to be put on the scrap heap instead of being treated for depression?? Do you feel he could have contributed to society?? Do you feel its worth treating depression in all its ugly forms?? Will you stop and question this illness when you see the signs of a close relative or friend who is crying out for help?? Will you as a teacher discard of the bad apple or administer punishment for bad behaviour instead of asking the question "WHY" is this kid acting and behaving the way he does?? Would you as a teacher, parent or guardian of a child under 18 punish a child for bad behaviour instead of being a source of encouragement and understanding?? Would you as a teacher take an active interest in this bad apple and seek professional and medical help?? I have 1000s of questions why people like Ronny and a couple of people I grew up with was not given a chance as a child. I purposely put two question marks behind each question. It’s not a typo. Parents, teachers and guardians should take their jobs seriously and do the right thing with every single child under their care. I did not mention any names out of respect for the people in Ronny’s life.
Some more posts after his death. Post from his elder son. "Dad, there is so much I would love to say about you because there is so much I learned about you with the time we had together, but I will only say this about you. You always helped others even if that meant giving what ever you had and not giving a second thought and you loved whole heartedly. I will try to walk in your foot steps but I know I will fail because I am not half the man you where. Thank you for being by my side when I needed you.
I miss you and love you Dad. Rest in peace.”
Post from his loving sister. Will always miss you Ronny and your laugh and crazy jokes. Will miss your calls. Will miss you forever. Love you always ❤️ Rest in peace my darling brother."
Post from his neice. "MY FAMILY AND I LOST A BEAUTIFUL SOUL TODAY, MY UNCLE Ronny. I LEARNT HOW TO PLAY CHESS FROM HIM, WE USED TO PLAY IT EVERYTIME WHEN HE CAME HOME . HE ALWAYS TOLD ME " YOU WILL SHINE ONE DAY AND YOU WILL BE BETTER THAN LADY GAGA". HE WOULD CALL US EVERYDAY TO TALK TO US AND MAKE SURE WE’RE OKAY AND WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT HE WOULD MAKE UP STORIES AND PRETEND LIKE IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED... HONESTLY, I WISH THE NEWS ABOUT HIM PASSING AWAY IS A MADE UP STORY. BECAUSE NONE OF US ARE READY TO LET GO OF HIM YET. WE ALL LOVE YOU RONNY. MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PEACE WITH PAPA AND NANA❤️"
Post from a relative. "Hi guys, this song is a tribute to Uncle Ronny, who passed away this week. I met him only once but within those few hours he had me crying with laughter. It was that evening he told me that according to him Lady Gaga had to be the best ever pop-star. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to sing this song. It’s my reflection of who he was as a person. Full of life and laughter. I’ll always remember your stories and that big smile you had. RIP Uncle. You will be missed."
Post from a friend. "Ronny. ❤️ You always Matched my level of crazy. Told me all the good stuff. You were the most affectionate person & the best to talk to. I miss you. You were always there to hype me up and we’d both laugh our gutts out. You will be missed Ron. Rest in Peace."
Post from a friend. "Sorry to hear about the passing of Ronny. We have met many times and he was a really kind & soft spoken person. Very entertaining as well. Surely will be missed."
Post from the school friend that Ronny stayed with. "Felt very sad when I got the news. Ronny and me were very close during school days and soon after. He stayed at my place for quite some time. (This was after he got kicked out of school. Thank God for good friends) Even I stayed a few times at his place in North India. We shared some great moments together. Rest in peace my brother."
A post from me on my dear friend Ronny at the time of his death.
"Tku (to his brother) for taking good care of him for all these years. You are the lucky brother that he had. The sacrifice that you made to take care of him is simply astounding. I commend you for that. He has impacted my life in many ways. We had so much in common. Including our birthdays. He was the one who taught me all I know about depression. He was dealt a raw deal in life. So much potential. The passing of his mother affected him very deeply. We had so many chats about our personal lives. I don’t think anyone knows him better than me and vice versa. He had the most intriguing life story, yet he had the optimism more than anyone I know. He used to be my news man because he watches the news 24/7. He used to tell me what is happening in Australia even before I knew it. He is one friend that I am seriously going to miss. My only hope was to meet him and that has been taken away from me. I had a good chat with his son ........ in France and he told me he felt very sorry about his father and that he had a very hard life. I could go on and on about Ronny my dear friend. I hope you RIP my dear friend."
There were many more posts and condolences. Far too many to mention. Now let’s address this terrible sickness 'depression’. Do you feel that it was worth treating Ronny and the others that I knew? Do you feel that these smart people could become normal and contribute to society? The answer is yes.
There are too many examples out there of smart people who suffered depression yet have contributed so much to society. Such as actors, musicians, artists and basically people in all walks of life including a politician from Australia. One time Finance minister Andrew Robb’s book "Black dog daze" details his battle with depression. I heard his interview on a radio talk show and the line that caught my attention was that he took medication in his late teens and early 20s and he got lucky. He also said that depression is a complex sickness that some medications work and some might have an adverse effect. He just got lucky and the rest is history. He contributed so much to Australian politics. The trend here is "smart people" or "high IQ people".
I met a Russian 18yo who asked for my help on his first day being homeless because his father stopped paying for his accommodation in an hostel. I put him up at a nearby hostel and spent a few hours with him looking for ways to help him. He was a super smart kid, academically. He showed me his high school results. He got distinctions in 4 out of 5 subjects. He showed signs of depression. I got in touch with his father to help him to understand this sickness instead he packed him back to Russia. I lost contact with him. What life do you feel he is going to have back there? Same as Ronny for sure. Very sad. He wanted to become an astronaut. Another lost opportunity.
This sickness shows its ugly head very early on in life. There are signs. Especially in troubled teenagers. I am no expert. I am older now and I understand more about this sickness. Thanks to my dear friend Ronny. I believe one of the first things as teachers, parents and guardians we could do is to pay close attention to punishment. If you feel like you need to administer punishment to a child, stop yourself and ask the question "what is the underlying reason for bad behaviour". If you really care and want to help, then punishment is not the option. Seek understanding, compassion, empathy, medical and professional help to deal with bad behaviour and addiction. You might just discover and treat the next finance minister Andrew Robb or even a Russian Astronaut or famous actor or musician very early on in life where there is still a chance. Its not bad choices, it’s a cry for help and addiction of any kind is just a distraction and escape from reality. Punishment of a child is child abuse. Children will do children stuff. Teachers, Parents and guardians expect children to do adult stuff. That is not possible. I use this analogy that Dr. Wayne Dyer used in one of his books. If you cut your finger and jump into a shark infested water the sharks will eat you. You might ask the question "why". You could be a decent man, a good woman or a priest and yet the sharks will eat you. That is what sharks are supposed to do. Its the same with children. They will be children. Their brain is developing. They take more risk. They might engage in bad behaviour. We all did it as kids. That is what kids are supposed to do. Expecting them to act like adults is absurd. That is one reason why they have juvenile courts and prisons. Because they are juvenile under 18yo. So they are treated like kids because they are. There are better ways to correct bad behaviour. Punishment is the least effective and most damaging way. You can damage a child for life and there is no cure. I recently addressed the issue of punishment in a couple of social media discussions which I will post at the end of this story. My simple request. If you are in a position of power, influence and control over a child such as "Ronny" take an active interest in the so called naughty and bad behaviour boys and girls. Stop punishment in any of its ugly forms. Seek help in dealing with children, and seek help for those children under your care. You might just have turned a "Ronny" into a "Robb".
Here are some of my posts on social media on punishment and child abuse.
1. This is a post addressed to elderly parents of a friend on the topic of child abuse.
I have written this from my heart to yours and Aunties. Please keep the bible next to you because I quoted many passages to refer to. (They are very religious). Uncle just an observation about conscience. You said your conscience is clear. Conscience is the guiding source that tells us if and when we are right or wrong. If we are wrong our conscience makes us feel guilt, if we are right our conscience makes us feel peace or peaceful. Your conscience exists only in your mind. My conscience exists only in my mind.
Adolf Hitler, to do what he did had to believe that he was right. To convince millions of people to follow his ideology he had to have had a "clear conscience." According to him, his conscience was clear. History proved that he was totally wrong.
Similar case today is Donald Trump. His conscience is clear. He has to believe that he is right although according to many of us he comes across as an idiot. Yet 70 million people voted for him. Including millions of intellectuals. History will prove him wrong. You and I know that.
My point. Just because your conscience is clear does not make you RIGHT. You could be right in 1000s of ways and that is true based on the number of people that respect you and Aunty. And you are totally wrong regarding your ideology on CHILD ABUSE. Why do you think the government cracks down on child abuse. You think they are all stupid?? Why do you think parents who abuse their children, the children are taken away from them?? You think those authorities are stupid?? Someone who made that rule, they made that rule by mistake?? I believe 9 out of 10 problems that society faces stems from child abuse. Just because you and my father abused their children does not make it right. You could be totally wrong. Yes your conscience is clear but you could be totally wrong. The law says you and my dad and me (for abusing my children. By abuse I am only referring to physical and emotional abuse I call it punishment) are totally wrong. They did not come up with that by chance. 1000s of hours of research, interviews with prisoners, murderers, rapists, priests who abuse children, were abused themselves, I could go on and on. Intellectuals have spent years to come up with those laws. That is the fact. Either you put your head under the sand or hide behind your conscience or like Aunty keep on talking with conviction about all the good things, all the bible stuff, all the 1000s of people who respect you both etc while the EGO (Edging God Out) is on full display, you simply need to accept that you were completely and utterly wrong. I accepted that long ago and I deeply regret my mistake or in my case and probably even yours REPEATING HISTORY. History does not repeat itself. Always We humans repeat history. Once this is accepted in your conscience then amazing things happen. For me. I take every opportunity to share my thoughts on child abuse in all its ugly forms with young families that I come across. If by my acceptance I am able to change the ideology of just one person or one family I would have avoided the making of another ....???.... (his son). You both know how much of heartache it gives you. His life would have been so much different if only there was LOVE not education and material things that you both worked so hard to give your children. Don’t be mistaken, even the sparrows do as much to their offspring. It is your responsibility to provide for your children. You both brought them into this world. And your children OWE YOU NOTHING in return. It is a one way street, unconditional LOVE from a parent to a child until death.
You want to know how to correct this while you both still have a chance. Here are a few points.
1. Acknowledge and accept that you both got it wrong where child abuse is concerned. You must tell yourself that "I was totally wrong". It’s ok to be wrong and it’s not your fault. It’s what you have been through when you were a child. You never knew any better. There are no rule books on how to bring up a child.. Acceptance is the first step in healing.
2. Once you both have accepted then the healing starts. Read
Matthew 18:12–14 and Luke 15:3–7. Its there.
3. Put EGO behind you, EGO is the devil working in both of you. Become God like. Only give LOVE irrespective of what is given in return. 1John 4:18, Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27-36.
4. ...???.. is damaged and there is nothing you can do for him except to shower him with LOVE and affection something that he has never had all his life. Now you can convince yourself otherwise. That is the EGO working in you. The fact remains that ...???.... is damaged. He has every right to react the way he does to you both. That is the fact. Put yourself in his shoes. From childhood he has never experienced LOVE. I was fortunate I had and still have the unconditional love of my mother for which I am grateful. That has to be a miserable life for anyone. He is the kind of person he is only because of you both. Practice Matthew 28:12-14 while you have a chance.
7. Read these chapters too.
8 John 4:18
1 John 2 - 9:10
1 Corinthians 13:13
I wish you all the very best. I respect you both deeply so please call me at anytime.
2. This is a post on a discussion about punishment as a child in my hometown when we were young.
Reading some of these posts I know for a fact that some are hurting more than others and I can feel the pain. That is why in my previous post I called this a taboo topic that needs to be addressed.
I’m not sure if times have changed or we have got any wiser because we are much older now. I hope its the change. Too many of us have been through child abuse. It affects us all differently, some much worse than others. I know people who have never recovered from that experience and the strange part is the older we get the more we talk about it like the person who started this discussion. It’s like therapy. The damage has been done. Now it’s therapy time. That is why I am strongly advocating for all types of child abuse to stop. Some children never ever recover. There is no such thing as "move on" or "get over it.” So when dealing with a child especially between the ages of 3-5yo and I would go much further and say from 0-18yo, watch very carefully what negative verbal tags we give our children and equally bad, physical abuse. History does not repeat itself, people repeat history. In my bus driving experience I had seen first hand how children are affected by the abuse they have had from the very people who brought them into this world for no fault of theirs. You feel helpless. Mental illness in the youth of today is a big problem that society has to face. It affects everyone, including the hard working bus driver who has to deal with, bad behaviour of the youth. All stems from child abuse. And to think I was a contributor to this makes me feel like a failure. I could have done better but like I said before. History does not repeat itself. People repeat History. If this discussion can help the few of us to promote and break this cycle even to just one child then I know I have made a difference. Just last week I came across a teenager in the park, same issue. Intelligent, smart, respectful, but hurting. I spent over an hour with him, listening to his pain and sharing my ideas on how he could begin to love himself again. I could go on and on, on this topic. Stop child abuse in all its ugly forms. They are just children for heavens sake. Our future depends on them because they are the future. I remember I had 4 working ladies 9-5 jobs get into my crowded bus of mostly school children so they had to stand next to me the driver. One of them commented "I hate these school kids, why cannot they start earlier or go early to school and give us working people a chance to get to work" I heard it clearly. I told her. "Excuse me how is it that when I look at school kids I see $$$ signs and you see kids as a problem" she gave me a strange look and she said "what do you mean". I said "you heard me." And continued "In another 10 to 15yrs just when I am retiring and most likely need a knee replacement or even an open heart surgery these very same kids will be in the prime of their working life and financing my medical bills and my retirement pension with the taxes they pay. So when I see kids going to school I am optimistic, because I see $$$ signs and my future is bright and secured." She told me that she never looked at it in that way. I thought I had to make my point loud and clear so I said "we have to protect, nurture and encourage the youth of today because if we have no kids there is no future." "Just look at some European countries. The governments are scratching their heads on how to encourage couples to have more children. Some have zero population growth which in 50 to 100yrs there will be no prosperity and most likely No economy and taxes will hit the roof." They said "Thank you for the chat" 2 bus stops later all those kids got off the bus and these 4 ladies had ample place and even seats. I’m certain I changed the opinion and sentiment of these 4 ladies that day. It was a good day for me that is why I can remember this incident clearly. Sorry about this. My posts are like long stories. I am very passionate about this topic and I take every opportunity to give my opinion. Your comments good, bad, ugly are greatly appreciated.
3. My reply to a discussion on FB regarding beating and punishment to children.
This is a taboo topic. I strongly advocate that parents should NEVER EVER beat or for that matter ever punish a child.
Few days ago a friend and young mother sent me a photo of her 2yo son and sent this message "Many congratulations ☺️. (Re my grandson)
Aaawwiii sooooo adorable ❤️.
A...... (her son) is getting naughtier day-by-day. We both are also good sir."
I could not stand by. I had to reply to this message. Here is my strong convictions on this topic. Anyone wants to disagree with this please contact me and I will convince you otherwise.
Here is my reply
"So cute and so big. He was a baby when you came to my home. Ok A....... is a very good boy. A...... is a kid and he will do things that kids do. We adults put tags on them like "naughty boy" or "good boy" based on how we look at life and how we feel at that time or on that day. Being positive will help A..... to grow up into a confident, positive, successful human being. Being negative will have the opposite effect. So the tags we put should always be positive tags at least till the age of 18y. After that he will put his own tags on himself. This is what I used to tell some of my bus Passengers. I learnt this from the mistakes that I made with my children. Dr. Wayne Dyer a psychologist who had 6 children was once asked. How do you bring up a child and he said "catch them when they do something right" which means make a big issue of the good or perceived right things that A....... does and all the wrong things make a small issue of it and tell him "now I will not do what you just did" use the word "I" not "you are" a naughty boy etc. Btw, you only get one chance to bring up a child. I learnt this the hard way. That is why I am sharing with you these ideas. So watch very carefully your words or "tags" you both put on A....... especially between the ages of 3-5y. Because they stay in his mind forever and will shape his future. Good or bad, positive or negative. I hope you don’t mind me sharing these ideas."
This story is dedicated to the troubled life of my dear friend "Ronny". If you notice anything or any form of punishment please stop them and seek help to fix people like Ronny. Do not turn a blind eye. Write stories like mine. Spread the word in homes and schools. I would love to have the opportunity to go into universities and the teachers room at schools and talk to them on this topic. All teachers parents and guardians - STOP PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN. Make it your mission in life is to help turn troubled children, so called bad apples and teenagers like "Ronny" into a "Robb”.
My motivation for writing this story, is to "Effect Change" and understanding about depression in schools. So teachers, parents and guardians please, I urge you to read this story.
Writing this story was an emotional roller-coaster for me. I was talking to Harry MaClure late one night. He is a creative author, movie maker, artist and philanthropist. He triggered this thought in my mind about writing a story about 'Depression". I had been wanting to write this story for a long time but kept putting it off. After this call, I started writing at around 2am. I did not stop until sunrise. It was an emotional experience. After a few weeks of more writing and also getting permission from the family to publish this story, it is finally ready for everyone to read. If you know of any teachers, parents or guardians in your networks, please share this with them. If one person’s life can be saved because of this story, then it would be worth every bit of time, emotion and energy that went into writing it.
I dedicate this story to my dear friend Ronny. After your troubled and most disturbing life, may you RIP. I will work very hard to make sure your suffering was not in Vain.