by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

I must confess that this month’s article has not been an easy task for me. The reasons are numerous: family, work, college, and the USA. Each has played a part in this month’s article because all of it is part of my life. You may say the same thing is going on your side, so here we are trying to put everything in place, and doing so on time and out of time. I know that I may sound a bit philosophical, though I do not have such intention. Since we have touched base, let me start with the subject in matter: The 3rd Party Generation.

You may have heard or read that each generation seems to have a name. Most of the time, a generation’s name is given by the ones observing it. Now it is my turn to name this present generation The 3rd Party. Why the name? Well, the answer is simple, and I bet you that you have already guessed its source or background. I think that there is a saying that says, “If you are not taking care of your business, someone else is taking care of it.”

This Generation is Not In Charge
Of course, you may be thinking that I am generalizing, and you are right. Is it fair? No, it is not, but it is hard to study isolated cases. Therefore, I am aware that there are a good number of young people who are in charge of their lives.

Republicans and Democrats have been debating about what seems to be the problem or problems in the USA’s schools, children killing children and children killing adults. So what and where is the trouble? As I wrote in the first paragraph, I have been busy with the things that are going on in my life. I have been taking care of my business BEFORE someone else does it. This, dear reader, is what our 3rd Party Generation seems to lack: A sense of responsibility. We have heard that we must take responsibility for our acts. We have heard how important is to have integrity. Even more honesty may be confused with integrity, but the truth is that integrity goes beyond honesty.

Honest Integrity
Integrity requires an extra effort to make things right, but honesty is more likely about saying “the truth,” perhaps without taking into consideration how many people we hurt on the way. A person with integrity takes care of people’s feelings and needs. Certainly I am not insinuating about providing food or shelter. I am talking about everyday stuff that one’s living requires like friendship and family. If we depend on our family or on our friends, it is okay or normal. Yet if we become codependent, we are sick. Is the 3rd Party Generation codependent? Yes, it is. The sad part of it is they have become habituated to pay attention to the wrong deals. If they were too habituated to their families, it would not be that bad. Hopefully we are referring to good families.

Generational Attention Deficit Disorder
If I mention The Media, you more likely would agree with me. The girls want to be models, and the boys want to be Mr. Muscles. It is not a wrong thing to be slim or to have enough muscles. The wrong fact is when this becomes all their ultimate goal, whether to be like so and so, or like this or that. This generation like the previous ones have not understood that The Media is selling. What is The Media selling? For the most part, they are selling FANTASY!

Violence is unreal because in our everyday life we are not fighting and bleeding at all times. Even more we are not purely good or purely bad, we are a mixture. At times we do the right thing, and at other times we do the wrong thing. That’s reality! This last part of The Twentieth Century has been focused in showing off how much we can take, a punch here and a punch there. The truth is that good punches in one’s faces make the one’s face aches. Yet the movies show a man or a woman who tolerates pain beyond belief. The worst part of it is that this generation bites the lie.

Where Are the Parents?
Parents of the 3rd Generation are in the same bad shape. Parents, though perhaps no so religious, tend to think that the government, the teachers, the psychologists, the support groups, the once a year camps, the churches, or whatever it may be, will fill in the huge gap that young people have in their homes. Parents rely in someone else’s solutions to their very problems. How is it going be possible that an outsider knows more what is best for me or for one of my children than myself? It is not possible, period! There are issues that require professional help. Nevertheless, is the famous WHATEVER or NOTHING a matter of professional help because parents simply don’t try to a find a way of communicating with their children? Who is in charge the CHILD or the ADULT? We have heard that “there is a way where or when there is a will!” It is so true. If a mother or a father wants to have a good conversation with his or her child, it is possible. The deal is that this has to start before late is TOO LATE.

Breaking Bad Habits
The schools shooters’ parents may have found out that it is too late for any quality conversation BEFORE a tragedy. The bitter and memorable times have already taken place. The children have developed criminal minds, despite their parents’ good intentions. Now these young people are facing hard charges; those are the results that their movies and heroes have not shown in their acting. They believed that they could get away with crime, how far from this world’s reality. Those shooters’ parents have understood, though late, that computers, televisions, or hobbies do not solve the pathetic problems that their children carve in silence and inside. Many questions arise after a horrible moment. Parents ask themselves what went wrong, and the famous WHY? or WHY ME?

They could blame the entire world if they wish, though their children are the ones in jail and for a good time, perhaps permanently. This is sad; I am not proud to write such a harsh judgment, even more it is not my intention to judge those parents. My intention is that all of us should take a close look at these events. They have happened, and they are our examples. We should avoid to get so blue and blind when we notice that our children are slipping away from what they are meant to be, people with integrity.

Gun Control Or Better Homes?
Republicans and Democrats have finally agreed to narrow the right and age to own a gun. They learned the hard way like most of us do with different things in our life. I am 100 % in favor of those laws, but I do know that they do not replace good or better homes. The government must not regulate our lifestyle. Yet as I previously wrote, if we do not take CONTROL, someone else would do so. In this case the government has taken control. The government is about to take control of our free speech in television. You may think that I am contradicting myself since I have written about the “bad” influence that The Media has over us. The truth is that things are not so black or so white as they may seem. All life’s matters have at least two faces. The Media is not all bad, and it is not all good. We may all agree The Media considers more important what makes money. Yet it is important to mention The Media is acting upon what they have believed and studied that we want to watch. If violence is what we want to watch, they will sell us violence. If we want to watch more crime, we will be watching for a long period of time the same types of movies and series, with different names, actors, and actresses, but the same theme, CRIME.

Trouble Brews
We all should stand for good and for real in a PACIFIST RIOT. If you do not like what you watch on TV, write to Hollywood what you think. Do not be such a WHATEVER taker. You and I are paying for this USA to function. It would be ideal if it functions well. The thing that intrigues me and puzzles me the most is the fact that actors, actresses, preachers, teachers, or other professionals have been holding such a huge silence over these school shootings. The famous preacher Jesse Jackson went to Yugoslavia, but for him it seems too far away Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, or Kentucky.

Isn’t that awkward?

Our movie heroes get a lot of money after working in a film, but they seem to be pretty busy when it comes to making a stand about the school’s persistent and problematic attitudes. Before every single movie is watched, it should be said, “DO NOT TRY THIS AT YOUR SCHOOL OR AT HOME!” Of course, it will be given, perhaps, little attention if not an absolute, “Oh yeah, right.” If we think that all what we say, write, or try is going to be an, “Oh yeah, right,” then what is left? Are we hopeless or worried? I am not hopeless, and my desire is that you are full of good hopes for the USA and the world. We must try until we have to depart from this world because we are living here. Why not make of this world a better world rather than a “better” war? This is the pacifist riot that I am promoting. Let us not permit a third person to take control of our duties.

I do believe that there is a good number or rich or famous people doing a lot of good deeds. I do believe that there is a good number of parents and young people doing the best they can in order to accomplish good things while living. Yet I do also experience and see many parents and young people relying too much in someone else’s good intentions. This is not a matter of a tomorrow’s activity; this is a today’s duty, to pay attention to our responsibilities. We have to work toward what’s worthy of our time, money, and energy. For me all those aspects are super important, and I focus my attention to the ones I love. I am sure that this will pay off. I am sure I am not wasting my time when I make good efforts to meet with my family. I know you are reading this article and thinking about your family, always looking for better ways to reach them to the maximum.

A Story Before I Go…
Before I finish this article, I want to tell you a long story which I promise to make it short. I was a teenager when my father’s business was not going so well. I saw my father worried, and I felt for him more than I could possibly say. I felt that he was not worried so much for him, but for his family. I was, and I am part of his family. I will never ever forget what I told him, “Dad, do not worry if we have to drink water and bread for some time, the only thing that matters is to stick together.” My father with much tenderness looked at me, but did not say a word. In silence but with love, we embraced HOPE.

The next thing I did was to pick up the Yellow pages of my native city — Caracas, Venezuela. I started calling and offering my father’s business’ services. I did not tell a thing to my father. My mother found me making some phone calls, and she was pretty touched by my good act. So she told my father, but my father told me, “Oh my child, we are going to get in a big phone bill debt.” I did not take his words wrong. I understood that he was right. I just had to try, at least a bit because it was my family the one is finances trouble. Was I an angel? If you knew me then, you would have said, “Impossible that María is doing such a good act.” Literally, I was a stinker. I was always looking after me, than after whomever’s needs. Yet there are times when we get hit by certain events or situations. It seems that I had feelings after all. Was my good act a coincidence? OH NO, it was my parents good examples and my siblings good disposition that may an impact in my early years. It was not luck’s result.

Day after day I saw my father working, and making time for his family. Day after day I saw my mother teaching me History without bitterness. She did not focus on whether this country did wrong to us, or that we won this or that war against any given country. She focused on the examples that the past could leave in us as human beings. I always hated History, even more since for me it was a bit more complicated than for the rest of the children. My father is a Spaniard, from the country that conquered all Latin America, and my mother from Venezuela, one of Spain’s conquered countries. Yet I sensed and experienced an infinite respect from my parents. They truly became and are one, no matter where they came from. My mother has taken with pride my father’s last name, which has been hers for more than thirty years. There, my dear readers, lies my joy and pride.

I know I am one of the privileged whose parents have stayed together as they promised when they married. Yet I am sure that this is not a one time deal. We all can have good marriages IF before we marry, we take seriously who we take for our spouse. This is what the USA is craving for, good families. The USA is crying out for good deeds every day, and not a one day event. Children and young people want good parents, the kind of parents who will pay attention to their sons and daughters. This generation is starving for attention because we are working too much to have all those things we want. Yet SOME of us are forgetting the most important thing for what we try to achieve all those things, OUR FAMILIES. It is not mandatory that your child or you as a matter of fact have to form part of this 3rd Party Generation!

I will end with these two thoughts: “A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover there is another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats.” (Stephen Crane “The Open Boat”).

“Know thyself, and although we must envy those who have walked on the moon or cruised the ocean’s dream-like depths, the ultimate frontier still lies close to HOME.” (Socrates).

I am super willing or open minded to read your thoughts. Just remember to be kind, in order to reap kindness! Thanks so much for your attention from the very bottom of my heart!