“What we got here is….failure to communicate.” (Strother Martin)

I think the time has come for me to give up on Facebook. It seemed like a good thing originally but the more I use it the less I feel connected to anybody out there in cyberspace. The fact is my life bears no resemblance to the stuff my friends post there. I don’t play games online, I don’t watch YouTube videos and I can’t get very excited about what’s cooking for dinner. My days are 24 hours long with the ever-present possibility that I will have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go get a teenager out of jail and take them to some new destination hours away. A good day is when nobody cries or gets sick or threatens me. The world of foster children is unrelenting and harsh beyond anything I could have imagined.

Tonight was a new low for me. I had two siblings in the car for just a 45 minute ride home. At one point the eight year old girl asked me if I had ever been in jail. When I said, “No”, she said,  “My grandma has and so has my uncle for what he did to me when I was 4.” Then she proceeded to give me a graphic explanation of why he’s in jail and if it were my decision, he would be burning in Hell. All I could think of to say was, “Well, I hope you never have to see him again.” The reality is she may have to see him again because our prison system is overflowing with even worse people and pedophiles do get released back into society. I know this because she said he had molested her on more than one occasion when he wasn’t in jail. Welcome to my world. If you want to stop reading now, I understand. Check back in a few weeks and maybe I will have something funny to say that will make you laugh.

Therein lies my problem with Facebook. Honesty is not welcome there. If I were to post the truth about my life, I would surely be banned forever. No one wants that much information. Superficial comments are all that matter on Facebook. That’s not communication, that’s perpetuating ignorance and ignorance is why we have so many problems, like abused children. I can’t blame Mark Zuckerberg for this failure. The idea is a good one but it doesn’t work without people who are willing to have real conversations about things that matter and may make us uncomfortable. That’s how we grow as humans, we hear about issues that bother us and we become motivated to change them. Let’s be honest, our biggest problem is not what we’re having for dinner. Our biggest problem is how many kids go hungry every day.

There are many times each day when I wish I had never taken this job. My ignorance was bliss. I was even foolish enough to think I had a well-rounded, honest view of the world we live in. I knew there were troubled kids and dysfunctional families but I never let myself imagine the living hell that exists just down the street from all of us. If that realization makes you squirm too much then Facebook is the perfect place for you. I just can’t do it anymore. I know too much to ever go back to seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. That’s my fate but it doesn’t have to be yours. I’m not about to ask anyone to join me in the work I do, I like you all too much to cause you that much grief. On the other hand, your prayers on my behalf and for these kids would be much appreciated. If you’re not much for praying you can always call me and tell me a good joke. I can’t tell you how much I need to laugh and just the possibility of a real live conversation would be pretty amazing. I am still hopeful that some day Facebook will fulfill its promise and become the forum for knowledge that we all desperately need if we are ever going to make this a better place to live, for all of us. To that end, this blog will have to be my contribution to the greater good. I just hope it’s enough.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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6 Responses to “What we got here is….failure to communicate.” (Strother Martin)

  1. Sharon Johnson says:

    As I’ve told you before, the foster children you come In contact with are very fortunate. I became more aware of what children face in the real world when I worked as an elementary school counselor. One of my biggest frustrations was that there was only so much I could do for kids who lived in dysfunctional homes. I like to think that exposure to a caring adult had some long lasting effect on them. As for Facebook, it helps me to keep up with people I don’t see on a regular basis. I’ve even been known to use it to reconnect with old friends

    • grhgraph says:

      I’m not asking anyone to give up Facebook. My situation is extremely unique and it would be unreasonable to expect others to share my point of view. It just makes me feel hypocritical to post stuff that isn’t a true reflection of my life. My reason for writing this post was simply to be honest about my decision to leave. I sincerely hope that Facebook does become something much greater than it is now. The good parts of Facebook still work, just not enough for me.

  2. I really feel your angst and appreciate you using your blog to vent. No, FB is not the place for such realism; the grittiness of life has no place on FB. I have distanced myself from FB for the same reason. As I’ve delved deeper into my own reality and struggle through the many obstacles I face, I find FB too watered down to suit my needs. Even my intellectual struggles are not suited for FB, the engagement I seek/need does not happen there. FB is a place where I reconnect with old friends and it has been great for this purpose but the deeper connections must necessarily exist off FB. This has been disappointing in some regard.

    It seems your blog has given you an area to assert your true self with integrity. I do hope it helps you neutralize some of what you’re experiencing. The work you do (as I’m sure you know) is so important.

  3. Deja says:

    Hey Guy. Well, you don’t know me, but I’ve enjoyed your blog. Your posts are great, & I love reading them. I know what you mean about facebook… & I understand your reasons for leaving. It’s easy to ignore reality, unless you have to live in it. Reality is, there’s a whole nother sad, sad, devastating side to life, most of us never get to see. Once you do, you’re never the same. Just not. You know better. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all sunshine & roses. You know this. Your posts are honest, uplifting, & when called for humorous. I understand if you leave facebook, but please continue with your blog. I don’t know if you have access to this but I’d be pleased to hear from you. I’m good for a smile or a laugh sometimes. 🙂

  4. Different platforms are conductive to different purposes. As some say, FB is more for connecting and reconnecting with friends and acquaintances past and present. The quality of your conversations with your friends will depend on the depth your friends feels comfortable exploring.

    In my experience, LinkedIn is a better place to have deeper conversations about specific topics. It has enough groups for different people that you can find one you feel comfortable with. Blogs are great too. But I find I have deeper discussions about what I write in my blogs in LinkedIn than in the blog itself.

    Yes, the world we as therapists and social workers walk is full of difficulties and sadness. On the other hand, there is hope whenever you can make a difference in a child or family. I find it refreshing to come out of that world some times and just take a look at what my “normal” friends are doing and experiencing. It helps me to remember that not everything in this world is dark and awful.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Dr. Ada

    • grhgraph says:

      Dr. Ada,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It really helps me to know there are lots of people out there who can empathize with my life. Not everything is dark and awful and I need to find ways to express the things that make me happy especially at times like last week. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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