My daughter Catherine: Why don’t you write about something important? Like the homeless people?
Grandfather Alan: I don’t know any homeless people.
Catherine: There’s a lot. They are everywhere. You just can’t see them.
Alan: Who are these people?
Catherine: All sorts. Either their families don’t want them or they don’t want their family.
Alan: I still can’t see how I can write about the homeless. I am not homeless. I don’t know any homeless. I don’t own any vacant property. I don’t know why “they” are not providing accommodation for “them.”
When my grandkids grow up I want them to live in a compassionate society. A society which includes everybody. Irrespective of sexuality, race, ability, age, opportunities or health. A society which looks after the people falling through the cracks. A society which houses the ones who can’t house themselves.
Well my grandkids are being sensitive and caring this morning. My grandkids are dancing around the loungeroom. They are playing together. They are laughing and chirping to each other. They are kicking their legs in time to music. They are seeing who can kick the highest. They are proud the music is a new song I have never heard of.
They then eat a healthy breakfast. They eat everything except the sultanas. They are wearing clean, neat school uniforms. When they grow up I want them to live in a society where everybody is fit and healthy. Physically, socially and emotionally. Today they will go to an aftercare activity. An activity where they learn how to get on with others. A physical activity where they learn how to be physically fit and healthy.
Bruce is the first one to eat his breakfast. He looks around and says: “Hands up if you’ve finished your breakfast?”
When they grow up I also want them to live in a society which has the knowledge, skills and procedures for housing the unhoused.
They can learn some management or political skills at school or home or pick them up osmotically. They have an aunt on council so maybe they will learn something from her. Not specific lessons but waiting in her office and eaves dropping on her meetings will help or listening to their aunt say, “I am not allowed to talk about that.”
I want my grandkids to live in a society which helps the ones falling through the cracks. But I don’t want them to fall. I want them to flourish.
I want them to get productive, constructive, enjoyable jobs. Jobs that follow from good reading, writing skills, good interpersonal skills, good social skills and from being mentally fit and healthy.
Today I can help them achieve all that. I talk about what is happening at school. About what is coming up. And this afternoon I will ask them about what they did at school. I will then get out some pencils, crayons and scrape paper. I love their drawings. I prove it by sticking their pictures on the fridge.
I want my grandkids to live in a society where everybody communicates well with everybody else. Where the technology helps people communicate with real live people. The people they can see, smell, and touch or hear.
Dr Goggle is hindering communication. Dr Goggle has arrived and communities communicate less. Before Dr Google came it was more common for people to offer a spare bed for a few nights to temporary homeless families, friends or workmates. Virtually everybody I know spent some time sleeping in a strange bed or waiting in the corridor outside the bathroom for the passing visitors to finish their business. Those days have gone.
Perhaps if I speak to them. Make rules about when they can or can’t go on-line. Prod them to connect with the people around them. As my mind wanders they become over active and I immediately break my own rule and give them the little plastic I-pod babysitter. It keeps them quiet and occupied.
As the kids go off to school I realise I haven’t written about the housing crisis. Not the current one. As for the one in twenty years. I don’t know. All I know is my grandkids love grapes and hate sultanas.