I happened upon a Steve Harvey video on YouTube that was more serious than most I’d seen of his. (Yes, watching those have become a sanity-feeding thing. I don’t question it if it works.) I watched it, and the title said it all–“You Can’t Watch This Without Getting Emotional.”
Absolutely right. I got emotional.
And I stood corrected.
Over the years I’ve worked with people from many different socioeconomic statuses. I’ve heard all kinds of opinions expressed and judgments made. To be perfectly honest, I’ve made some myself over the years, and while I try to keep them to myself, I’m still guilty. And I’m sorry for that.
Over the years I’ve heard folks who have enough judge folks who maybe don’t for the choices they make in how they spend their money. Interesting that having enough keeps folks from doing that about you, but when you don’t, suddenly it’s everyone’s business how you spend the little you have.
In this video, the Dad, who had recently finished his prison term and was trying to turn his life around, talked about having a job, and how now he could afford to turn the cable on. Now he and his children could sit together and watch TV so they’d stay inside, instead of wanting to play outside. Outside, where their lives could be at risk.
See, this man and his family live in a rough neighborhood, and they can’t afford to get out.
So they watch TV together. As a family. And they stay inside, trying to be safe.
All these years, I’ve told my children that watching TV is a privilege, and I dole it out sparingly. I’ll send them outside in a heartbeat. “Y’all put that down and go outside. Now!” I’ve said that more times than I care to count.
After watching this video, I’m humbled. I’m humbled about all the times I’ve wondered about people’s choices and what their priorities are. I HAVE NO IDEA what life is like for folks who live in fear of their children being outside. None at all.
All these years, I thought satellite TV or cable was a huge privilege, since we grew up without it (or a color TV, but that’s another story). Turns out, that for far too many families in our very own country, in our very own communities, the thing I grew up taking for granted, the thing my children get to do almost any time they want, is a HUGE privilege. Something almost unattainable.
So cable becomes a necessity of sorts.
Oh my stars, how have we let our world get to this point?
Tonight my heart is heavy and filled with awe and thanks. There but for the Grace…..go I.
And with that heaviness comes the realization that I can’t sit back and let this be okay.
Our children shouldn’t have to sit inside and be captives in their own homes, in their own neighborhoods.
And make no mistake, these are OUR children. They will grow up to be in community with the ones we are raising in our own homes, and they will need to work together to fix so many messes. Isn’t it up to us to give them a leg up by starting to do what we can now?
I have no answers. But if you do, please share.
Thanks for thinking on this with me. In the meantime, please join me in holding these families and neighborhoods where violence is the norm in your heart and in the Light.
Love to all.
This is the video I watched on YouTube.
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