Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tough Love. Very tough.

Wally's father has decided as of today to cut him off completely. That includes college. The status of the loan I reluctantly applied for is still uncertain, and even if it comes through, it wouldn't be enough to cover all the costs. Though Doug is way down on the list of my favorite people, I do understand why he has arrived at this juncture. Wally seems not to learn from experience, if there's the merest chance of a bailout from anyone. So he will essentially be homeless. When he arrived in Doug's neck of the woods for winter break, Doug and his wife wouldn't even let him stay with them -- they found a friend whose basement was available for Wally to sleep in. If he came south and wanted to stay with Carl and me, I'd have to think very carefully about this. Wally can be an absolute pig; he and Carl seem incapable of being civil to each other, and Wally would surely find a way to put me on the hook for some outrageous expense, most likely under the heading of "automotive." And Carl and I are barely keeping our heads above water as it is.

I have derided Doug in the past for being stingy -- of having more than enough money and not in danger of being poor -- but the issue is something entirely different. It's about the value of an investment. When someone invests money, time, thought and emotion in someone, and that person shows no interest in using it properly, the investor begins to feel that those things have been wasted. Material things, in particular, seem to just fall down a bottomless hole. Cell phones get destroyed inside of 6 months; furniture is confiscated by angry landlords; clothes are "just not right" after 2 wearings, and crippling overdraft fees (paid by one parent or the other) are shrugged off time and again. Wally has truly squandered years of goodwill and care on both Doug's part and mine. Certainly, he resents us both for the divorce and the remarriage, but sooner or later he has to realize that the only person he's hurting by "getting back at us" is himself. Perhaps he thinks it would kill us to see him fail in life and that's why he's doing it. He's going to discover he's wrong. I think that time has come.


Kay Dennison said...

I understand. You can't help someone who doesn't want to help himself and be responsible.

How old is Wally? I think the only college for him to attend is The College of Hard Knocks. It teaches survival skills and if it doesn't, it teaches consequences.

I've known other young people like him and all the help in the world won't help until he decide to accept it and play by the rules.
Tell him that you are cancelling the loan and that until he becomes a responsible human, your help is on hold.

Volly said...

He's 19. Going on 47. And yes, the famed College of Hard Knocks has come up in the conversation numerous times. Funny how enrollment never goes down at that place, and the admission criteria are, shall we say, unique?

I haven't heard from the lad yet today; I imagine the projectiles will be hitting the fan soon enough....