Homeless, Needy & Strangers

I’ve been seeing (in various venues)  encouragement for people to reach beyond their own family to provide for the needs of the less fortunate.  We are encouraged to look beyond our own family circles too care for the homeless,  the unemployed, strangers and for the less fortunate.

That sounds all well and good.  I mean who could come up with a legitimate argument for not helping those in need?

Something occurred to me.  These groups of people who we are encouraged to help (outside of our own families)… aren’t they members of someones family?

I know that there are many varied reasons why people find themselves in need of a helping hand. 

What ever happened to families taking care of families?  When did we become so disgusted with our own “kin-folk” that we would rather leave them to the graces of complete strangers?

Look, my family tree is just as dysfunctional as the next.  But that doesn’t mean that I would allow them to become like the woman in this photo.

I know, I know, some people just refuse to accept help.  I know, sometimes you need to demonstrate “tough love”.  I know sometimes our ‘kin folk” just ask to be ignored.

But what does that say about us?  That we are willing to “show them” how screwed up they are by letting them sleep on the streets or the like?

I’m not talking about the alcoholic or drug abuser or the mentally challenged either.  I’m talking about the person who was living pay check to pay check and then found themselves unemployed.

So let me ask you; when you do give to charities or a needy person, are there qualifiers?  Do you need to know how it is they got into the situation they find themselves in?

The problem with helping family is that we are too familiar with them.  We deem them undeserving of our help.  After all if they would have just done this or that; if t hey would have just said this or that; if they would have only listened to us when we espoused our wisdom on their behalf, then perhaps they wouldn’t need the help of strangers.

So basically,  family be damned and let us all help the stranger?

Merry Christmas!

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19 Responses to Homeless, Needy & Strangers

  1. Schevus says:

    I agree completely! I speak often about helping those around us first. If everyone did this there would be fewer charities and much fewer “strangers” that need helped.

    – Schev

    mssc54 replied:

    Schevus: My point exactly.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Joy says:

    I have never really thought of this quite like this. It’s a very good point. I could never, ever let something like this happen to anyone in my family or even anyone I know. Tough love or not, I wouldn’t sleep at night if I did.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    mssc54 replied:

    Joy; It just seems to me that if we all looked after our family members first then (perhaps) there would be many fewer in need.

  3. fevah says:

    This is sad and doesn’t happen where I’m from everybody looks is one on the island. These scenes will be coming I am sure as the west encroaches on are neck of the woods . But for now no crime, no homeless.
    On the island everyone is thought of as family. Traditional food is free and grown in abundance and if you need a home as you do when you get to the age of marriage, then the village builds you one.
    Sometimes I look at the world I see through the net a wish I could bring you all over here to stay with me and other times the thought scares me back to reality.
    Oh and merry Christmas to you and yours Mssc54

    mssc54 replied:

    fevah: Your island sounds like a little slice of paradise.

    I imagine that everyone knows what’s going on with everyne else.

  4. SanityFound says:

    I may not comment much but I do read each and every day but this post has truly brought me out of the closet and when the happy season is over perhaps I will write about my version of what you have written about. I have felt the true blunt version of it.

    Family for most is just that, they should be better than everyone else – pity the person on the street because they are not better, they are below you. While I slept on streets my mother helped in an orphanage, she gave to homeless and helped another through school… while I slept on streets at the age of 14, never expelled from school, never into drugs or alcohol – though after living on the streets I did my share.

    It is one of the reasons why my family mean nothing to me. If not my mother, my aunts and uncles, when questioned, replied – we didnt want to get involved. They are also quite big into charity work.

    *shrug* thanks for the inspiration dear Mssc54 there are parts I had forgotten which are good to get out of ones system, this is one of them lol… oh dang think I have some resident anger! lol

    Great post, one more true than I could ever put into words for which I thank you from depths. Thank you 🙂

    mssc54 replied:

    SanityFound: So I’m not the only baffled by people helping others while neglecting their own.

    I think (perhaps) part of the reason is that some people would rather others look at them doing good in public so they can feel good about themselves.

    The only value to helping family (behind closed doors) is that they (family) will actually benefit from the help.

    For ANY jerk person (much less blood relative) to let a child live on the street when they have means to help is unconscionable! For multiple people to let this go on is just… I can’t think of the right word.

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. enola says:

    It’s easier to help strangers because you don’t have the familial ties and the strained relationships. I help with charity work. I choose to involve myself in helping children mostly. I wasn’t able to get myself out an abusive situation. But I can try to help another child out of one. I deal a whole lot with battered women. I don’t ask if they’ve subjected their children to abusive homes/men. I don’t ask if they subjected their children to drug or alcohol abuse. I just ask if they want to get out of their situation and help with making a new life. If so, then I help them.

    My mother is struggling. It is because of choices she makes. My sister and I talk a lot about what we will do if she is unable to live on her own, requires financial help, etc. I don’t know the answer. We sent her money for Christmas, knowing it would go toward food for both her and her husband (our abuser). I’m okay with that, I think. However, if it came to moving here here, in with me, or anything else that would put my family in danger, I would have to draw the line and hope someone else would help my stranger-mother.

    mssc54 replied:

    Enola: Welfare and safety of children/elderly are paramount!

    I will be the first to admit that there are more questions to this than answers (not just your situation but the topic in general).

    Perhaps if we concentrate on “training” and properly caring for our children then just maybe the next generation will have leff of a challenge with this.

    PS: I’m so glad to have been the 1K poster to your blog! Yummy!

  6. psychscribe says:

    Fabulous post. I can’t imagine, in my wildest dreams, letting anyone in my family live like that either…so sad…

    mssc54 replied:

    psychribe; Isn’t it amazing how selfish some people can be?

  7. “When did we become so disgusted with our own “kin-folk” that we would rather leave them to the graces of complete strangers?”

    I think you know I have an ‘interesting’ relationship with most of my family. That being said, I love the message of this post.

    I don’t know if I’ll take care of my father when my grandmother dies (he is living off her social security at the moment). I also don’t know what ‘take care of’ would best entail. It is definitely great food for thought and action.

    mssc54 replied:

    Hayden; There are so many “angles” there is no way there can be “yes or no” answers to this.

    As our parents age the child/parent relationship/roles often reverse.

    Your’s is a most difficult question to ask much less answer.

  8. Tessa says:

    I LOVE what you wrote! I totally agree with you and my heart goes out to the homeless and people who are struggling so bad. I have given to people on the corner by the freeway a few times-my husband and I have. We do not stop and wonder how they got there. That is not our place to judge them, but our place-we feel-as citizens and as human beings to help one another out. They are no different than us as humans. All humans deserve love and kindness and a helping hand.

    mssc54 replied:

    Tessa; Nice to hear from you.

    I too often hand out $. Unless I have this strong “impression” that I should not, I do.

    As for as all humans deserving love… that’s where the wicket gets a bit sticky. Just what does love look like? It’s not likely to be the same for each person or situation.

    Tight rope walking is not one of my finer accomplishments.

  9. Tessa says:

    My mom and my dad could easily be on the streets if say my mom got laid off or my dad’s health slipped or something, and no way would I leave them like that. Even though my husband’s mom has been out of his life and on the streets I’m sure, I know he would give her a helping hand if she needed it. It’s just the right thing to do.

    mssc54 replied:

    Tessa; When I was 17 years old both of my parents signed the papers to allow me to enter the Navy.

    To this day I still have that “feeling” that they gave up on me and felt that everyone would be better off if they just let me go.

    Still, I would do everything within my power to make sure that they would never end up on the streets.

  10. K. Trainor says:

    What a thought-provoking post! Thank you for writing it.
    I think sometimes –maybe oftentimes– there are generations within families that are unable to care for themselves or each other. How can a destitute parent teach his child to be something else? Get a few generations of such and you have people on the streets who know no other life and have no relatives to help. Still, someone in such a family dropped the ball once. Perhaps very long ago. I contribute to charities as well, party for this reason.

    To throw a different scenario out there, what do you do with a family member who is capable but unwilling to care for themselves? One with a false sense of entitlement who is unwilling to help around the house or work outside it. The prevailing attitude is “you OWE me.” I’m not talking about a sullen teen, this person is in her 30s and has children. (Had. They’re in the care of family members now.) There are no phyical or mental issues beyond raw laziness and a crappy attitude that anyone can see to prevent this person from being a productive member of society. She simply refuses to do so.

    And yet…she’ll expend energy begging for financial help from family members, friends, churches, shelters and so on. When the resource is spent, she’ll move on to the next. How can you help a family member who refuses to help themselves? (I don’t really expect you to solve this–just food for thought. I know her kids are cared for. Beyond that, I guess we just pray.)

    mssc54 replied:

    K. Trainor: The family member you speak of is a perfect example of how confusing “love” can be. IF each family has proper discernment they will know when to leave those family members to their own vices.

    Thank God there are those willing to not hold those children responsible for their selfish mother’s desires!

  11. K. Trainor says:

    Well said, mssc54. Sometimes love requires a great big NO. And no worries on the kids–they’re well loved. 🙂

  12. Morocco says:

    My brother is the same way as the relative mentioned above. He seems to like that nomadic, loafing lifestyle. And that is exactly why I am raising his daughter because I don’t want her to suffer because of the choices her parents have made.

    mssc54 replied:

    Morocco: Your niece if blessed to have such a caring aunt as you.

    I hope your brother soon reaches a place of enlightenment… or enough discomfort to change.

  13. K. Trainor says:

    That’s a wonderful thing you’re doing, Morocco. Raising a child is a tremendous responsibility, and taking on someone else’s…good for you. You sound like a caring person.

  14. marlajayne says:

    Interesting post…very thought provoking. I’m thinking of an example in which a family served Christmas dinner to the homeless in a soup kitchen, and every member was touched by it in some way. At the same time, the adults in this family refused to give a dime to a needy relative with children because she had made poor choices…it was her fault that she was in the situation, after all, so why should they further enable her? HUH?

    What occurred to me is that family is comprised of all of these sometimes messy relationships, and sometimes giving and doing for extends far beyond what the giver can give. It’s easier to give at a distance, even anonymously, than to give on and on and on to those who are closer (kin-wise).

  15. […] A little while ago I told MSSC54 that I would tell my story relating to his post Homeless, Needy & Strangers and there is no better time than now.  If you have been reading my story up to now you will […]

  16. nikki says:

    I had an Uncle growing up that I guess most would call the black sheep. He was an alcoholic and lived on the streets most his live. He recently has passed but I always felt horrible knowing he was living that way. Most my family members tried helping him but he always ended back on the streets then eventually in prison. I think of him every time I see a homeless person, and more times than not offer a few dollars, if not that then a friendly smile at least.
    The lady in the picture…is someones mom, aunt, cousin friend. It breaks my heart. If it all started with our own families, take care of one another maybe it would make a difference. Very thought provoking post!

    mssc54 replied:

    nikki: All we can do is all we can do. If the one in need is resistant….

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  17. […] A little while ago I told MSSC54 that I would tell my story relating to his post Homeless, Needy & Strangers and there is no better time than now. If you have been reading my story up to now you will know […]

  18. Morocco says:

    MSSC54,

    LOL, I think he will reach the place of discomfort before he is enlightened!

    My niece’s mom will be released in August and I just hope she comes home a better person. Her daughter is counting on it.

    mssc54 replied:

    Morocco: For your eveyone’s sake I hope your niece’s wishes come true.

  19. Morocco says:

    Geez, low and behold what I received in the mail today–a letter from my niece’s mom that she has let “her mouth” get her into trouble and got more time added to her sentence. Her new release date is 12/21/09! I just don’t know what to think! Please help me pray for this girl!

    mssc54 replied:

    Morocco: The tongue…

    How sad for your niece. Prayers of repentance and wisdome.

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