Giving it All Away

Child Prodigy?

Striking child’s art! Perhaps a  child’s rendition of a homeless man?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was at a McDonald’s waiting in line for coffee. There was a homeless man in front of me who had a single dollar bill and had ordered off the $1.00 menu. He was digging in his pockets for change.

The man asked if I had a dollar he could have so he could get a second burger. I gave him a dollar. He asked for a second $1.00 burger and an order of hash browns. He pulled out a pocket full of change and placed it on the counter.

The Manager asked the cashier of he had enough money. The Cashier said if he did not, she would make up the difference.

After the counting was complete, the man had a dime, a nickel, and a collection of pennies which the Cashier had pushed back to him.

The man collected all the change and put the change into the Ronald McDonald House collection box. He donated all the money he had….

Art of Saying Hello

One of the most overwhelming psychological problems facing homeless people is isolation. Think of yourself as homeless for a moment. You have no family that wants you around, no home, no address. You spend today day trying to make it to tomorrow.

Most people do not want to talk to you, they give you some change to make you go away. People fear you, people make you invisible. No one gives a crap if you are around tomorrow or not. Now imagine that is your life, and you are walking down the street, and you say hello to a passing stranger in an attempt to reach out and make a connection, however small. You may as well have said hello to a tree.

If you were alive in 1614, saying hello would not be an issue. You would seldom venture more than a short walk from your home, especially alone. You would be born, grow old, and die with people who live close to you. Once you walked more than a short way from your house, you were a stranger, either someone to leave alone, someone to rob, or worse.

Because you are alive in 2014, quite a bit has changed. You are safer now than in any time in history. You do not have to worry about war and plunder arriving in your neighborhood. You can walk down the street without being robbed. You can drive across town or across country without fear of being raped, robbed, murdered, or captured for slavery. Sure it happens, but let’s be real for a minute, it is not something likely to happen to you. There are easier targets for those people who prey on others.

We now know the bogyman is a fable. Dirty old men are very hard to find. Your neighbor or the person walking towards you is probably not a psychopath concealing a bloody knife they are about to use on you.

Don’t be afraid to say hello to a passing stranger, homeless person, adult or child you do not know. You never know how much one word may mean to another. Saying hello costs nothing, and has the ability to change both your worlds. Unfortunately in extremely rare instances, your saying hello may be the last word you ever say to another human being, or the last word they ever hear.

No longer do you need to be frightened of strangers. All fear does is lead to isolation and loneliness. The greatest love stories, the strongest relationships, and the greatest people you have ever met or read about practice the art of saying hello.

Saying, “Hello” is more than good manners. When you say hello, you acknowledge the other persons existence and worthiness. You let them know they are alive and they are somebody. You may be the only person the other person will see today, and you connected with them in a small insignificant way.

Homeless and Invisible, Mexican and successful

In the 1980’s when Ronald Reagan was president, America felt about the same way it feels now. America was looking for a hero, a financial fix, and a sense of self worth.

Earning a living was a hard, pretty much like people are trying to make ends meet today. Feels like Ground Hog Day lately. In an effort to reduce taxes, someone decided that institutionalizing people who were not a threat to themselves or others was a violation of their civil rights.

In a short period of time the walls of sanitariums fell, and tens of thousands of people were free to live a life that was their ‘legal right’, or in other words, literally kicked to the curb to fend for themselves. Nobody really noticed what was happening except their taxes went down. This homeless group of people were pretty much invisible, migrating to inner cities where few saw them on the streets.

During this same period Caesar Chavez prevailed in nothing short of a revolution for Migrant Farm Workers. Migrant Farm Workers were Mexican citizens who did low pay long hour ‘agricultural’ jobs, aka picking fruits, vegetables, citrus and such.

More and more Mexican citizens decided to stay and try to make this country their home. Speaking poor English, no real rights, and no financial support, they thrived.  They too were not noticed at first. There were few of them, and they lived quietly in rural and eventually inner city areas eking out what passed for a living.

It is interesting how some things have changed and other things have not. Mexican Migrant Workers have joined the American workforce with some becoming American citizens. Some small percentage have become wealthy, experiencing first hand the American Dream.

The homeless are still homeless. As natural born citizens many Homeless people lack basic skills which would enable them to hold any kind of job, have a place to call home, and a support network to help them. Many Homeless people who are mentally ill, or otherwise challenged and are brushed under the rug, as they fall through the cracks of life. They are rarely mentioned, barely noticed.

The Homeless population may be indicative of how we choose to treat those less fortunate than ourselves. People who legally may not be a threat to themselves or others, but emotionally or cognitively are not able to manage the basics of a normal life.

Homeless People wander and live in the streets, preyed upon, locked up, and murdered. This happens every day in our streets. We more fortunate Americans are unaware, or pretend not to notice. After all we can’t afford to help them.

I am in awe of the power of marketing. This is mass marketing in its finest hour. Mexican immigrants are the new pioneers, demanding their fair share from their newly conquered lands. The Homeless remain all but invisible. They are not able to get their act together, protest, and be heard.

Yet, the Mexican/American population of these United States shows the American Dream is still alive, and thriving. How is it a people who weren’t born here, may not speak any English, have several roadblocks in their path, become successful Americans, while the Homeless are ignored.