This week’s inspiration came from Facebook.
I admit I spend some time on FB, and I belong to a few different groups. One group is focused on happenings in Manchester. As a resident I like to see what is going on here in the city. I have seen several posts regarding the “pan handlers, homeless, junkies or scammers,” whatever they may be called, in someone’s post. The streets are full of these poor folks.
I find it very sad how people can be so angry and cruel in their comments and reactions to the people on the streets. I am not one to have my head buried in the sand, or believe that every individual asking for a handout is going to use it for food, shelter or clothing. Yes, I am sure many are taking the money to buy drugs and alcohol.
Instead of judging them I need to remind myself to ask why they are there. What brought them to this place in their lives? Was it a bad decision that has spiraled so out of control they find themselves on the streets? Is it a mental illness, PTSD, an addiction, or a true life choice (yes, they could be doing it just to make money)? What help do they really need? Why do I immediately judge?
I hear my parents voices in my head, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Take a moment and look at the individual, really look. That person is someone’s brother/sister, father/mother, or son/daughter.
Who these individuals are really does matter. What and why they are doing what they are doing matters. How we react when we see or talk about them matters.
I heard the song “What It’s Like” by Everlast while writing this blog, and it hits home to what I am trying to say.
The post that leads me here was someone warning others to not give to the man whose story was …xyz … they had given him all the change they had feeling bad for this man. Then they saw that same person a week later with the same story. They felt that they were tricked, that they were scammed. I can understand the frustration with feeling duped. I don’t think you should feel guilt to give. Or guilt because you did, thinking the money you gave was not used for what you think it should be used for.
Give to give. Give to be kind to another human being.
People say — and often do— “pay it forward,” something I’ve also seen posts about on Facebook. Do they think afterwards, “OMG I bought a coffee for a stranger who could be a thief, drug dealer, abuser or — worse yet — the leprechaun who stole my lucky charms”? No. Most folks “pay it forward” just because. They do so, and walk away. They give just to give. They are being kind, friendly, and sharing in their good fortune. However small it may be. They give with no expectations.
Why is that so different from giving to the man on the corner with the sign? Give with no strings, no expectation, no GUILT. Be kind. Don’t judge. We do not know their story. If you don’t want to give because you believe they will buy drugs then do not give; don’t judge them. Take what little you would have given them and give to the local homeless shelter or food bank instead. Charity is a good thing, if given to the right organization, and when given for the right reason.
Be kind. Share a smile, a cup of coffee or a handful of change. If we can care so much about a lion in Africa, we can care more for our fellow citizens that are right here on the streets. Most, I believe, are doing the best that they can with the circumstances they are in.
I don’t want to come across preachy. It bothered me to read the reactions to the post I mentioned above, and I wanted to share my thoughts. Maybe I need to stop going on FB, but if I did, I would not see the posts on the best pizza place in Manchester or the cute puppy and kitty videos. Thank you for reading something that was not health-focused or a funny story, but a little something I wanted to share.
Lisa Poole has been a licensed New Hampshire Massage Therapist since 2011. She is the owner of Peaceful Strength Massage Therapy located in Manchester, NH. She has an Associate of Science degree in Exercise Science with 10 years experience as a personal trainer. She worked for a major insurance carrier for more than eight years and has a great appreciation for the stresses of working behind a computer for 8 hours a day.
Lisa is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. A parent of two boys (young men), and is married to her high school sweetheart. Exercise and wellness are tremendously important to her. Personal experience has taught her the importance ofbalance between family, job and fitness. Lisa’s goals are to share her knowledge, help make people feel better and lead healthier lives.
You’re one click away! Sign up for our free eNewsletter and never miss another thing.