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Reality check

Guest furlessinCA

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So I purposely did not post this message around Christmas time. I was hoping my wife would see that it would be O.K. to get me a chinchilla scarf. She was wanting "stuff". She teaches first grade. One night she comes home and shares that one of her students does not now where he is going to sleep day to day. He is homeless. Apparently his mother works at Denny's (GOOD), but his father has fallen to drugs (NOT GOOD). My wife will ask this six year-old how he is doing and he will respond with a sigh and something like "Oh it's been a tough week Mrs. A." She says he is the smartest kid in the class, so she would hate to lose him, but if he gets an apartment he would likely move to another school. But at least he would have some permanency. My wife actually had tears going down her cheeks thinking how selfish she was for wanting "stuff" and this "sweet, innocent child" (my wife's words) doesn't know where he will sleep on any given night (sometimes he sleeps in a van). My wife said that MANY of the kids came back from the holiday break looking emaciated. This is because the only healthy (if you can call it that) meals they get are at the school (breakfast and lunch).


I extended my wife wanting "stuff" to me wanting the chinchilla scarf, or any other fur for that matter, and wondering if I am selfish when there are so many who are truly in need. So I suppose, if we don't have a fur THING, at least we have roofs over our respective heads.


So I suppose we should just all be thankful for what we do have.



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There are two issues, here:


1) Living within your means.

2) Knowing the limits of what you can do.


If you can afford to buy something and it's not harmful to yourself or others, there's no reason why you shouldn't have things that you want. Why should you not enjoy the fruits of your own labor?


As to the kids, yes, you should care about them and do what you can to help but you have to realize that there is a limit to what you can do. As much as you can help, you should but you also have to realize that you should not meddle in the affairs of others. Parents have ultimate say over the lives of their children. Even if you believe they are wrong in the way they bring up their children, you really don't have much right to tell them how they should do it.


If you want a fur scarf and you can afford to buy it, there is no reason you shouldn't.


In the matter of the student: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

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Thanks Worker! Your very thoughts had been going through my mind. I DO work pretty hard (professor), so why shouldn't I be able to get something if I can afford it?


You are right about the children. We can't tell parents how to do their jobs (even though many times I'd like to). I suppose what gets me, is the parents make choices and the kids pay the price. It's just tough to hear about kids who go to bed hungry, especially in a relatively middle class city (town, there are only 60 or 80,000 within the city limits, 100,000+ with surrounding towns).


Thanks again!



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FurlessinCA, you have brought up a very well thought out point here.


I know of I think two members here who have (or had) such issues. They live in that "Van". No heat in it. No food for snacks. They go to the Library to use the computer. In places like Cleveland or maybe the Western Prairie where it does get REALLY cold out there. I also do volunteer work, and worked with a "late teenager" just this year who never went to lunch. I finally found out that he just does not have the money. He always has been hungry. But he mostly works through lunch hour to avoid the embarrassment of the situation.


We can't go broke ourselves trying to help these people. But we can still help. I think that Worker's and Your conversation here talk about that well. We need to try to lay out our lives so that we can do at least SOMETHING for such people. Every year for instance a local restaurant has a charity drive for the poor. I give quite a bit to them. I know them well enough to trust them. I know that every cent of that money goes to those in need, unlike these huge charities where maybe 75% goes to the rich fat cats at the top who probably give almost none of that back.


We can live our lives and be considerate to others. And it will mean so much to them.


Furless, I am though SO glad that you brought this up here! I have often noted how this place is a home to so many interesting people. And so often they are people who care. People who laugh. People who live just like every other member who lurks and is so afraid to post for some reason.


A HUGE word of THANKS!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, we do need to be thankful.


Working in DC for almost 2 years now. I am becoming blind to the homeless who I walk by every day. It is so painful seeing them that you have to become numb to deal with it every day. I guess it is like other kinds of pain, after a while it just becomes numb - hopefully.


Our Veterans are committing suicide at higher rates. This is a reality working at the VA makes very real. We seem to be helpless.


It is sad; but, life does go on and we have to appreciate the joys we have. Even Chinchilla scarves.



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Thank you so much! Both for your comment and for the work you do with our vets. It truly is tragic that the suicide rate in vets is so high and out of control. I know you feel helpless, but I am sure you have made a difference to someone somewhere. However none of us will never know as he or she will live his or her life WITHOUT a tragic ending.


The homeless situation seems to be growing in Chico as well. I have given a few people food, I tend not to give money, but food I will give freely if I have it.


Perhaps I'll get the chinchilla scarf after all.


Thanks again!



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FL, I often joke about not doing certain things so a starving child in China can do them. We all heard in our youth how we should think of the starving children in China, and thus to eat all of the food on our plate. Of course NONE of us could figure out what the food on our plate had to do with a child on the other side of the earth. But each and every one of us all still heard it. And today I will often say in total sarcasm "Oh, I am not going to go to the city so a starving child in China can go". Or "I am not going to get a hair cut so a starving child can get one."


In short we can all help these people and should do more to do exactly that. I so much hate to name names here, but we have found out in the last couple of years how almost all of the money going to these big charities goes to pay the big fat guys at the top who get millions for doing little. I think that we all need to think of these people and maybe even give them food as you have suggested or convince them to go to gov't supplied shelter on a cold n ight.


On the other hand I don't think we need to give up all of the necessities and non necessities in life either. It is your privilege in life to have the jacket. It is yours to have the scarf. You have worked hard for that privilege. Go ahead and enjoy it. Even the fact that you have mentioned this here means that you are thinking of these people and that in itself means a lot! In my books anyhow.


Enjoy the scarf and jacket! And hey! You can think of all of us here when you do! ha ha!



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