What Are We Teaching Our Children About Humanity?

Last weekend I was walking through town when I saw a man sitting in the doorway of a shop, covered in dirt and wearing a massive coat, despite the  beautiful sunny day. As I always do, I gravitated towards him to read the cardboard sign placed on the pavement in front of him. It read, “Homeless, please spare some change.”

I had been debating whether or not to go for lunch at a cafe with my son, something we rarely do, but without a second thought I emptied out the contents of my purse into my hand and approached the man to hand him the money. He smiled, said “God bless you,” and we went on our way.

We don’t have much expendable money, we live on a very tight budget, but I know that in comparison to many people the world over, I am very lucky with what I do have. I have a home, a family who love me and for now at least, enough money to put food on my table. I can’t give every homeless person I meet a home, but I can stretch to buying them lunch or a hot drink. I can do SOMETHING to make their day a little brighter. And all the while my son is watching and learning about how to take care of our fellow humans. I never forget that I am his role model for life.

And so, when I saw this video about a man lying in the middle of the street being utterly ignored because of the way he looks, despite the fact that he was calling out for help,  I found it utterly shocking. Families walked by with children, people rushed past on their phones, some stared, some blanked him, but not one person helped. What are we role modeling when we can see someone in need and don’t do what we can to help them?



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4 thoughts on “What Are We Teaching Our Children About Humanity?”

  1. I struggle with this too. Though I tend to believe that most homeless are dependent on alcohol or drugs, I do realize that they are still people searching for help. I hate the idea of giving money to the homeless because of this, but have no problem handing someone a bottled water (or drink) on a hot day and though McDonald’s may not be the healthiest food, they do sell gift cards in any denomination making it easy for someone to buy a meal for $5 or several cups of coffee.That way, I know it will be easier for someone to spend the money on food.

    1. Hi, i always follow your post and i always agree, however with this one i feel a little cautious because i have a close family member who got abused to the worst degree by a man who claimed to be blind and needed some help. I will spare the details but this left a lifetime scar at the age of 16. Please don’t get me wrong, i believe strongly in helping, empathy and feeling for others and you cannot judge a man by its clothing! but we also have duty to protect our children. If my child would be walking past that man and with the experience of growing up near a city with drugs and alcohol problems around every corner i would hope my child to keep their distance and to call 111, wait at a distance till they arrive, update them and walk away. To help and to keep herself safe as well. Just like you i feel really blessed for the food on my table the roof above my head, with the little spare money i have i donate to the food bank which is also helping people in need. Anyway, im getting of subject. Basically, never judge a man by it’s clothes, however, be cautious and teach your loved ones to keep themselves safe too!

      1. I agree, safety is important and it is important to teach our children when to step back, but there is usually something we can do to help, even, like you say, phone for help from a distance. I would never want for someone to put themselves in danger trying to help. At the same time, I do believe that most people are kind and I don’t want to instill a sense of fear about people who look or dress differently in my child.

        We have a local homeless man who we see occasionally who shouts and screams at anyone who approaches and is clearly not safe to offer direct help to. I have left food out for him, called to him from down the road and pointed to it, and then quickly backed off and gone indoors before he got to it. That is helping within my comfort zone. He gets fed and I don’t risk my safety. Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

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