I know, it’s a sensitive issue and there is a lot that goes into this, mental health being on the forefront. I’m not trying to discount any real problems, and for the sake of time I won’t go into it. But, someone this week said something about homelessness that caught my attention. He said “why don’t they just get jobs so they don’t have to sleep outside?”. His question made got me thinking on a scale bigger than homelessness.
Most of us would agree that there is some part of our own life that we’d like to improve. It might not be “getting off the streets” but it may be having a consistent income, reliable health or positive relationships. It’s easy to look at a homeless person and think “just take a bath, brush your teeth, get a haircut and get a job”.
From our perspective it’s a simple solution for what appears to be a daunting problem. From our perspective we can see that just a few small changes will lead to a few small improvements. As one thing works out, the homeless person can now have healthier food, better shelter and productive relationships. Those in turn will open doors for even better shelter, tastier food and uplifting relationships. It’s an upward cycle, and in America that person has the chance to dramatically improve their station in life. That is the dream of America.
One of my best friends is a millionaire, but 25 years ago he lived in a car. He had nothing, he was nothing… at least not to those who looked upon him. But he took the standard advice. He got a job, he found a place to shower and began working to improve his station in life. Later, he started a business, eventually got married, bought a nicer house and they began to have kids of their own. His business grew, his family grew and he bought a nicer home on the hill. He sold a business, built another one, and it’s even better than the last. He still works, but he could choose to stop at any time.
Rather than looking at someone on the street and passing judgement, why don’t we take a look at our own lives and start working in becoming better versions of ourselves? We are all living under a mental bridge. Get out from under there.