Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back up, Panhandler

A man in his 40s ON A SKATEBOARD approached me and my two youngest daughters in a parking lot today (in Cottonwood Heights, thank you very much) asking if I had any pennies I could spare. He asked for pennies and I really only had larger coins, so I could honestly tell him no. I have a rule that if you come up from behind me while my kids are already in the cart, you are just lucky you didn't get hit with something! That is a mama-bear NO NO!

Anyway, as he went on to the next young mother with kids, Aubrey looked at me and said, "He should go get a JOB!"

Her words, not mine...

Lest you think I am teaching my kids to be mean and stingy, we donate items through various charities and I make the girls choose a few of their things each time. We pay out tithes and offerings through our church and we are usually kind and generous. I just REALLY don't like being vulnerable in a parking lot with my kids. You think I'm getting my purse out where you can reach it! Yeah right. Back off!


The Gibbys said...

I totally agree, it is so scary. I was getting Zach some string cheese we had just bought the other day and a man came over while I was leaning in the car door. He asked for money to buy his kids some food. I gave him some string cheese instead. I was glad we were parked near the door and lots of people were walking by.
Aubrey is very smart.

Jana said...

Kids tell it like they see it don't they! I guess at least she didn't say that while he was standing there!:) What a cute story!

Hillary said...

Oh, it would have been awesome if you would have clocked him with your diaper bag-would've served him right!

I love that Aubrey said he needed to get a job-I wish I was the bold!


That is a tough predicament to be put in (especially accompanied by your children)!!

Times are tough and a lot of people are struggling to make things work financially. Sometimes it isn't as easy as just getting a job and perhaps he already does have a job and still is looking for extra money? I don't know it is hard to say really. I, like you, DO value a good work ethic and don't think it is always helpful to make others dependent upon charitable handouts... but once again it is really hard to say without really knowing the individual's heart and motivations... I digress...)

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we cannot trust the motivations of random strangers and people do hurt other people. I have often pondered the balance of "taking care of the poor and needy" as the scriptures teach and also not being victimized by those who would exploit kind actions.

I think that you are correct in your approach to be generous to charitable organizations (including church donations). I believe that even the afore mentioned church organization encourages generous donations to charities and not just to panhandlers.

That being said, I have also often tried to use such encounters with panhandlers as a way to educate them on programs available to get them help. I have also used these opportunities to tell them about the church trying to remember that even the "least of these" are still children of God who loves and knows each of us. I try to keep a bunch of pass along cards on me to use in such situations as well. (But I also believe that you are able to follow warning promptings that will keep you and your children safe and I don't know if I wouldn't have done the exact same thing you did in that parking lot.)

Side note: Congratulations on your WW benchmark! I am trying to pull off the unwanted pounds myself and recognize how hard you are working. You go girl!! :)


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