Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Little Girl Lost?

Sometimes, in the course of everyday life, you see something that you have seen many times before, but every so often, there is a twist on it that makes you stop and think.
  One evening last week, I was on my way home. I stopped at a light at a busy intersection. On the opposite corner, on one of those concrete islands that separate lanes, was a woman. She was standing on the island with a sign. As she was not facing me, I assumed that it was some sort of "homeless need help" sign. I have seen it before. Unfortunately, many people work that intersection. But this was different. Standing next to her, was a little girl. She was maybe 3 or 4 years old, kind of jumping around, playing with something in a bag next to her.
  As I watched her, trying to keep busy, my first thought was disbelief. How is this woman panhandling on a corner with a child?! The light turned green, and I went on my way. But I could not get that sight out of my mind. On a very practical level, I found it sad, that in one of the richest nations in the world, people feel such desperation that they see no other way out than to stand on a corner with a sign. But what about that little girl? As she stood on that corner with her mother, she was being taught an ominous life lesson. She was being taught that it was OK. It's OK to stand on a street corner and beg. It's OK to assume that other people will take pity on you and throw you their pocket change. It's OK to expect total strangers to bail you out. Even worse, what if this woman brought her child to this corner with her to gain more sympathy, thus make more money? I didn't want to go there.
  I keep thinking about that child, and others like her. In our entitlement society, will there be anyone in her life to correct this lesson? Will anyone tell her that education is the one true way off of that corner for her? Will anyone tell it to her straight, that in America, if you are willing to work hard, you can be anything you want to be? Will anyone teach her that she does not have to rely on the government, or others feeling sorry for her? That she can rely on herself?
  Fast forward twenty years. Is that little girl now a junior or senior in college, working on her degree, eager to graduate, and go out into the world and try her hand at her chosen profession? Does she possess that "look out world here I come" swagger that getting ready to dive into your dream job can give you? Or has the cycle continued? Is she a mother herself, with jobless, hopeless men who fathered her children meandering in and out of her and her children's lives? Has someone told her that the more children she has, the more money she can get from the government? Has she learned how to "work the system"?
   I guess I hope for two things. I hope that her Mom can get through this
temporary rough patch in her life. But maybe even more than that, I hope that it is not too late for this little girl. I hope this street corner education, is a lesson that she will soon forget.          

1 comment:

  1. What if she wasn't begging? What if she was helping the little girl sell some stuff to make money for her team, or her school. Funny your mind would go straight to poverty.