My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Friday, April 7, 2017

The Danger of Charity

I have been seeing bits and pieces of this news about rejecting homeless shelters, and I am feeling no small shame and anger at my fellow Utahns. Community after community is rejecting the building of shelters and other facilities for those who are less fortunate than themselves.

If it were rejecting homeless shelters in order to use the money for providing more people with meaningful work where they can earn enough to pay the rent and feed their families, I could maybe see that. But I don't think that's what's happening.

Dawn Armstrong posted a gentle plea to people everywhere (and especially in Utah) to quit trying to keep the homeless people at a safe distance.

I know that's an awkward way to interpret things, but it's what you are saying when you say you don't want a homeless shelter in your neighborhood:
Keep them at safe distance!

Is homelessness a disease?

Are they somehow tainted by their association with the road?

Or is it that they must have done something terribly wrong to warrant losing their homes, and you, heaven forbid, should not have to associate with people like that?

Maybe you think of the Brian David Mitchells out there. Somebody posted such a comment on Dawn's blog. I think, maybe, I overreacted in my comment on that post. Dawn was much kinder.

Maybe I'm overreacting still, posting this in my blog.

But, statistically speaking, your family is no safer with, say, your business associates, neighbors, friends, relatives.

Most abuse is perpetrated by people who are known by the victim.

I think that's why Jesus finds no moral quandary in teaching us to be good Samaritans. Avoiding the good deed makes us no safer.

(If I had time, I'd work out a lengthy discussion of why charitable behavior ultimately makes the world safer for both your children and you, but it's two in the morning here.)

Would I be playing too rough if I questioned whether you were more concerned about your property value than with your family's safety?

They. The homeless. Dawn is not the only one for whom the "they" means "we".

If you'll stop for a moment's sober reflection, you'll remember that the only thing that stands between you and them is a little luck. If you can stand to admit your dependence on deity, there, but for the grace of God, go we.

The disease which is destroying our modern world, the source of the violence that expresses itself in terrorism and the conundrum of religious warfare is precisely the us vs. them approach to economics, and to life in general.

Them is us. They are we.

[JMR201704071335 added:]

I know it's easy to be scared. But if they are not safe, neither are we. Nor ours.

[JMR201704071335 end-added.]

1 comment:

  1. I first thought of Thoreau's comments on the dangers of charity, "If a man was coming to my door with the conscious intent of doing me good, I should run for my life as from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the Simoom, ...".

    But I think the only solution is for the people to get acquainted with the homeless.

    An attorney was once asked by an Indian as to how safe is life was. The Indian asked what would happen if he lost his job and fell ill. Would he be able to keep his house. The answer was no, he wouldn't be able to. The Indian said: you think you are so rich, but you don't have the most elementary things.

    In their tribal culture even the drunkards were taken care of. There was no possibility of anyone getting abandoned.

    The same man who accounted this tale said that if anyone was so poor as to not have a horse or tipi, someone would give it to him. At the same time Thoreau went to great length comparing the cost of housing (in the 19th century) to the cost of a tipi. A tipi was manufactured in a few days and set up in a few hours. Back then, people were already struggling with mortgages that they had to pay 30 years to pay off. Pretty much no one, he said, owned their own houses (or farms). He also criticized working to pay a train ticket, while he could spend the same time not working and then walking to the destination. But he recounted how he had tried to give clothes to a homeless person that had fallen through the ice while fishing, and realized that the homeless person was better clad than he was; in rags, but so many of them that he couldn't have been cold normally, and that he didn't need clothes, but just a place to warm up and get dry. He was opposed to charity and just wanted people to be as benevolent as a sun, that shares his wealth not through conscious effort, but by sheer virtue of its own brilliance, in other words, by being an example and by pulling people along in your path. The same money you would spend on charity, he argued, you could spend on buying stuff from the ones you would charitize, or employ them, and then all of the money would be put to good use, instead of only a small percentage of it.


Courtesy is courteous.