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Help themselves


On the way to class yesterday, I commented to Kris that, if I had enough money, I would buy up a large part of downtown Gary and organize groups of neighbors to help each other, in sort of a barter system. Sure, the people there may not have a lot, or be well educated, but everyone can learn a skill and everyone can do something to give to the next person (even if it's just raking leaves to continue a compost bin). Most people just need help figuring out what to do.

Kris looked at me briefly, then looked back to the road, and was quiet for a while. Eventually, he asked me, "When did you become such an idealist?"



An idealist?

Most definitely not. More like the biggest cynic Kris knows, more of a pessimist than an optimist, that glass is always half empty, if not more than.

But, really, think about it. Dad and I drove down one of the main Gary thoroughfares, which had empty lots, abandoned buildings and very few operating businesses. Given the cold weather, I wasn't surprised I didn't see a lot of people standing around, either. Each of the buildings was an opportunity, the vacant lots a chance for advancement. The only thing missing is knowledge and motivation. Start a program where people can learn a trade, help each other, have something to do, build something new, and have a better life.

Of course, that's where my argument died.

Kris quietly commented, "Sure, you can run something like that, but, really, the people who are going to be able to help themselves, well, are probably already helping themselves."

Yeah, most likely yes.