Sunday, October 9, 2011

Teach a man to fish....

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

One of the benefits of riding the bus is that one gets to see a cross section of the population on a regular basis and whether you want to or not you overhear the things that effect their lives.  From the job commuters to the unemployed, all ages, races, professions, and walks of life are represented on their good and bad days.  Often one ends up sitting and visiting with a person totally unlike themselves and there may be only one thing we have in common... we are both on that bus, that day, at that time.  I have met band members, drunks, salesmen, Republicans, gang members, single mothers, Christians, atheists, grand parents, Democrats, American born, able bodied and those in wheelchairs, and tourists from throughout the world.

Almost everybody talks about money.  How they make it, how they spend it, how they need it, and how they hope to get more.  The talk about how they are getting a house or losing a home.  Some are applying for a job, or going to the unemployment office.  They talk about where the sales are or who's playing in the football game.  They share and listen to the events of the their lives and develop friendships with others who ride the same schedule each day.

Just as often they look out the window and give one another their space.  Many talk on their cell phones and act like they are not broadcasting their lives and loves to the entire bus.  Book reading is the other major activity and I do much of this myself.

On our journey the closer to downtown are the beggars.  I'm not always sure what else to call them.  Most have a sign and walk between the cars at the stop light asking for money.  Many are there everyday.  Some beat me there in the morning as I go to work and still there in the evening when I come home.  Day after day, month after month.  Some are as faithful to their begging as I to my job.  In addition to the regulars are the passersby who ask for a cigarettes, bus fare, or any spare change.  More than once I have seen people ask for bus money, receive it, and then not get on the next bus. 

Many leave trash at the bus stop.  Mostly the bags or cups from the fast food places and many empty beer bottles and cans.  The strange part is that often the garbage is left only a few feet away from the trash can.  I guess many think there is a magical trash fairy who goes around and picks it up and apparently there is because it starts over the next morning.  And, worst of all on the streets are the unmentionables.  Everytime I see them I am shocked and appalled that one would leave them on the street. If you don't know what I'm talking about than you have not yet walked a city street so I will spare the details.

These are the streets of our cities.  Some are better, some are worse.  I actually live and work in the "good" part of town so what I'm am describing are the AVERAGE Americans that our government policies and programs are intended to help.  These are some of the people who are receiving the tax credits, cash assistance, and unemployment extentions we hear so much about.  Most long to have their own car so they no longer have to be reminded of the others. 

Recovery - one family at a time.
Throughout my writing I have attempted to highlight the importance of the individual family in the midst of the greater population.  Beginning and throughout the process I have strived to stress that the starting point is our own actions and response is to all that is going on around us.  Then, and now, I have believed that the important, and yes, right, approach to our nations difficulties can be summed up in the following:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

It is for this reason I have sought to give away the free copy of In The Trenches.  Education and not social aid is the #1 key to America getting back on it's feet.  We can give away all the tax credits and free money we want but it will only drive the country farther into debt and not solve the problems. 

In taking the next step in my own journey and to help make available the copy of the free book I would like to offer the following:  If you or any non-profit organization you are affiliated with are interested and feel you know people who would benefit from In The Trenches I will offer them at my cost to anyone interested in getting 10 or more copies for distribution.  This would include food programs, churches, or even your unemployed relatives. The cost will be roughly half of the single copy price offered on Amazon.  The exact amount will depend on shipping.    The worksheets accompaning the book are already available for free in the sidebar.

I also hope to have a Kindle version available in January of 2012 and am beginning to prepare the material in a format suitable for small group or individual presentations.  It is my hope that the materials may be used to supplement other financial training programs now in progress or provide a beginner level program to those who find themselves In The Trenches. 

I plan to mention this a number of times over the next few months to give our readers the greatest opportunity to be aware of this offer so please don't think that in doing so I am trying to promote myself for I will earn nothing from the effort.  I just would like to make sure everyone is aware.


Olivia said...

It's uncanny how we repeat the mistakes of those before us. An illuminating book, "How the Other Half Lives" touches on attempts to bail people out by shoving well intentioned money and programs at them. This was during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Taking personal responsibility is a huge part of our current problem (waiting for Superman to fix everything). This is where your book comes in. But the lack of community working together is another. That's newer. We don't have immigrant neighborhoods as much striving to better themselves and their children's lives. We have the opposite. A culture of dependancy. I'm not sure how that can be addressed. Not being different is a powerful ambition squelcher.

Carol Schultz said...

Yes, I was talking to someone about this and if someone were to pose the question "I'll give you $20 for doing such and so or I'll just give you the $20". I think most in generations past would have expected to work and did so out of personal respect and pride. Now people would make the second choice and come back for more. Some may disagree but how many times have we heard "I'm going to run out my unemployment before seriously looking for a job"?

Carol Schultz said...

p.s. The book sounds interesting, I'll try to locate it in our library system.