Have you ever thought of what it would be like to live the life of a beggar on the streets? Have you taken the time to count your blessings and contemplate on how bad a hand life has dealt to some people living on this earth among us? Well I did today, and it’s eye opening.
Right off the bat I would like to point out that I thought deeper about this when I gave a good listen to the song “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins. If you have not heard it yet, I recommend that you give it a listen, it is one of my favorite songs by Phil Collins.
I know that when most people (myself included) see someone who is begging for scraps on the street, they would immediately jump to the conclusion that the person is just a lazy bum, or that the person is running a scam. Our minds will tend to avoid any kind of interaction with them in fear of harm to ourselves. This is not without reason, currently the begging industry in India alone is worth more than 25 million dollars and above 95% of them are fake (Rafiuddin, 2008). Most of them use the money gained to indulge their addictions whether it be drugs or otherwise.
At this point you would be right to think that you should not interact with these people but it does not mean we should not be helping the people who are in need. Think of the person who lost his home due to mortgage and layoffs at his firm. Think of the people who lost their homes due to war. Think of the men and women who fight for the safety of our nation who come back to find a government unwilling to help his misfortunes. Think of the children through no fault of their own, are moved from one foster to another to only end up on the streets once more.
It is true that what has been mentioned above has completely nothing to do with the average Joe. It is not your fault that war has caused loss of family and homes. It is not your fault that the guy lost his job and home. It is not your fault that the kid has no parents and access to basic living conditions. Why should you care? why you indeed.
Empathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Putting yourself in another’s shoes. Thinking about the human race as a collective, should we not care for the people among us? In this day and age where technology has brought so many of us together, it has also made us grow apart. We think of ourselves, and ourselves only. Why not help that person you see everyday as you walk to the grocery store? Why not spare a dollar or two to that kid who sits on the sidewalk at night with a tarp around herself? I am sure that dollar you give with a smile would mean the world to that person.
I am not saying you should be giving left and right, but that maybe we should not jump to conclusions about another’s life. What he/she has suffered in the span of his/her life (like you and me). We all go through tough times in life. We all have our problems. But one thing is for sure, if we don’t help each other through them. who will?
“Think twice. Its another day for you and me in Paradise…”