I was thinking the other day about “foundations” and how we build those at such a young age … at least that’s what is suppose to happen. Our foundation for respecting authority, living by the laws of the land, saving, integrity, even eating habits are formed in our early years…again, hopefully. However if a parent doesn’t know how to “eat” properly themselves how are they going to teach a child? What if they think it’s “easier” (path of least resistance) to give the child what THEY want versus what’s best for them? Perhaps it would be EASIER to just throw some cement down for a foundation, but how will you build a “stable house” on top of a foundation laid that way? Perhaps you’d rather not deal with hearing the fits, rage and seeing the “crocodile tears” Maybe you don’t want to bend down all day in the hot sun to lay the cement the way it should lay…but if you didn’t do either, what’s the end result? Perhaps if you don’t want to deal with what you have to deal with to “lay the foundation” you shouldn’t take on that kind of “job” …duh. It’s simple logic, right? Seems like you’d know that about yourself.
I pictured this foundation in my mind of the way a good solid foundation should look. What would happen if someone came in with a jack hammer and began to bust it up, gouge deep holes in it, all the while expecting to continue to build on it? Obviously this wouldn’t be a good foundation to build on, but let’s say it was built on (as life is…you build on WHATEVER has been laid) and you began to build a frame on top, nail boards into place to “stabilize it” to make it “look okay on the surface.” Then decorate it with some candy…I mean, paint. Ah, that looks nice. At least on the outside. Hum…time to finish the walls. But wait. You have no tools (because you refused to accept the tools given to build the house), so Little Miss Independent decides “by God, I’ll build this house!” and she begins to stack bricks. She can carry them, she’s strong. One by one she stacks them up…as far as SHE can reach (because she refused the ladder, she refuses help – at least the type of help she REALLY needs, not what she THINKS she needs). What happens to those walls? Of course, they will tumble and perhaps hurt her coming down, as well as whoever else is standing near or “in the house.” Maybe she knows she’s not skilled enough to build the house. She has her own way of doing things you know. So she takes cover on rainy days elsewhere and on sunny days “she’s carefree” running around being young, having fun and …she’ll get back to building the house someday. When? At 30? Do people just wake up to a perfectly built home with all their belongings in place? No, that’s a process..and we must go through the process “early” … while there’s an opportunity – it’s through that process we gain reinforcement and the “cement dries.” We don’t have parents to “boss us around” we have parents to guide us, teach us, instruct us, discipline us and help us…among other things. If parents aren’t doing that and aren’t INSISTING their children behave when they are young (starts WAY before 5) …shame on them. Children must rely on parents as the “general contractor” in their lives and understand they have some “tools” they need to accomplish building.
I was using this little parable for the parent that has ALL the tools a child needs, has offered to let them use them, instructed them how, provided guidance, attempted to teach…and the child still REFUSES to learn. A parent that has a business and wants to “pass their son or daughter the keys” one day BUT…are they trust worthy of those keys? Have they lived a credible, responsible life to obtain them? Should it be given if they’ve lived a reckless life? Children may have so many “tools” available but they may refuse to use them. They refuse to “collect” the money from the bank, they refuse to make any effort for their own well-being and yet complain about not having “what the Jones have.” Well the Jones earned it! Isn’t it comparable in a weird way of throwing a big fit and having a parent “give to you … just because you’re their child?!” If you step into “build the house for them” and meet ALL their needs according to THEIR wishes, you are doing them a disservice to say the least. It isn’t your job, to “accommodate” and build the house while they sip lemonade in the shade nor can you build it alone, it takes their participation. They say the best time to learn a new language is between birth and 5 years old. Hum…if that’s the BEST time to “learn a language” then wouldn’t it be the best time to “lay a foundation?!”
I’ve worked with the homeless off and on over the years. I did so more while living in Houston Texas. I found there are many people on the streets for many reasons. A small percentage will come out of it and never go “there again” — many will return, many will die, many will “use the system” as long as they can. Then there are those who have truly had a tragic misfortune or ran from abuse (because the street IS better than a bat or being battered without bruises) and will be okay.
I always look twice and say to myself “…but for the grace of God there go I.” I always think “this is someone’s precious daughter or son” no matter how old they are, they are someone’s son or daughter. I’ve always thought about the mother and her broken heart. Especially if “she’s the contractor” who tried “supervising and handing tools” I wonder if she’s still …spending time on her knees not scrubbing a floor but praying for them.
So sad, because you see it was “so easy.” A Mother carries them for 9 months, carries them to the bed and tucks them in. She takes them on her shoulders and plays, then tragically she has to carry them to the grave and lay them to rest, only this time … it’s not nap time. Why? Because that sweet child became an adult who refused to “use the tools” and take guidance.
Perhaps those mothers see a young girl, with the same color hair, the same type of body frame and their heart leaps…they wonder, is that her? Is she coming home? Is she okay? If you’ve been a parent you know what it feels like to have “Little Miss Independent” run from you in a store and hide! Oh my, how you panic…your heart stops, you feel like crying but you can’t…your thinking so you yell for her … walking around in a hurry to find her. This puts hunting for Easter eggs to shame! You call for the store manager to “Seal the Store!” … then you find her, laughing and playing with “something interesting” she found on her journey in the store. Sigh of relief, you’re torn between spanking her bottom, giving her a lecture or just embracing her to say “I’m glad you’re okay, but never do that again…someone could take you.”
Then she grows up, the city is much bigger than the store and you still wonder no matter how old, “Is she okay?” Does someone have her? Panic sometimes rushes through your heart and you cry to the “store manager”…”Oh God, please take care of her…I can’t see her but you know where she is!”
Yes, that homeless person IS someone’s child. Perhaps she huffed and puffed and blew her house down due to independence, anger, addiction, un-forgiveness, pride, refusing to use those tools, rebellion against everything and everyone in authority or simply just everyone in her life. Many things can lead to this, but ultimately an adult has to be responsible for their actions, choices and change.
I remember “Gloria” who lived with me. I’ll never forget her. She was a prostitute who wanted off the streets. She’d never had a foundation, she was about 25 years older than I was and she called me “Mom.” She ended up wanting to go back to “the streets” and I tearfully drove her back to downtown Houston. It’s all she knew, it’s where she wanted to be. Obviously if she’d been 5..the answer would have been “No, have a fit if you want, but you’re not going.” She was killed within a month after returning. I was so so so sorry to hear this news. Yet, I realize we can’t MAKE an adult do what we want. We all have choices and our choices get us to where we are. “The Parent” made a choice, the child makes a choice, the builders of our lives make choices. God himself gave us the right to make choices. So we wait for “The Prodigal” to return.
Check into the following if you’re interested in working, volunteering or donating to “The Homeless.”
Reston Interfaith is the place to go for shelter & job search
Graceful Spaces works hand in hand with Reston Interfaith and decorates homes if/when people make it to “Stage 3” of being “under the wing” (so to speak) of Reston Interfaith. Graceful Spaces acquires household items to make a home a home and when they come to a place of departure (from Reston Interfaith) and move on out of the shelters…they take ALL the belongings with them that have been donated. Extra You has a client who redid her entire closet. She went from regular plastic hangers to Slim Line throughout so we gave over 400 coat hangers to them.
Herndon-Reston FISH is another place we like to donate, because whatever they sell goes back into the local community to help pay electric bills as well as other needs.
McLean Bible church has a great outreach and Suited for Change is another great local organization. “Dress for Success” helps people all over the world and are located in various cities, states and countries. They also “partner” with local businesses to help people with various business needs – other than just dress, like direction!
Fellowship of Lights, is in Baltimore MD and Sasha Bruce in DC offers a shelter for girls up to 17 years old and then you might check out “Central Union Mission”