5/16/15

Dignity!

My daughter was asked to write a speech for school about something they believe.  This is what she wrote:

        I believe in dignity for the homeless, which is something that I have been passionate about for a very long time.  When I was seven years old, we were in the middle of supper, and I had decided I did not like the meal.  My parents told me I needed to eat because there were children starving in Africa.  Of course my logical response was that if there were children starving in Africa that they could send my food to them.  Needless to say, this didn’t go over well, and my dad decided I needed to learn a lesson.  So the next week, he took me down to the Salvation Army to volunteer, and help serve the people who would appreciate any meal they could receive.  It was an eye-opener to say the least, and I loved volunteering there.  From then on, my family became very involved in street ministry, and running the street church.  I have grown up ministering to and hanging out with those struggling with addictions and people who are homeless.  I have seen the deep prejudice and disgust that many people hold or feel for the people on the streets.  I have heard a lot of people say “Why can’t they just get over it?” or “Why don’t they just get a job?” It’s not that simple.  People don’t normally choose to be homeless. They don’t choose to lose their job.  Obviously, their choices can lead to this happening, but sometimes life just throws a punch.  And once they get into that poverty cycle, it is very, very difficult to get out.

        I believe in dignity for the homeless because those living on the streets still deserve respect. The thing that bugs me when I hear people talking about the “homelessness problem” is that they don’t seem to see them as humans.  They are grossed out, or afraid, or annoyed, passing by them on the streets in a hurry.  Some people see the homeless as charity cases, and donate to big organizations, never actually going out and talking to those in need.  Now, I understand that sometimes it can be a little scary to be around the street people.  They can be smelly, unkempt, and violent.  I have been cursed at, seen fights break out, and shook hands with people who carry numerous diseases.  I have also seen them smile as they tell us their favorite food or their favorite memory as a child.  I have been given gifts from people who have nothing to give.  I have been encouraged and blessed by the same people who are cursed and avoided on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago, I shared a sermon with my dad at our church.  I was feeling extremely nervous, and wasn’t sure if I could do it.  A homeless lady that I had never met came in and handed me a flower, telling me I was beautiful.  Just that little gesture of kindness gave me the courage to carry on.

            I believe in dignity for the homeless because I am constantly seeing things like this.  There is one man in our church who has been attending for years, but generally was very angry and rude.  My younger brother began going over to him, sharing his snacks and trying to chat.  Eventually they formed a friendship, and now he has become very friendly and respectful.  All because someone took the time to reach out to him.

            I believe in dignity for the homeless because they all have a story.  Some of them are sad and tragic.  But if we take the time to listen, amazing things can happen.  Dignity is a powerful, and can transform people from feeling worthless, to treasured.  When we take time to pause a minute and say hello, we are acknowledging that they deserve respect.  Jesus never hesitated to spread himself among the people.  He reached out to the unloved.  We are called to do the same.  In the same way that he treated the poor with honor and respect, we should treat them with honor and respect.

She was also aslked to put together a multimedia presentation and this is what she came up with:

1 comment:

bcsmithereens said...

reblogged on bcsmithereens.wordpress.com

HA, I am so very proud of you! What a great article and presentation!