Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Protecting the Future

Much has been said about the economic stimulus package. Just over half of the American voters made it possible, while just under half of the American voters would not approve of it. Are we a country divided? Controversy swirls around us as bills are passed, predictions made, and the stock market reacts. America is facing the highest unemployment levels in recent memory and more lay-offs are projected. Our news outlets report doom and gloom while conservatives and liberals face off for debate. Everyone wants to secure our future.

But what future will be secure when 1 in 50 of our children are homeless? Yes, according to a report by the National Center on Family Homelessness issued March 10, 2009, there were 1.5 million homeless children in 2005-2006, and that number is rising.

It is interesting to note the study mentioned many homeless children come from families who lost their house, but the parents are working. Minimum wage jobs will not provide enough income for food, clothing, house, and other necessities. The report also states homeless children are far more likely than other children to experience hunger, suffer chronic health problems, repeat a grade in school, and eventually drop out of high school altogether.

So while politicians are busy giving themselves billions of dollars in earmarks, Wall Street brokers cry because their million-dollar bonuses are curtailed, union leaders push back, and bankers buy jets -- we are putting our children out on the streets.

What future will that insure?

Is it time for churches to step up and open free shelters, free education, free day care?


Kurt said...

Wrong question at the end of the article. "Free" is misused. Teaching our children to be responsible citizens with Christian governance is the solution. Anyone that expects someone else to take care of them has not received a very good basic Christian education. The government doesn't take care of you, your Christian faith does!

Anonymous said...

One thing regarding the homeless statistic... According to how the government classifies, over 1 million of these "homeless" children actually live with aunts and uncles, but due to the government classification of homeless, they are considered homeless. That by no means belittles the other hundreds of thousands that are homeless.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason people are talking about the homeless rate is because they know most people are against mortgage bailouts and they want to tug on people's heartstrings. What's more dangerous than the homeless numbers is having congress members passing stimulus bills without reading them.

Anonymous said...

The concern I have is that we now have a complete political machine who want to change our country into a dependent welfare state. Our president ran on "change". And it seems that media and higher ed organizations have brainwashed a sizable portion of the voters to believe that change, any change, is a good thing. When the then senator Obama said he planned to raise energy taxes to where "your" electric bills would "skyrocket", the voters either didn't care or didn't pay attention. His excuse is that carbon dioxide is warming the planet. Of course a few years ago, the fear was that we were heading for the next ice age. In reality, this global warming hoax is an excuse to raise taxes in a plan to make the entire country totally dependent on the government. We are heading to a situation similar to what moved the colonies to start the revolution. "Power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts." And I fear that our current "leaders" are assuming absolute power. If something isn't done to stop this, our country will soon be under the control of our enemies, because they will own our country. And the American dream will be over forever. Our generation is the first generation in the history of the US, who will see our children's standard of living to be poorer than ours. If Christians continue to be PC, the secular "leaders" will destroy this country.

agedwirehead said...

Being connected to ministries that would support these "homeless children, I find the 1.5 M statistic probably is candidate for the Baloney Shop.

There are real problems, and true homelessness is one of them, but not at this level. One of the real problems is the almost complete absence of God-fearing men in large segments of our society.

When you meet a family maintained by one grandmother who works three minimum wage jobs to support 12 to 15 children, some of which are related to her by blood and others not, and then find the next house is very similar, but the house next to that is where the pusher lives, then you can get a feel for one of our problems.

Soon, you discover that the house next to that is a "crack house" where the mothers of many of the children supported by the grandmother waste their life away.

There are all sorts of problems with this situation and many reasons that it exists.

Where are the men? They are in the crack house, in jail, prison, or the penitentiary, and one or two are dealing drugs on the corner. Or they are just off playing with younger women. It is absent father and the men on the corner that provide the example of how men act to the children in this neighborhood.

In this situation, the grandmothers are actually very protective of their charges. Most raise the children as Christians. They are faced with many do-gooders, especially the government and community-organizer type, who come in and lay down rules and count people and pontificate, but rarely help.

Getting these children fed and living in safe quarters seems like the greatest need these "families" have, and although I would not even tell you that these children get "3 squares", they do eat and grow. Watching them makes me know that I am more than well fed.

I also do not think that they live in "safety". Each year, some of these precious children die in house fires. The windows and doors of their home are often covered with plywood for safety and warmth, and there is only one egress. Some unfortunate item strays too close to the space heater and the house descends in flames.

If fire does not get them, the gunfire might. If they escape the stray bullets, they are less likely to escape the tempting wiles of the devil's representative, just a door or two away.

I have witnessed all of this.

But I am told by the men who have dedicated their lives to planting the seed of life into these souls that the greatest problem these children face are the hours of 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

In these hours (dirt poor and many more fortunate) children find themselves totally at their own devices. At this time, the Devil is quietly seeking out these children and wreaking havoc on their souls.

It is at this time when the children are truly homeless and most vulnerable.

The prosperous among us, if we look at these children, may see economic problems and assume that solving that problem will eliminate all the others. Many of these folks can be induced to give considerable funds if you just explain that American society is breeding its own population of Huns to sweep into Rome and destroy it. Thus more do-gooders are able, for a little while, to make the grandmothers' lives a little more difficult.

When will I realize that the problem isn't in the economic situation, but within me?

The problem isn't that these children don't have bicycles. They don't have the means to store them, lock them, maintain them. The problem is that I won't look at them.

At work, do I have the slightest idea about the grandmother that cleans my office? Does she support children? Do I look at her? Do I talk with her? Do I ask her what she needs? Do I anticipate her needs?

When I go to the drive-in for a hamburger, is there one of these grandmothers cooking for me?

Do I have a single mother that works in my office?

And do I respect her herculean effort to care for her charges? Do I forgive her for her momentary lapses?

The problem is with me. I want to insulate myself from these issues. My home is a respite from these folks. My TV delivers pablum. My neighborhood is clear of poor folks. My car keeps out the heat, the cold, the dust, and the varmits. My office is "secure".

One of the churches in one of the blighted areas here has a very telling sign out front these days. "If you want change, look to Jesus." I drive by it most days.

I pray for Jesus to change my heart and through that to change the heart of at least one child lost to Satan.

And may God grant that you will pray similarly, and may He bless all who read this and comment in these blogs.