Tag Archives: helping

Giving

“Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and
brighten someone’s day.”
Richelle E. Goodrich from Smile Anyway:

Today I have a question for you.

Do you give your spare $20 to one man or do you give a little to several?

This has been bothering me as I walk through town today.  I took the train to town and as I got off, I saw a young man sitting in the underpass with a sign asking for help to get to see his daughter.

I stopped to speak to him and he told me his daughter was 2 yesterday and he needed help for the train fare to get there and back.  He was 17 years old and unemployed.    He was very respectful and blessed me when I gave him $2.  He said the little girl lived with her grandparents as the mother was still at school.  He acknowledged they had made a mistake but loved his child and was glad they had her.

I walked away feeling pleased that I could help him even if only in a small way, but later the question rose and lingered.  I don’t have an answer, do you?

There are more and more young people looking for help.  Some are raising money to go on a school trip, some are looking for money for food and some, like his young man, need a little help for a particular reason.  I know we can’t help them all, but we can help some.

One Year On

 

“What a bargain grandchildren are!
I give them my loose change and they give me
a million dollars worth of pleasure.”
Gene Perret, American Comedy Writer

One of the reasons I started on my blogging journey was to record my thoughts and activities for my grandsons so they would know what the Granma was about in her later years.  One of things I love about blogging on an almost daily basis is that it gives me the ability to look back and clearly see what I was doing and thinking earlier.

Today, July 20 I looked back a whole year ago and discovered Happy Granma’s Day.  Did you read it when I was a very new blogger with few followers – here’s the link in case you didn’t.

Re reading this post made me smile.  What a lovely day we had all together.  The boys enjoyed it as much as their Granma did I am sure.

The patio is now completely finished of course, and looks totally different and I am so glad that I had the boys to help.

Three boys

Child labour?

Rob

Rob beavering away but can’t we afford shoes?

Two boys working

James and Jae

Lotte helping too

And four extra hands are welcome

The boys are all a year older.  The eldest is leaving school this year and going on to University, the others are all moving through their school journey.   All four of them are busy and active in a variety of sports, and some times, when they are playing close to home, I even get to watch.

I enjoyed this look back one year to experience once again that fabulous day.  Thank you boys for making it so special!

Thanks

“Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves,
without rebuke or effort to change us,
as no one in our entire lives has ever done,
not our parents, siblings, spouses,
friends – and hardly ever
our own grown children.
~Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Over the years I have heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished.  This is a sardonic commentary reflecting on good deeds that backfire on the donor. One such good deed made The Times in London when the journalist stated

“Seldom in the field of clerical administration has one woman given so much of herself to a car dealership.”

Our newspapers, television and radio are full of the story of the woman who gave a kidney to her immediate supervisor and then shortly afterwards was dismissed from her job.  This should be a lesson to all those selfless people out there who are considering offering a body part to an employer or supervisor.  Your generosity will not be appreciated and may even be thrown back in your face, as in this case where the recipient of the kidney said to the donor “Don’t expect to be treated special because of what you did for me”.

I shall be watching the outcome of the lawsuit filed against the employer.  If the plaintiff wins maybe there will be a swathe of people offering body parts and then suing the recipient.  Reasons quoted could include lack of suitable appreciation in the form of gifts; if it was an employer no extra or special favours at work eg extra vacation time or even paid vacations (3 weeks in Hawaii at their expense); no notice in the local paper as to who made this happen; no special party to celebrate coming back to full health with the donor as guest of honour.  The list could go on and on.

On this day in 1773 The British Parliament passed the Tea Act.  This Act forced Colonists to buy tea from the East India Company that controlled all tea imported into the colonies.  Direct action by a group calling itself the Sons of Liberty in Boston resulted in the tea contained in three trading ships being destroyed.  We are told by Wikipedia that “this was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution”.

On this day in 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened.  The American Society of Civil Engineers declared it one of the modern Wonders of the World and  Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world.

On this day in 1989 Beijing students took over Tiananmen Square in China.  In case you are too young to know about this thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform.  By mid May hundreds of thousands of people occupied the Square.  Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and on June 3rd  tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead.

On this day in 2011 a lashing string of tornadoes tore through Alabama smashing buildings, snapping trees and ending at least 58 lives.

And now at 12.19 am I realise that I have missed the midnight deadline and so this post will be published on the 28th.

I’m late! I’m late!
For a very important date!
No time to say “Hello”, goodbye!
I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!

Wrung Out

“When it’s too hard to look behind at the past
and it’s too difficult to look forward to the future
look to the side and you will see a friend.”
Judith Baxter, blogger and friend 1938 –

It is the end of a long, hard day here and wrung out describes exactly how I feel.

I have a couple of friends with major problems in their lives at present and usually I feel honoured that they can confide in me, knowing that even if I can’t help I will listen.

Well today started off well – a lazy Sunday morning, a cup of tea in bed, conversation and breakfast with a friend and then a telephone call that set the pace and the terms for the rest of the day.

My friend is hurt and angry at the way her children are behaving and unfortunately, there is nothing I can do or say to help her.  I just have to be there for her.

So having arrived home I am going to curl up with a good book and after reading  Jackie Cangro’s  Friday Five Post in which she told us

This is my all-time favorite comfort meal: grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s quick and easy to make and tastes oh-so-good. And I always feel happy when I eat it. Sometimes I doctor the soup and add herbs or veggies, as I did here, but I also love plain Jane tomato soup. Some purists insist on only cheddar cheese in the sandwich, but I like to get fancy. Fontina, gouda, mozzarella? Bring it on.  soup and a cheese sandwich for dinner and tomorrow my world will be back on an even keel again.”

I am going to open a can of chicken soup (sorry Jackie no tomato soup on hand and too bushed to get in the car and drive to the supermarket).   With the soup I shall have a toasted cheese sandwich.  Maybe not what the nutritionists would approve but for this ‘wrung out’ elderly lady it is exactly what is needed.  So thank you Jackie.

And tomorrow as Jackie says, my world too will be back on an even keel and I shall be ready to lend a helping/listening ear to my very good friend.

2 old ladies

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
Lao Tzu

Just Another Scam

I had an interesting unsettling experience when sitting in the car in the supermarket carpark the other day.  My friend had gone in to do the shopping for both of us.  Aside – supermarket shopping is not my favourite activity so another good thing came out of this accident.

I was quietly sitting and contemplating the people coming and going into the supermarket when a young woman knocked on the car window.  She had seen Lotte and wanted to know if she bit and whether she could hold her.  Well, I am very used to this reaction to my little dog  and so I said “No” she didn’t bite and “Yes” she could hold her.  So I was about to bring Lotte into the front seat ready to put her out of the car (on her lead of course) for this woman to pat her.

At that moment the back door of the car was opened and the young woman climbed into the car.  I was amazed but not particularly worried at that time.

She fussed Lotte and then regaled me with her tale of woe.  Apparently she had come to Wellington from Auckland for New Year celebrations and had her purse/backpack/whatever stolen.  This bag had held her plane tickets and according to her $4,000 in cash.  The latter was a trifle hard to believe but…

She then told me that she had slept on the street for two nights and hadn’t eaten.  Did I have any food?

She told me she had been to the Police to make a report but they couldn’t give her a bed because she hadn’t committed a crime.  Flags sprung up – NZ police would not have put this woman (who later told me she was 6 months pregnant) out onto the street.  They would have found her a bed or at least put her in touch with the Salvation Army or the City Mission.Wellington City MissionShe followed up this gem with the fact that neither the SA nor the CM were open because of the holidays.  That of course is rubbish as there is an emergency number for each of these services in the phone book.

She sat in the car for a while, expanding on her tale of woe.  She had the name of the ex City Missioner, asked if I knew him and whether I thought he would help.

She asked whether I could give her $5 or $10 for a phone card.  She told me, following my enquiry, that her parents were not answering the phone and calls were going to voicemail and the same answer came when I asked about the grandparents whom she had  talked about earlier.  Note – she didn’t tell me how she had called these numbers having no money.

She wondered if I could let her have the money for the plane fare and assured me that her parents would reimburse me – Oh Yeah!

After more of the same I convinced her to go to the service desk of the supermarket and ask to use their phone and to call the ex City Missioner.  I do know this man well (he had officiated at my daughter’s wedding and my husband’s funeral) and he has been a friend for 40 plus years.  I knew if she managed to contact him he would certainly point her in the right direction

As soon as she left I locked all the car doors.  I was feeling quite vulnerable with only one good leg.  Had it been any other time I would have got out of the car immediately she got in and would have insisted that she did so too.

So my question is – Was this another scam or should I have done more to assist this young woman?  What do you think?

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco
(née Asquith)
1897 – 1945
English writer.

Yesterday – A day Without a Post

On Monday evening I received the news that a good friend had died.  It was not altogether unexpected as he had been in and out of hospital quite a lot in recent months and always came out cheerful and looking ready to continue with his place in the world.  But not this time.

And yesterday I spent time with the widow.  How that brought back those early hours and days when my husband died.  And even though I have been there, in that self same situation,there was no way I could really understand just what she was going through.  We have to come to terms with the death of somebody so loved, and so close , each in our own way.

I phoned early in the morning and got the answerphone and it brought this poem by Michael Laskey to mind.

“After he died he went on speaking
On the ansaphone: he’d apologize
For being out and ask us to leave
Our names and messages after the tone.
At first we couldn’t, we just hung up, ….”
From Life After Death by Michael Laskey
English poet. 1944 –

How often in the months following my husband’s death did I find something that was so full of him that it brought a fresh wave of grief and tears?  A slip of paper on which he had written himself a note, a card I had given him on a celebration day that he had used as a bookmark, his notebook with his writing, his Cross pen that always went everywhere with him.

It is always the little things that undo us.  We think we are strong and coping and then something small happens and we are right back into that trough of despair that we thought we were climbing out of.

So what could I do to help?  I cooked a fillet of beef so that it could be there for when people call in to express their condolences.  I remember my daughter-in-law saying how much she appreciated those gifts of ready prepared food in the days and weeks following my husband’s death.

It was too soon to exchange remembrances of her husband and so I could only sit with her and hold her when the tears came.

I found that those friends who just came and sat with me, speaking only if I wanted them to, were those that helped most at that time.

So I shall go back today to see what I can do, if anything, to help.  And sit with her while she processes what has happened in her mind and somehow gets herself ready to face the months and years ahead.  There will be time for memories to surface and for laughter to accompany most of them in the months ahead.  But for now I shall just be with her.


Paying it forward – A Cascade of Cooperation

“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed.  A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”~
Amelia Earhart 1897 – 1937, American aviation pioneer and author.

Many of you may have seen the movie ‘Pay It Forward’ based on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  Some like me, will have read the book.

This is a moving story about Trevor McKinney a 12-year-old boy in a small town.  His teacher gives the class a challenge and a chance to earn extra credit.  They have to come up with a plan to change the world for the better.  And they must put the plan into action.

Trevor does a favor for three people and when they ask how they can pay him back he tells them that instead of paying him back they should pay it forward.  They need to choose three people for whom they can do a favor and then tell those people to pay it forward.  I have seen it described as a human chain letter.

One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone does something for even one other person then the cycle begins and like a pebble in a pond, will grow exponentially.  Hopefully in this way we can become better people with the world a better place in which to live.

In a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 22 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote:

“I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you  meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.”

But one person can make a difference and the ripple effect can go on and on.  Look at this video to see how one man’s action started a chain reaction that changed the lives of seven other people.

I was reminded of this yesterday.  I had parked in town and thought I should be longer than I actually was.  When I returned to my car there was still 45 minutes unused on the ticket.  I offered it to the person waiting to take my park.  This woman was amazed that I would do this.  I suggested that in future if she found herself in the same situation she give the unused portion of parking to another person.  Hopefully she will do so.  Imagine the ripples of something this small.

Then think of other things to do.  I am a very active senior and so I can get about and do things for myself.  But others are not so lucky.

  • Can I take them to the store or go to the store for them?
  • Can I pick up somebody from my street who is walking to the store?
  • Can I pay for the coffee of another person in the store?
  • Can I put some change in a parking meter (we still have them in some streets in our city) when I see that the meter is expired?
  • Can I drive somebody to a doctor’s appointment – or a dentist or whatever?

The list is endless.  And none of these things cost a lot of money.

And what about volunteering?  Every charitable organization needs volunteers.  How can you help?  Can you give time to serve meals; read stories; help people in the final stages of their life write their stories?  There are plenty of things we can each do to make this a better time and place.

And if in helping somebody, that deed is recognized and passed on, we have made a start in the right direction.

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.  ~Author Unknown

And another quote from my favorite author Lewis Carroll but this time from ‘Through the Looking Glass”

“Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

And here is a gift for all of you who will pay it forward today:

Bouquet of roses