We Used To Take Care of Our Own

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Growing up in middle America suburbia I was no stranger to bad things happening to good people.  An Uncle died in his mid 30s leaving my Aunt with little job skills with three kids to raise.  Until she got on her feet financially, thanks to a wonderful woman at the phone company at the time, extended family helped with expenses and child rearing.  When another Uncle lost his job in the coal mines the local parish priest reached out to local businessmen.  An owner of a bakery gave my Uncle a job as a route driver.  A job that was much better and enabled him to continue a middle class living.  When my mother's friend's husband became sick and unable to work, my mother got her a job in the administration office at the hospital where my mother worked.  Mrs. Bateman, the friend, went on to become the finance manager for that hospital.


In the 60s and 70s we were willing and able to take care of our own.  People that meet with misfortune were quickly restored to their standard in life through the goodness and efforts of extended family, community, friends and churches.  No one ended up destitute or homeless. 


Today we expect government to fulfill that role.  However, government isn't very good at it and usually fails.  Not to mention doesn't have the local resources to make people whole.  What government tends to do is force people to become dependent upon the nanny state, a very inferior way of life.


Today, people are squired away in their mighty homes absorbed by the "box."  Few know the economic terror a neighbor or friend might be going through.  For those that are subject to an involuntary firing they often feel alone and ashamed.  Communities are no longer the safe haven that comfort and heal the afflicted.


It should not surprise us the soaring suicide and death from drug abuse rates.  Also the rise in seemingly mental instability and deterioration of physical health.  "Counseling" won't solve these problems, returning those impacted to good paying jobs will.  Sadly, I see no movement within communities or even families to take care of their own.  We've reached a world in which if the economic grim reaper comes to get you, you might find yourself on your own.  This is particularly true for those over 50, the first to go and the very, very last to be hired despite years of experience and pedigree degrees.  Welcome to the world of "Future Shock."


Some might have a spouse to lean on but from what I've seen the cut down to one paycheck takes a financial and emotional toll on the family.  College age children no longer receive any parental support, friends are lost, favorite activities are gone.




Tom C. Purcell Added Nov 6, 2017 - 10:37am
IMHO, George, the observations you make here are not only accurate, but they're a result of corruption and ineptitude in government.  Also, whether by design or as byproduct, the concept and function of American Christianity and community has been perforated and soiled by unchecked immigration, among other issues.
Dino Manalis Added Nov 6, 2017 - 11:14am
We should help each other avoid government assistance and dependence!
Ari Silverstein Added Nov 6, 2017 - 1:35pm
Whatever you experienced in terms of people taking care of their own, is the exception and not the norm.  I know this to be true because in every community I’m familiar with there are destitute and homeless people who rely on the government for their well-being. Regardless of how you think things used to work, what do you suggest be done about destitute and homeless people?
George N Romey Added Nov 6, 2017 - 3:29pm
First have mental health professionals determine which people have impeding issues and which ones have been thrown a bad curve. Instead of well intention people giving to large usually bureaucracy driven organizations sponsor a person direct. Cover essentials and expenses until that person can gain solid financial grounding while maintaining their dignity and not thrown into the system which makes the already difficult situation worse,
Dave Volek Added Nov 6, 2017 - 4:49pm
Great article George.
I have put myself in the position of having to take care of relatives' kids should something happen. All I can say it would cause a great disruption in our household stability. 
I think we are more conscious of the importance to a well functioning family unit than we used to be. That might be a good reason for the changing trend.
Again, I don't have any answers.
Katharine Otto Added Nov 6, 2017 - 7:12pm
A lot of complex factors in play here.  I agree people have come to expect the government to do what community, relatives, friends, and churches did in the past.  The nanny state has undermined incentive to do for ourselves and each other.  
There's also the fact that people are more transient now, so communities are not so stable as before.  There's a lot that could be done, with a minimum of cost, but bureaucratic and legal hassles stop initiative before it takes root.
Katharine Otto Added Nov 6, 2017 - 7:18pm
I think homeless people should be allowed to sleep on park benches and other public land.  Tax-free churches should open doors to allow homeless people to sleep on pews on cold or rainy nights.  In fact, I think public land should be open to the public, including schools, government buildings, and libraries.  Within reason, of course.  Homeless people are taxpayers, too, even if they only buy food.  
The VA should be providing housing for homeless vets.
wsucram15 Added Nov 6, 2017 - 9:10pm
George..I havent changed.  I help everyone, I always have.
Its people and times that have changed.  As things become more desperate so do the people and they dont care who they hurt.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 6, 2017 - 9:43pm
KO sez: There's also the fact that people are more transient now, so communities are not so stable as before.- Think you've hit on an important point.  The last neighbor org here had 50% move within a few years of the group being formed.  Too few "replacements" care about the neighborhood as long as property values keep going up.
Mike Haluska Added Nov 7, 2017 - 11:02am
George - great article!
When I was growing up it was quite common for grandparents to live in the home of one of their grandchildren.  My mother died when I was a baby and my paternal grandmother took in all six children and my father.  To her, breaking up the family was not an option and I thank God for her every day.
I realize there are times when illness requires a facility suited to handle the challenges.  But I think that a lot of wisdom and love is simply "shelved" by a lot of narcissistic people simply looking to unload their responsibility onto someone else. 
wsucram15 Added Nov 7, 2017 - 10:03pm
Katharine..your right..but instead they install spikes in underpasses so they cant hide from the weather. 
I cant begin to tell you the horrible things that happen to people over a tent, shoes, socks even. Its sad.
Its much worse than people realize, not as bad as it was..but its still bad.
Katharine Otto Added Nov 7, 2017 - 11:06pm
Jeff M.,
Rising property values may make people care more about the neighborhood (in terms of keeping litter under control and the like), but not necessarily about the neighbors. 
Katharine Otto Added Nov 7, 2017 - 11:07pm
Isn't that sad?  Who benefits from such cruelty?
opher goodwin Added Nov 8, 2017 - 6:12am
George - I think when you pack people together in huge numbers you lose that community feel. We become isolated. My own family and friends are spread thin around the world following careers. There is no longer that community cohesion.
The government is there to provide a much needed safety net. It doesn't do a very good job of it - too much bureaucracy and not enough caring.
Some people scam the system and some desperate people get destroyed by it. It should help people to get back on their feet not make them dependent.
James E. Unekis Added Nov 8, 2017 - 2:47pm
Good article.  This is written of in Mathew 24:12.  "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Don't let anyone shame you about dwelling in the past.  The love manifest by communities when I was growing up in the 60's really did exist and should be applauded.  Tying a calendar or a clock to moral relevance is twisted logic.