Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aping My Words

Pamela Tracy here and I'm thinking about the power of words.

Sunday afternoon my family - extended plus friends, sixteen of us - went to a baseball game.  The Diamondbacks against the Padres.  Alas, the Padres won .

After the game, we were heading for the parking garage and up ahead was a homeless man.  He was leaning against a wall, his bicycle there too, both scruffy.  He had a sign saying he was homeless.  He pinpointed my seven-year-old and his ten-year-old friend. 

"Got any change?"

The ten-year-old walked over and handed him the five dollar bill he'd brought to the game but not spent.

I'm walking behind them and not sure how I feel about the ten-year-old handing over money.

When we got into the car, my seven-year-old said, "Why did you give him money?  He might use it for drugs."

My son is aping my words.  He's been with me when people have asked for money and I've offered food - even going into a store to get it or driving through Mickey D's and coming back.

Yet, there was something poignant about the ten-year-old just giving without a thought. 


  1. Pamela, that was a touching story. It is always difficult knowing what to do when people ask you for money. My hubby once had a homeless guy ask for money, and hubby told the guy he would buy him some food. They went into KFC together, and my hubby bought himself and the man lunch. Hubby thought the man would disappear after getting the food, but instead, he joined my husband at the table. The guy didn't smell all that good, but he ate and talked. Besides the food, he wanted someone to talk to.

  2. Yeah, we usually go the food route, too. When we were in Vancouver and a lady asked us for money inside a sub shop, we offered to buy her a sub and drink, but she turned us down and started to walk out. When we pressed her, in the end, she agreed to a brownie, but nothing remotely healthy. Of course... at the moment I could really go for a brownie, too!

  3. Merrillee,
    I hate when people ask me for money because I always feel guilty if I don't hand some over. Where I live, because there's no winter, we have a huge homeless population.
    I think it's neat your husband and the homeless man sat down together.

  4. Sandra,
    I've had more people turn me down when I offer food than take it. I was at the grocery store once, and the woman outside - with a preschooler - asked for money. I offered to go in the grocery store and buy food. She said no. Then, she looked at her daughter and said, "unless it's McDonalds." There was no McDonalds nearby. I still came out and handed them a bag of Doritos.

  5. You're raising both of them very well. Though I'm happy you didn't try to interfere with your oldest gesture.
    Who knows what he felt to reach out and give?
    There's power in his gesture.
    And even if his five is misspent his gesture wasn't and that's the big blessing of the episode.

    “The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose. -Gandhi.”

  6. Teresa,
    I'd forgotten that Gandhi saying. How true. I guess the truth is, the ten year old is not jaded, but I am.