It truly takes a village to raise a child. As we age in years it seems to me that we stray farther and farther away from this concept. The evidence is in the fact that I can almost guarantee that you don’t know all of your neighbors who live within a thousand foot radius. That’s just the half of it. The other half lies in the fact that when we see someone doing wrong, especially a child, not only do we not attempt to assist or redirect the child, we don’t even bother to communicate with their parents; falsely adopting the concept of every man for himself or not wanting to intrude. There was a time when people cared for the well-being of others, even if they weren’t directly related to them.
Growing up I knew I had some of the best people around me who cared about my well-being and the interesting thing about it is none of them were my parents nor were they relatives. Not saying that my parents didn’t care, surely they did what they could with what they had for as long as they could. It’s just that since I was left to fend for myself at the age of thirteen, it seemed like the universe provided people who would sort of step in to redirect me in the way that I should go.
In middle school, due to the fact that I did not have two pennies to rub together, I was forced to wear the same clothes to school every day. No, back then schools did not have uniform policies; that sure would’ve made my life a lot easier. One day a teacher named Mrs. Tannenbaum asked me to stay after class for a few minutes to discuss something; I was certain I was in trouble for something. While I was an excellent student, my conduct wasn’t always the best. The bell finally rang, the classroom quickly cleared and the thunderous roar of the students rushing out of the classroom lowered to a deafening silence. Mrs. Tannenbaum asked me to sit and said, “You and my son are about the same size and he has some clothes that he no longer wears and I want you to have them.”
I was elated and shocked at the same time. I never knew that anyone cared and certainly didn’t know that anyone cared enough to do something about it. What shocked me the most was that she was willing to assist without judging or knowing the facts that lead to why I was wearing the same clothes to school every day. Oftentimes when we see someone in need, we automatically prejudge their circumstances and want to know why and how they got there. Understand that it doesn’t matter how they got there, what matters is if you’re willing to help them get to the next chapter.
I will never forget what Mrs. Tannenbaum did for me and it certainly has helped to foster the philanthropic spirit in me today. Judging is not reserved for man which is why I give without asking why. I give without wondering how they got to this point and I encourage you to do the same. She gave me hope in a better tomorrow because I knew at least one person cared. Be that one person who shows they care by giving to someone in need, you never know where it might lead them.
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