Needs Help? Should You Give A Man A Fish?

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homeless needs help

What do you do when someone needs help?

I moved recently, and yesterday I went shopping in my new town.  I saw a man sitting on the curb with a sign for money. His sign read, “Moving to Montana, Need Help.”  I thought to myself, “How did he get there?” I remember asking myself the same question once when I realized that I was not paying attention to what was happening around me and I needed to make changes. So, I did. I suppose the man on the curb is either lazy or doesn’t realize that he is the designer of his own destiny, and has personal power to change his circumstances. I know it’s not easy, but it’s possible. As long as you know that and you believe it is a true belief (no faking or denial or pretending) than those wonderful things can happen.

I like to use the “ice cream” analogy. Let’s say that you love ice cream and your favorite is vanilla. Then one day, you get to sample strawberry and you find that it is by far the most wonderful flavor you have ever had. Up until that point, you didn’t know that strawberry ice cream existed. So how can you believe in something that you don’t even know exists? The problem is that until you witness wonderful things, it is easy to get stuck in that belief that “This is all that life has to offer.” It simply is not true. Life offers abundance and joy, but it has to be a belief and you have to take action to claim it. When you really think about it, I would guess that “claimers” fall into a small category.

A while ago, I used to be very judgmental about “panhandlers.” Where I lived, people made a living doing it and the complaints reached a level that the city “banned” panhandling people because they were collecting money tax free and loitering. I was the worst when it came to judging and criticizing them.

“They should be working.”

“They are just bums.”

“They are lazy.”

“They are only going to use the money for cigarettes or alcohol.”

My judgments were based on weighing whether I should hand them a dollar bill or whatever I can offer when someone needs help.

My outlook on life has drastically changed. When I realize someone needs help and I ever find myself thinking such shallow, judgmental, ignorant thoughts, I pursue education.  I researched and learned as much as I could and found out that my perception was flawed. An educated person ceases to judge because there is no point to it.

I’m not here to judge him or his life, but I would speculate that he feels that asking for money is the best he can do for now.  That may be true. So, did I give him any money? Yes, I did. I told him, “You have a good day sir.” I really don’t care if anyone has their opinion about that. I see people everywhere losing their homes and jobs. I decided a while ago that I am not to judge how they got there but to help, even in a little way.

I am a teacher and I truly believe, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” However, sometimes people just need a little encouragement and help when they are stuck in a terrible rut.  I would think that everyone at some time reaches a point that feels that bad.  It is their business of how they use that dollar once you hand it over. It is a gift and you have no say once you make the decision to give.

What do you do when someone needs help?


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12 thoughts on “Needs Help? Should You Give A Man A Fish?

  1. Hi Raena,

    I believe that offers a lesson in every experience. Whether it becomes a lesson or simply another experience is subject to the awareness within us.

  2. Theuns says:

    Hi Raena

    what a great post.

    you did give me a new way of thinking about people
    standing on street corners asking for a fish. 🙂

    I think we must keep in mind to be grateful also
    because it could be me or you standing there if we
    did not know better. If you give a fish on that moment
    you help someone he can not give back to you but
    the universe can.

    Thanks a lot for this new inside you give us.


    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Theuns,

      You are the King of Gratitude! I’m glad you appreciated this story. I must admit that I’ve changed so much once I realized the hardships some people must experience in their lives, sometimes by their own doing and sometimes due to circumstances out of their control. We are not to judge how they got there. Take care and I can see The Gratitude Game coming soon and your Opus will materialize!

      Raena Lynn

  3. Marc Korn says:

    Hi Raena,

    You are a giving and caring person and nobody can ever fault you for that.

    I have heard too many stories about individuals that were gainfully employed and hard working and then lost their jobs, their homes, their families.

    Sometimes, circumstances ARE out of our control and people just need a kind word or a kind gesture to give them hope.

    What I find objectionable are the individuals that have the ability and the time and the resources and choose to be lazy and not exercise their options.

    For those people that always want things handed to them and are not willing to learn new things or make an effort… that I do not have patience or tolerance for.

    As long as someone tries to make an honest effort and learn what they need in order to make their lives better, I applaud them.

    You can improve yourself, your mindset and your life in many ways… you just have to be willing to be positive and make the decision to commit and have a strong desire to make those changes one day at a time.

    Keep inspiring us,

  4. Yorinda

    Hi Raena,

    those are powerful contemplations.
    Yes, I believe we don’t know why people are where they are.
    Sometimes that dollar or whatever we give may be all they need to ‘get them back on the road’.
    I agree with you that once we give something it is up to them how they use it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give people something that would help them to move into abundance consciousness and find ways to generate abundance.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  5. I live in rural Alberta, and I don’t see panhandlers. It would be easy to make judgments about them, without really knowing. It’s so true we don’t know how any particular individual got where he is… and it isn’t always easy to tell if he’s spent the past 10 years looking for handouts, or if he just needs a boost right now so he can take his first faltering steps toward success.

    What we do have around here is stray or runaway cats and dogs. Even now, as I type, there is a beautiful young female dog camped under our deck, where she’s been for the past 3 days. Does she belong to a farm a couple of miles away, and has simply strayed too far from home to know her way back? That’s happened before. Or was she dumped by an irresponsible owner? We don’t know yet.

    The question for us is… Do we feed her? “NO!!!” say some members of the family. “If you feed her, she won’t leave!!”

    Well, she isn’t leaving anyway. And a dog is helpless in finding food out in the country, half a mile from the nearest neighbour, as we are. My strategy is to starve her for a day or so, but if she’s still here after that, I feed her. And in the meantime, try to figure out a way to find out if someone is looking for her.

    Animals… people… in need. Are they so very different? It’s a tough decision, and one that has to be made on a case by case basis, I think.

    I’m glad you gave the man some money. 🙂

    Willena Flewelling

  6. crescele says:

    i agree with you. we are the designer of our own destiny. though it would be hard to change the course of our life, we can’t hide the fact that it is still possible to do a thing. you have a unique way of expressing your thought in this post. 🙂

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Stevie,

      I agree with you about we are the designer of our own destiny. “Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” ~ Marcus Aurelius.

      Raena Lynn

  7. Jonathan says:

    There is really nothing wrong with helping people in difficult situations. i think that if we are the ones who have something to share, then we should. I am sure that when the time comes when we are the ones who would need help, people would come to us too..

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Jonathan,

      I agree! This is the season of giving and we need to be grateful for what we have and help others when they are in need. I think everyone has a time in their life when they truly need help, and people in general have good hearts. We see so much negativity presented to us on a daily basis. It is much more beneficial to focus on the amazing contribution that individuals and organizations do for others in need. Thanks for your visit!

      Raena Lynn

  8. Nile

    Normally I get the people who ask for money for food. Instead, I offer to take them to the grocery store to get $20 worth of food. I have encountered many panhandlers that abuse others kindness so I just do not give money out unless it is me spending for someone…that way I know it is not going to drugs and that they do have food at least.

    I have met some “bums” who begged for money and they made $2500 a day on the streets of Washington DC and went home in a Mercedes to a big house. No joke! So I am a bit cautious.

    The economy is not that great right now and it is unfortunate to see people lose their jobs, but definitely… we can choose to make something of our own lives if we put our whole selves into it. And yes, you are right, sometimes people need a little encouragement

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Nile,

      Unfortunately, there are “bums” out there who abuse kindness. I think all of us need to decide how we want to involve ourselves and sometimes it is very difficult. I think most people innately want to help their fellow man but because of the few that abuse, it hurts the chances for others who truly need help. I suppose we can simply take it case by case as you expressed. Thanks for visiting my blog:)

      Raena Lynn

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