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Voice of Reason

Eric is my reason and I am using my voice to stop the violence!

My Perspective

My Perspective

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES(originally posted July 5, 2015)

Posted on September 4, 2015 at 8:35 AM

The World is full of opportunity. Those that go without do so by choice. They choose to have that low income job, they choose to live on the street, or they choose to live in squalor. Why can’t they get up off their lazy butts and start working, start caring for their families, start caring for themselves? We all have the same starting point. It is those of us that are driven that make it and the lazy ones lose out.

Do I have your attention? Are you laying on your couch right now feeling sorry for yourself? I am writing this from my luxury apartment in Los Angeles. This could be you if only you would do something with yourself.

I mean really we are all the same, it is just what path we choose to take. Right? WRONG!!!!!!!!There are those that decide for themselves to play victim or not to work to their potential and achieve very little gratifyingly, socially, or financially. They are not content to live as they are but will do nothing to help themselves out of it. These people tax my patience.

There is however a very large portion of the population that have no choices or are too sick to see beyond making it from morning until evening. These are the ones with mental illness that have been kicked out of facilities because of cutbacks, these are the children of abusive parents that don’t know how to live productively because they were never taught the skills (some do not even know to shower regularly), these are the people that fight with low IQ’s that don’t fit into the “special needs” category for government care but are too slow mentally to keep up in the face paced world we live in, these are our single mothers that have no education or help caring for their children but would love to be productive given the chance, these are the widows of a generation of men that did not make enough money to provide a nest egg for their wives, this is an example of our soldiers we ship off to fight a bloody and gruesome war but do not provide them with the mental guidance they need to fight the PTS they come home with, the list goes on…………………………..

To be so bold and arrogant to say we all have equal opportunity is unfair and unkind. Yes there are people out there that take advantage of our welfare system, that don’t work to better themselves, that expect everyone else to make them better if they are sick, that won’t put the work in to create a better life for themselves emotionally, mentally, socially, or financially BUT there are also citizens out there that because of circumstances out of their control they are left floundering. I think this is one of the greatest travesties of our millennium. With all the wealth of knowledge, power, and finances that are available to us there are those that will simply exist and never flourish. It is a harsh reality.

I wish I had the answers on how to change it. It feels like a too momentous of a task and nothing will ever change. Realistically there will always be those that slip through the cracks. There will always be a segregation between groups of people – those that have and those that are have not. BUT, we can individually close those gaps on our own home turf and beyond. We can take a responsibility to our fellow human beings and give a helping hand.

For two nights now I have observed a homeless man in front of the grocery store in LA that I am buying my staples at. I was going to just go about my business and ignore him. I took a moment to really look at him and what I saw was a soldier that bore the tattoo of service homeless and hungry on the streets. I looked into his eyes and saw sadness and humility. It cost me nothing to ask him if he was hungry and offer him my extra pizza that I had boxed up from supper that night. He was so appreciative and could not thank me enough. The second night I saw him I gave him some food and a water bottle. He could not thank me enough again. I have fed guests at my dinner table with the best cuts of meat and the most elaborate side dishes that have not thanked me as profusely as the hungry man on the street.

Before school let out I met a young teen girl whose entire life has been one catastrophe after another. Her father died when she was a toddler, her mother lost custody of her, she was placed in six different foster homes, five out of six foster homes she was molested in, she has had numerous relatives die tragically, her peers ridicule her because she does not fit the social or physical mold, she is a cutter, she has anxiety, depression, and anger management issues, and she feels totally let down by the “system”. Who could blame her? I talked with her at length and she revealed her talent as an artist to me, she shared her dream of becoming a social worker for other kid’s like her, and she helped me complete a job I had to finish in a very short amount of time. This is not someone playing the victim – she is a victim! I really listened to her share her story I was rewarded with one of her shining smiles, which I am told is a rarity. For the short time we had together I took the time to really listen to her and validate her. It cost me nothing! But, gave me something – a better understanding of the trials some have to go through just to survive.

I just finished reading an amazing book by Jennifer Weiner titled “All Fall Down”. In a condensed overview it is about a woman who has it all – husband, upscale home, high income job, beautiful daughter, clothes, car, friends, and prestige. Yet, this woman is so unhappy. She slowly becomes addicted to pain medicine prescribed to her for a herniated disk from an injury. Over time one pill does not do and she needs more and more of them. Not for pain though, she needs them to take away the edge of franticness that she feels daily trying to keep up with everything. From the outside looking in everyone thought her life was perfect but: her husband was distant, she was the breadwinner, her home was only half decorated because the task of interior design was beyond her comfort level, maintaining an upscale attitude was taxing when she was a down home sort of girl, and her daughter was extremely needy to the point of special needs. She just glossed everything over. This is not an unusual story in this day and age where woman have ungodly expectations put upon them by media, work, their spouse, or themselves. It would seem that she had the choice to have an amazing life and choose to sabotage it. Sadly, this was not a choice it was a sickness that had to be dealt with and she would have to continue to deal with it for the rest of her life. Her choice was to get the help she needed to stop the drug abuse and to also “down size” her life and live simpler. Sadly, in her rehabilitation process she discovered a majority of her issues were from her unresolved issues of childhood living with a mother that distanced herself from her and was an alcoholic. It was not this young woman’s choice to come from dysfunction but she shouldered the stress and tension from it.

I had a very good friend growing up. When I was little I never noticed the differences between us, or so I thought. Looking back now I can see that I was aware of it but didn’t really comprehend our differences. When we were in kindergarten I would help my friend tie her shoes, whisper the abc’s to her when the teacher asked her to recite them, I would scold her for eating glue, and look after her if someone was picking on her. As time went on and we grew up and became teenagers we spent less and less time together. Later on in life we rekindled our friendship after we both had our babies. Sadly, though I was elated with the birth of my son and she was despondent with the choice she had to make to give her baby up for adoption. My friend was not special needs but she was slow. She was a pretty girl and did not have obvious signs of lower IQ. Unfortunately she was prey to a cunning deceitful man. He took advantage of her and it resulted in a pregnancy. She was duped into believing that he was in love with her and would look out for her. This did not come to pass and without any options available to her she had to choose to give her baby up for adoption. I know for a fact she has loved that baby everyday of her life for the last twenty years. She did not have the same advantages I did to keep her baby. I am blessed with a stable loving husband and I have family support. If those pieces of her life would have been in place she would not have had to live the last twenty years without her child.

My parents were able to give my siblings and I the luxury of having a college fund. The three of us were able to take post-secondary training without having to go into financial debt. I have provided the same for my children. They are blessed to have financial and parental support to follow their dreams. Not every child has this blessing. Many students have to work extra jobs and take loans to continue in their field of dreams. Some may never get the opportunity because they just cannot swing it financially, emotionally, or practically.

To say everyone has the same opportunity is a lie. The child living in a home where mom works three jobs to put food on the table does not have the same opportunity as a child from a higher income family has. These children cannot afford to join sports programs that are not school sponsored like: hockey, skating, and dance, they cannot afford to wear the latest and greatest, and they may not even be able to afford a lunch to take to school. These children have to work extra hard at keeping their grades up to one day be able to go on to college or university with scholarships. Even this is hard for a large majority of these children because their parent or parents are so busy trying to keep their heads above water that they may not have time to go over homework with their child. They live in survival mode rather than thriving mode. What can you do - How about at an elementary school reading with children, help at the breakfast program in your community, hand down your child’s old sports equipment?

Let’s not forget the women and girls around the world, in our country, and some even in our own neighbourhood that don’t have the choice to get an education and better themselves because the men in their family forbid it all in the name of religion. If these females chose to step out of the box that they have been put in they may be ousted from their families, abandoned, or even possibly killed for wanting to advance. No choice!

Don’t even get me started on the Third World Nations. Poverty, hunger, disease, and social unrest create an atmosphere of despair for so many that there is just no way to have a more productive life. The people in these nations live day to day and some even live hour to hour. There is no hope and no opportunity. You and I can do our part by supporting programs such as World Vision. Make a difference in one person’s life. That small gift could be the difference between education or ignorance, or even life or death.

There are vast reasons why people do not obtain their personal best or what the world judges as the perfect opportunities. Some reasons lie solely on the shoulders of the individual – they have no drive, they play victim, or they make bad choices. There is however reasons beyond some peoples control of why they don’t live the dream. Make it your mission not to judge others with the same measuring tool you use to judge your life. They may not have had the same favourable advantages or circumstances that you or others have. Also, it is rewarding to you to take a moment and provide an opportunity for someone that is struggling. Perhaps that moment will be their golden opportunity.

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