A Turn in the Road

Posted on June 25, 2016 by Robert Ringer


I believe in free will and man’s capacity to rise above adversity. I believe in accountability. I believe in the basic virtues upon which Western civilization has been built.

But I also believe that people sometimes take a wrong turn in the road — perhaps inadvertently or maybe as a result of an ill-advised, impulsive action — then discover that they can’t find their way back. There can be many causes for making that wrong turn — teenage pregnancy, the loss of a loved one, disappointment over not landing an anticipated promotion, lack of social acceptance, or failure in an area such as sports, academics, or spirituality.

Whatever the cause may be, we know that some people give up on life and turn to alcohol and drugs, become bitter recluses, or even resort to suicide. Then there are others who, after experiencing everything from a poverty-stricken background to racism … to the loss of an entire family … to financial catastrophe, fight back and succeed against all odds.

What we don’t know is why one person is motivated to take the turn in the road that leads to a happy, fulfilling life, while another chooses a turn that leads to self-destruction and misery. Is it genetics over which we have no control? Is it inevitability dictated by a Conscious Universal Power Source or a random universe?

The truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know. Years ago, at a seminar in Sydney, Australia, the late Jim Rohn, in talking about how easy it is to become irritated by individuals who are nasty to you, suggested that you have to learn to “meet people in the hurt.“ Everyone who has children can relate to this, because kids experience so much pain growing up. What they have to go through as adolescents and teenagers borders on cruel and unusual punishment.

The good news is that most of them survive and go on to lead normal, healthy lives. The bad news is that millions of them never find their way back to the main road and end up on drugs, alcohol, or both. They end up in abusive marriages. They end up homeless. And, yes, many end up dead at an early age.

Whenever I cross paths with a street beggar, I find myself wondering what happened in this person’s life that brought him to such a wretched state. What was the wrong turn he took, why did he take it, and when?

I began giving money to street beggars at a relatively young age. I especially made it a point to give to them when I was struggling in my own life, because I would think to myself (and still do), “There but for the grace of God go I.“

People have often chastised me for giving money to “human blight“ who appear unwilling to help themselves. What motivates me to do it is the lingering question: What is it that happened in this person’s life that brought him to the point where he’s lost the sinew to fight for his existence?

It’s easy to say that a person should stand up and do whatever it takes to overcome his dreadful circumstances, but that begs the question, “Why?” Why doesn’t he do it? Is it a genetic problem? Is it willed by a Higher Being for reasons we do not understand? If he’s “lazy,“ why is he lazy?

Is there not something mentally wrong (by “normal“ standards) with both a schizophrenic and a person who cannot muster the energy to fight for his life? If a person’s brain does not work in such a way that he is determined to rise above his dismal circumstances, is he not just as “crazy“ as a schizophrenic?

Let me make it clear that I’m not on a crusade to help the poor. On the contrary, I am a staunch believer that people who rail on endlessly about the injustice of the growing gap between the rich and poor almost always do more harm than good. As Nobel Prize novelist and poet Anatole France so rightly pointed out, “Those who have given themselves the most concern about the happiness of peoples have made their neighbors very miserable.”

And then there are the youthful rich and famous whose lives have become too-good-to-pass-up monologue material for late-night talk-show hosts. The nonmedical term for this problem is: too much money, too fast, too easy.

The truth is that captains and kings can be as miserable as the most poverty-stricken among us. A good lesson to draw from all this is that it’s a mistake to spend your life yearning for money. It’s far better to seek the path that leads to being a better person and living a meaningful, fulfilling life.

But with a guy sitting on a sidewalk and begging for a few coins, it’s different. He wants my help; he wants your help. Not help in getting sober, cleaning himself up, landing a job, or bettering his life. Forget about all that. It’s not going to happen — not with my help, not with your help, not with the help of professional do-gooders, and certainly not with government help.

Nevertheless, I feel a compulsion to meet that street person in the hurt, which is why I usually go out of my way to give him a dollar or so. I know he’s going to spend it on cheap wine or drugs, but I don’t care. What I care about is that the meager sum I hand him will give him some momentary pleasure, i.e., instant gratification, something that I fight against with a passion in my own life.

The difference between the street person and screwed-up celebrities is that the street person has no life. When someone is dying of cancer, you give him instant gratification in the form of morphine. It’s the same with a street person and his desire for drugs and alcohol.

I don’t give out of guilt. I give because I know that this person is going to live out the remainder of his relatively short lifespan enduring a kind of pain that is incomprehensible for you or me to imagine. I give because I know that but for the grace of God, there go I. Something human inside me senses this and makes me want to meet him in the hurt, if only for a moment.

I know that something, somewhere along the line, caused this pitiful soul to take a wrong turn in the road. And something genetic or environmental has kept him from rising up and fighting the good fight. Something has totally defeated him, something that will forever remain a mystery to the thousands of people who pass by him each day.

Whenever I come across a street beggar, it’s also a reminder to me of how minor my problems are in comparison to the problems of those who have permanently lost their way on this side of the secular/nonsecular divide.

What I have said in this article is not an appeal for you to follow my lead. What you do in your life, and with your life, is strictly your business. But what I hope you take away from this article is an increased capacity to keep your own problems in perspective. In addition, I hope it will make you think about how fortunate you are that you haven’t taken that wrong turn in the road — or, if you have, that you were able to find your way back.

Above all, I hope my words remind you just how important it is to make the effort to at least meet your friends and loved ones in the hurt, particularly your children. Love and understanding could very well be the difference between a child’s becoming an honor student and going on to have a super-successful business and personal life … or evolving into an angry kid in a black trench coat whose life ends in tragedy.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

48 responses to “A Turn in the Road”

  1. Wow,very different perspective on giving to homeless / beggars than I usually see. I have mixed feelings when I approach one. Definitely puts my own problems into perspective,and makes me sad to see someone living like that,but I'm not always sure what the right thing to do is. For a while I would put together nylon bags full of little things like wet wipes,personal care kits,granola bars,and bottles of Gatorade and hand those out… Cost a little more,maybe 7 or 8 dollars,but felt better than giving them a few dollars which as you said,would probably get spent on booze or drugs… Most were extremely grateful,some almost seemed disappointed (but then again,it could have been mental illness playing a role),one guy flat out refused… Anyway,reading your post has me thinking,maybe it's time for a trip to Wal Mart to put a few more bags together. Also,during the summer months I try and keep an extra bottle of water or two in the car and give those out instead of cash. At least give them a little hydration while they're out there in the heat.

  2. TheLookOut says:

    Thanks Robert, great insight, and reflection, you expressed my
    exact thoughts, and feelings in this area.

  3. Diane Young says:

    Sometimes the dollar you give a person, when added to the dollar someone else has given, lets the person enjoy a much needed meal. The homeless person isn't always looking for alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. I also
    like bringing people together who wouldn't find each other without my help. One person needs something and the other has it to give or share. Connecting the two may be a life-changer for the person in need, while it's no skin off the other person's nose. Perhaps it's just something that's taking up space or the ride is no big deal because the driver is going that way anyway. Seeing the instant look of relief and amazement on the
    face of the person in need is hugely soul-satisfying to me. I love being able to facilitate that moment because
    it may just be the unexpected boost that keeps the needful one from turning down the wrong road.

    • Phil says:

      Consider the obstacles that business now must cross to hire new, cheap labor. Maybe a job offered at minimum wages of $5.00 an hour (or better, yet, whatever could be afforded in the absence of a minimum wage) would have allowed one of these people to get out of the pits. Maybe the Obamacare requirements caused an owner not to hire beyond a set number of people. As an aside, many of these people are veterans. Some may disagree with military action, etc., but regardless, they at least have held jobs in the past (and often served honorably).

      I truly think that many of the homeless are suffering from our insane economy at present. Job creation is dying. We have killed robust job creation. The problem will only become worse. Unless we change course now.

      • Jean says:

        You're actually on to something, Phil. There was a white paper written by a professor of economics teaching at George Washington University in St. Louis detailing the reasons microlending doesn't work in the US. The largest one was that welfare and the current tax / Social Security policies made it easier to stay poor and live on a stipend than to become self-sufficient, either through legitimate work or entrepreneurship. Welfare and other government benefits are less of a safety net than they are a bear trap, and taxes (especially self-employment tax) beat down the entrepreneur determined to grow his or her business. And the Obamacare regulation ensures that most people will be dependent on government subsidies to cover their health insurance premiums, and later, on the government benefits when they discover their O-care policy doesn't cover anything until they have spent down their resources trying to meet the deductibles.

  4. When we go to Vegas, my wife gives water and a dollar or two. We live in Belgium, but make the back to the US once or twice a year to visit family.

  5. Marte says:

    Yes, those of us who have the ability to read your words here do need to keep it in perspective. I've found that giving thanks each day for the people I love, for the pets I care for, for the home I live in, the "things" I own, the food on my table, and the work I do is one of the most beneficial things I can do.

  6. Gary Cunningham says:

    Hello Robert Ringer: This article was very well written. In this article you wrote: "What we don’t know is why one person is motivated to take the turn in the road that leads to a happy, fulfilling life, while another chooses a turn that leads to self-destruction and misery. …The truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know." Possibly we do know. I would like to recommend two books which will offer some enlightening research on this subject providing insight into the cognitive reasons for the choices made by people. Book #1: Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death by Dr. Martin Seligman, Book #2: Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman
    Available on Amazon.

  7. larajf says:

    One key is your motivation. I think a big problem with humanity right now is "white guilt" and it's causing increased divides. Like you, I don't give to homeless because I feel guilty that my life is better then theirs. I give because I believe that the Universe will give back to me that which I give away. And so I give with a whole heart hoping that they can receive with a whole heart and not feel guilty or embarrassed. I finished reading a book by your friend Bob Berg about the importance of learning to receive. You can't give unless there's someone there to receive. I'm probably rambling. The homeless who receives is allowing me to give which allows money to flow faster. We just need to do things, as you say, not out of guilt but because it's our choice.

  8. Rocketman says:

    I go through my life with one basic tenet. "Leave this world a little better off than when you came into it."

  9. Paul Anthony says:

    Many years ago, when I was in my twenties, I had to walk four city blocks between the parking lot I could afford and the office in which I worked. Along the way was the Union Mission, a place where the homeless congregated seeking hand-outs from those of us who must have seemed wealthy. I hated my job, but walking the gauntlet gave me that "There but for the grace of God go I" motivation to continue working.

    I refused to give cash to the homeless, but offered to buy them a meal from one of the street vendors along the way. Very few accepted my gesture, but those who did at least had a meal that day.

    • Dennis says:

      At the grocery store one day, a man said he hadn't eaten in 2 days. I went back into the store, bought lunchmeat, bread and a small mayo. When I gave them to him, he wanted the receipt so he could buy alcohol instead. I didn't give him the receipt and I no longer offer.

  10. Gary Waltrip says:

    Robert, I really love it when you go into your philosophical / spiritual mode. It makes me think and wonder. Why do some people just give up on life? The bad life events that defeated them are things that any of us could suffer. "There but for the grace of God go I," indeed. I used to refuse beggars' requests, but now I too give them some cash. Thanks for an inspirational post. I will keep my own problems in perspective. Compared to these unfortunates, my life is truly blessed.

  11. ◄Dave► says:

    Where I live, the best fresh cup of coffee in town is at McDonald's, which also provides free WIFI. This makes me a regular customer. Although not permitted to panhandle on the premises, it is also a convenient pit stop for the homeless.

    Until I finally quit a couple of years ago, I would have to step outside for a smoke, which naturally made me a welcome target. I always shared a cigarette when asked, and vicariously enjoyed the "instant gratification," so obvious in their eyes as I lit it. If I thought I could trust myself to resist the temptation, I'd probably still carry a pack of smokes, just to enjoy the genuine gratitude so easily earned.

    While that was obviously feeding a vice that I shared, I got even more pleasure out of inviting someone looking hungry, to come inside and let me buy them a hamburger, without even being asked. I still do. Since my "Senior Coffee," with unlimited refills, only costs 95¢, I figure the few bucks I save over going to Starbucks, is readily available for charity. After reading your thoughtful perspective, I will now probably be less hesitant to contribute cash, even if I suspect it will be spent unwisely. Thanks. ◄Dave►

    • Jim Hallett says:

      You must live in a more expensive city, Dave, as Sr. coffee at McD's here is only $.75 and FREE on Mondays! When in a large metro area, where one encounters many homeless, I have bought McD's meals for them, as it gave me a chance to give and to directly interact with them, but many only wanted $$ and not the offer of a paid meal. In suburbia, the homelessness is more hidden, yet I am more likely to give since the encounters are infrequent. When walking in a downtown like, say Baltimore, where there are beggars every few feet, it becomes impossible to give to them all. I have attended sporting events all over, and as one exits the ballpark, you can almost always count on a lot of beggars. I feel their pain, and occasionally give some dollar donations, but when they are lined up like rush hour traffic, I usually just pass by, but never fail to wonder what led to them being there.

  12. Serge says:

    I always carry some 1 dollar bills in in my back pocket, so I don't have to pull out my wallet. After or before I give them a few dollars, I actually pray for them for a moment and notice how they turn back and look. I can't worry about how they spend it. Many of them seem to be spiritual and respond with a God Bless.

  13. John Jpsix says:

    Robert, Thanks for your insight on this topic. You make a very good point. I had not looked at this issue in this way before and will be more charitable to this class of folks. I must say, one fellow was hanging out by a StarBucks and asked me for a dollar for a cup of coffee. I liked his goal but StarBucks for a buck? Well, I escorted him in and bought him a grande frappuccino! The look on his face was worth a million bucks.

  14. Donna Ping says:

    Excellent post!!! Given your well known "rational" approach to all aspects of life, I am a little bit amazed, because I don't think I would have guess those comments as coming from you. But I agree 100%. And if anything, this makes me like and respect you even more (if that's possible). I think accountability is good, but so is compassion. It's balancing the two that gets tricky sometimes.

  15. Brendan Guy McMahan says:

    Hello Robert,

    A report from the ground. I've stayed at about 5 shelters in the past few years. None of them (of course) require and provide for a job hunting haircut and shave. Also, the businesses that tend to hire low-skilled workers are not incentivized by the government to provide what a large majority of the homeless (IMO) a job lasting only a few months. This characteristic of a lot of people is overlooked. The person isn't "bad" except in an economic sense. But that life-style of continually interupted jobs is not something one can "cure".

    Regards for your articles and books.


  16. Gary says:

    Thanks for a great article Robert! I do the same as you. I used to think as many do, that street beggars shouldn't be allowed to be "out there in our faces", and somehow need to buck up and find a job. Today I can't believe I was so narrow minded. Later, finding myself close to the "zero" status, I could only give thanks for my ability – and the assistance of family members – to at least have a home and meals. I began even then when I barely had enough for my own survival, to give a little to street folks. I got to thinking they do indeed have a job…one that most of us could never even bring ourselves to take. They stand or sit on a street corner in all sorts of weather, day in and day out appealing to folks to share just a little of their wealth. Believe it or not folks, it takes a lot of courage to be out there in full admission of the ill health, inability to overcome substance abuses and/or whatever other failures and calamities brought them to such a life. I don't give out of guilt…I give because they need it. They need not just the money, but the momentary connection with a human being who doesn't disdain them or want them banished. Believe me, in the fraction of a second that their hand and yours connect through that measly buck, compassion is felt and greatly appreciated. I'm grateful I'm not faced with such a life; and I'm also grateful I'm able to give to them voluntarily as opposed to being coerced by the government to do so…at least for now.

  17. Deb says:

    That was one of the best "sermons" I've ever read. I'm deeply ashamed. Thank you.

    • Phil says:

      I learned about Robert's perspective with this some time ago, forget exactly where. At any rate, following his lead with this proved really worthwhile. There but for the grace of God, indeed.

      I do not think the intent of the piece was to shame anybody, but rather to offer a different perspective on a real social issue. There is no conflict between wanting to reduce suffering and want government out of our lives. While not obligatory, it sure started to feel good when I gave a bit here and there.

  18. Helen Roberts says:

    "what adolescents & teenagers have to go through borders on cruel & unusual punishment" –
    Really? In this day & age kids of poor parents are walking around with iphones, ipads, etc.; what
    about kids raised by truck driving Dads and waitressing Moms who don't have much – are they
    suffering cruel & unusual punishment? Hardly – because they're getting (absolutely free) love,
    sustenance and honest rules to live by…Ben Carson – a fantastic example of what poverty
    COULDN'T do to him…Genetics? Higher Power? Fight both with a strong positive spirit….

  19. Walter says:


    Isn't it so profound that we end up looking at ourselves in the mirror?

    There is joy in giving!

  20. 10 years ago I pulled into a convenience store to buy a cold drink. There in front of my car was a man sitting on a blanket holding a sign that said "please give me some money to buy my puppy some food." And sure enough there was a puppy on the blanket that looked emaciated with his ribs sticking out and obviously hungry. I watched as people stopped to give the man bill after bill. But the man never got up to buy the puppy some food. He just kept pocketing the incoming cash. I got out of my car and approached the man to ask him why he didn't go into the store and buy the puppy some food with the money that people were flooding him with for. He told me to mind my own business. I told him to get off his lazy ass and buy the puppy some food. He then told me to go away and leave him alone. I then said to him "What are you going to do when that puppy dies from not eating?" He replied, "I'll just go down to the pound and get myself another puppy like I usually do." This man was a scam artist and a animal abuser. I found it hard to give after that…

    • Paul Herring says:

      What a low thing to do! Surely such an action is not indicative of the main, just someone who's seriously lacking a sense of decency, compassion and pretty much all worthwhile attributes. But it can dent your sense of
      wanting to be generous when you've experienced something like you have here.

    • Robby Bonfire says:

      That is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. Really touches and bothers me. I love animals and care for animals so much. A good animal companion can be one of your greatest rewards and joys in life.

      People think they are superior to animals, but in some ways animals are superior to us, such as they are ALWAYS honest. They don't now how to misrepresent themselves. People, on the other hand, by the millions, are deceitful, hypocritical and blatantly dishonest as regards business dealings and just plain telling the truth – and those are the good ones!

      I would have given that puppy a home – my home, same as I have three cats in my life who needed help with winter coming on, and who now provide me with the sweetness of their company, every day of my life.
      We do what we can, we wish we could do more.

  21. praveen says:

    I am strictly against giving money to beggars mostly to street beggars. They won't ever learn to make it by themselves again. I feel that I'll snatch their independence and keep them as a slave to begging. I prefer to offer them some basic necessities food, warm clothes what ever they need. This may cost me more that the meager amount that I could have offered. There's of course a violent and disagreeable turn in everybody's life but not all become beggars. And then also begging is too easy. There's the question of greed, being miserly, laziness, dependence, etc. Regarding adolescence and youngsters, all of us have been pampered one time or other.

    • Hollivan says:

      Begging doesn't seem easy to me at all. Most people go through an incredible amount of shame before coming to the point of needing to beg. I used to live in a town that had 3, count 'em, 3 homeless people. None of them had any shame but only one of them ever asked for anything. We took great care of the other two. Lol

  22. Richard Lee Van DV says:

    Yes, throughout my waking hours, coonsidering my long life of ups and downs, ever on my lips is, "Thank you, God, for blessings received AND guide, lead and direct me in accord with Thy greater will." I belong to no church, no religion. But, consider myself "spiritual". During my life, I had many decisions to make that made the difference between the Up or the Down way(s). Mr. Ringer here is addressing a very BASIC issue in human life! Very, very important! Many people I know do not believe in Spiritual/Higher Mind Guidance. Maybe early in some of our lives, not having perspective yet, we don't understand Guidance, but when looking back, it is easy to see. I marvel now at the "blessings in disguise" I've experinced over the years, when a disappoinment directed me to a much Better Way.

  23. Richard Lee Van DV says:

    I came to the Philippines, a white, educated American, dependent on the company that never happened. I came on a one-way ticket, but apart from that I decided to stay. I made it for two years before turning myself in to Immigation so I could be sent home, BROKE. During those two trying but eventful years, I learned a great deal about personal poverty. But, the overall lesson was, I LEARNED GRATITUDE for every last thing I get. That period ended 1994. I learned firsthand what money cannot buy. What happened after that is a long "success" story.
    I now live in the PI fulltime, and have for more than ten years. Beggars are abundant here. The first thing some of us do here is sort out the professional beggars, and not give to them. And some, kids, are sent out by druggy alcoholic parents to bring home the money. It takes some skill to sort beggars out, but I give to those I judge as worthy. One young man is my favorite. He was born with one leg missing, one eye turned in, and other deformities. I give to him monthly. Like a salary. On rich foreigner her bought him a first class leg to replace the missing one. No more crutch. And recently he was proud to tell me he has a job! As Security ot one of the nightclubs. He is married and proud to have a child. He is my prize beggar. There are some on skateboards. So many kinds here in a land of Big Time Poverty. And then there are the working people, and the rich, all very industrious. A real mix in this country. On modest income monthly, I live on a level that might cost 50 or 60 thou a year in the States.
    But, living in a foreign country is definitely NOT for every American. Much depends, etc.

  24. Phil says:

    Really enjoyed your post. Your last point is well taken; I think that living in a foreign nation somehow puts one more in touch with what is really important. The U.S. has its pros and cons, but it is easy to get lost in the B.S. (to reference a theme Robert wrote about recently). I have lived in two foreign countries (one developed, the other not so much), and have visited a few others, and found that a desire to truly experience the adventure in life and different cultures goes a long way. Somehow, and I do not like saying it, the U.S. simply does not feel so "real" anymore. Maybe it is the computer/internet culture, maybe the constant flight from daily reality, heck, not really sure. Could just be me.

    Anyway, glad the PI worked out for you.

    • Thanks, Phil. I wonder if you also notice that generally Americans do not seem happy. So many seem oppressed by the debt they've accumulated by mis-spending for extras that are not needed, and many in general seem to have the Materialist attitude of "when I have enough money, THEN I will be happy. Just the "tone" when I used to go back to the States 10 years in a row while my mother was ill seemed dark and negative somehow. BY CONTRAST here in the PI even the poor just scraping by are happier, or seem to be. As they are music lovers and love to sing I suppose helps, and perhaps their strong family life. People are quick to smile here, but, sometimes a smile is also deceptive, a cultural thing. We all have the choice of being negative or choosing to see the good in our lives. I could have stayed in the house my father built after my mother died, but considering all the negative people in that area, I said, no way I would live out my days in that atmosphere.

      • Phil says:

        My wife and I were just discussing this, Richard. I think it was Jesse Jackson – NOT my favorite individual – who coined the phrase "an attitude of gratitude". It really takes one a long way. So much of happiness involves a spiritual component. And America is missing it. We are so focused on money we forget that the means are as important as the ends. Sleep well on the other side of the world, yours is an inspiring story.

  25. Paul Herring says:

    There seems to be much general negativity here about the prospects for everyday people going forward. In our country (Australia) too there is increasing homelessness. This, in spite of the reasonably good social security system we have. In the bigger cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, we see homeless people in the CBD and evidence of homelessness in other places. Very sad.

    Yours was a compassionate post, Robert. Thanks for it. As I've said in this forum many times before, all of the problems and issues we humans are now facing have been addressed in the Bible. That same book, incidentally the all-time best seller, tells us in the Psalms, in the book of Isaiah and in the last book, Revelation, that human problems will be addressed by God via the kingdom we've pretty well all been taught to pray for in the Lord's Prayer.

    Over the time Robert has been posting this, I've seen many issues and problems raised and they're real. But I haven't yet seen one workable solution put forward – one that will work, can be measured and which isn't subject to abuse and manipulation such as world politics does – irrespective of the political flavour.

    Mostly other readers have not agreed with what I've posted. But I understand that. The churches of Christendom (so-called Christianity) have done so much damage to the Bible and its message that onlookers can see what they say (the churches) has no basis in fact. No wonder there's so much unbelief! Anyway, the Bible's positive solutions have worked, are working, and will continue to work in the lives of millions who follow its timeless principles. Above all, they give us hope of something better and that 'hope does not lead to disappointment' says Romans 5:5 in the Bible.

  26. Laurie Schnebly says:

    I've always liked the description of C.S. Lewis walking someplace with a friend when they were approached by someone asking for money.

    Lewis gave him a few quid and the friend objected, "He's just going to spend it on ale." "Well," said Lewis, "that's all I was going to do with it, myself."

  27. Wukong says:

    The evolution of human society to this day dictates that the amount of self-reliance, self-accountability, and self-discipline that one has is proportionate to one's success in life. Unfortunately, these important values are seldom taught in school and in society in general. Instead, people are bombarded with adverts promoting the lifestyle of enjoying life by spending the money you don't have.

    Once one got snared and caught by the financial trap with credit debts etc., it becomes an uphill struggle to get out of it. And if someone made the wrong turn to try numbing their problems with alcohol and drug, they will be on a dangerous path.

    I don't think it is a genetic issue neither predestined by fate. I think what they need is someone somehow to rekindle their extinguished hope of life. It won't be an easy task to kindle a fire on a piece of soaked wood.Motivation and constantly stoking the fire is what they need. They need stories of people such as Og Mandino and many others who have raised themselves from ditches and believe they have the power to do the same.

  28. Jim Hallett says:

    Ah, California! Such a beautiful place with a wonderful climate (NOT the political climate, of course!). I lived there 13 years – SF, LA, SD, and Sta. Barbara (the most beautiful of the bunch) when I played the R.E. investing game, so the escalating prices were not the problem, then. I later moved to the Pacific NW and loved OR in particular the best of all states (have been to all 50, lived in 10). Hope to spend part of the year in southern OR and the rest out of the country in the southern hemisphere (Chile, NZ most likely).

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Agreed on Santa Barbara, Jim. I currently live about 50mi. north of there in the Pismo Beach area, and it is the mild climate that keeps me here. I missed Alaska, because one cannot just drive thru it on the way to someplace else; but have visited the other 49 States. I have lived in 16 of them, and 7 countries; but keep returning to the Central Coast, because the year-round weather is simply unbeatable. ◄Dave►

      • Jim Hallett says:

        My cousin and his wife live in Oxnard (he is a civilian employee at the Pt. Hueneme Naval Base) and they spend lots of time in SLO (right next to Pismo) as one of their favorite spots (they like SB, too, but is quite pricey and tends to attract a lot of Angelenos refugees – particularly the Hollywood set), so I understand why you are drawn to remain there. I have not experienced any other year-round delightful climate to match – San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in the Colonial Highlands is the closest. Southern Oregon – Ashland/Grants Pass – has a very mild and dry climate for the months I would plan to be there – May -Oct, but of course NOT on the ocean. Btw, Alaska was my 50th state to visit, and I did it as a wilderness trip (flew in by seaplane to a remote lake wilderness), so I could experience the true Alaska, as opposed to Anchorage or just a luxury cruise up the Inside Passage.

  29. Hollivan says:

    The bottom line here is Yeshua said that we are treating Him the same as we treat the least among us. And you never know when you are entertaining an angel. Don't think for one minute that God doesn't play "undercover boss".

  30. imim says:

    I knew a man. He didn't have normal legs. He had to wear special type of shoes with some thin iron bars frame. He also supported himself with a clutch. Of course, he walked slowly but he was moving on his own and he was working at a jeweler's shop. He was earning a fine living. From the bus stop he had to walk to his workplace and back. So on the way he stopped for some rest at some point under the shade of some building, trees or other places. As he was a regular customer on these points, passers by started giving him alms.There you come Sir the turning point. In the beginning he refused. But then after some time he figured it out that what's the point of refusing while the earning here is alright. He became a professional very rich beggar in due time. This is a true event that actually I have been a witness. So, how many people living a decent life has turned to become street beggars because of great Samaritans or other well wishes in this world? I personally want to think about means and ways to bring up some turning point in the life of those street beggars who may start up a normal way of life.

  31. Norma Winkler says:

    Terrific Article. Truth in print.

  32. T. Webb says:

    "But there by the Grace of God go I…."

    This world is so advanced that if one gets behind and slips, it will prove difficult to ketch up again. And if you have no family, no friends and your only Social network are those on the streets, you are indeed in BIG TROUBLE. How can someone get a job if;

    1. They have no Drivers Lic?
    2. They have no home address?
    3. They have no means of keeping clean and storing food?
    4. They are in poor health
    5. etc (i could go on).

    If your up on the Bicycle, better keep peddling, because the Pavement hits back hard. Many of them, end up in jail—-which is a step up for them.

  33. Robby Bonfire says:

    Parents have an enormous influence over the development, wholesome and productive – or stagnated and misguided, of their children. Parents pass to you your genetics, and parents provide your home environment in your young years. Their values seep in, to where your parents are with you, psychologically, your entire life, like it or not.

    Another major influence as to how you develop and your outlook upon life is the time in world evolution that you were born. Members of "The Greatest Generation" were willing to sacrifice all on D-Day, etc. for a legacy cause larger than their own survival. Twenty-five years later their self-indulgent kids were getting stoned at Woodstock, as part of the "Me Generation," light years removed from the values of their parents generation.

    So that's it – genetics, early environment, and the generation your are part of growing up, more than anything else, mold who you become in adulthood. So that we are not who we are by choice, we are who we are by circumstance and the luck of the draw.

  34. KarenHeinz says:

    Nice thought.