Life works by cause and effect: something happens and there is an end result. No matter how small or insignificant the event, it will send out ripples that continue to move outward. That’s just the way it is.
Even in human interaction, there is cause and effect. If you treat someone badly, the odds are very good that they aren’t going to think too highly of you. If you treat someone with respect, the odds are good that you’re going to get respect in return.
I’m always thinking about the reasons that the numbers of homeless in our nation are on the rise. And, I’m always wondering about what it would take for us to significantly reduce the numbers of homeless.
I believe that one way to accomplish that is to find a way of reintegrating the homeless back into the mainstream of society. I’m certain that it can be done but both sides have to want it – and that’s where cause and effect come in.
One basic truth is that if you give a person an incentive, they most like as not will be willing to find a way of striving for the "reward."
In the case of the homeless, we must somehow figure out how to create incentives that would cause them to move up and out of homelessness.
In the case of the non-homeless, we must find a way to show that it’s in the best interest of society to reduce the numbers of homeless.
The biggest barrier to that making that work is that both sides want the other to be the ones to take the first step. Mainstream society want the homeless to "prove" that they truly want to be non-homeless, and the homeless are waiting for mainstream society to reach out the helping hand. The end result is that nothing is being accomplished and the number of persons who are becoming homeless is growing each year.
Somehow, someway, both sides are going to have to meet half way. The homeless are going to have to be willing to do whatever it takes to raise their standard of living. The non-homeless are going to have to be willing to afford the homeless genuine opportunities to raise their standard of living. The net result will be that we finally start to live up to one another expectations – and best of all, we’ll find out that we aren’t all that much different in our basic needs and wants. Who knows, that might lead to mutual respect.
That’s the incentive: to recognize the humanity in all of us – homeless and non-homeless. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we have.
I believe that if once we could start to work together – homeless and non-homeless – toward finding a solution that is amicable to both sides, and once we began to see the results, we’d probably slap ourselves on the forehead and ask ourselves: "Why didn’t we do this a long time ago?"