Old Habits Die Hard

Posted: September 11, 2007 in Acceptance, Goals, Homelessness, Hopes, Morality

This past week I took some time to read all of my post in chronological order. I’m not sure why I did it, but I did. Considering that I’ve written some 95,000 or so words, it took me some time.

Although I’ve said from time to time that I don’t have an actual agenda behind what I’m writing I did notice that there seems to be one common theme that underlines all of my posts – and that is that we, as a nation, can and must find some way of effectively addressing homelessness.  

More than once, I’ve mentioned the need to create and maintain comprehensive programs designed to help the homeless transition back into the mainstream of society – with good reasons too.

Although change is a necessary part of the personal growth of each of us, human beings are still basically creatures of habit. It is extremely easy for us to become so accustomed to one specific routine that whenever that routine is interrupted we rebel against it – and, as we resist change to our daily cycles, we limit the amount of forward movement.

Our nation’s homeless, unfortunately, get caught up in routines as well: they leave a night shelter in the morning, go about the business of trying to survive in a society that consistently looks down upon them, and then wind up right back at the homeless shelter at night.

We as a society, also have our routines. We get up in the mornings, head out to where we need to be for the day, and then head home at the end of the day. If in the process we happen to see a homeless person, we ignore them, belittle them or look at them with distaste and scorn.

The more I write about homelessness, the more certain I am that there are viable solutions other than simply building more homeless shelters and day centers for the homeless. However, before we can reach that point, we must all – homeless and non-homeless – be willing to find some middle ground where we can arrive at some understanding of one another.

Mainstream society must recognize that not all homeless are so out of choice. The homeless must be willing to put for the effort needed to move ahead in life – and mainstream society must be willing to help them do so. It will take a collaborative effort on all sides.

I’ve met people from "both sides of the tracks." There are good and bad in both groups. Yet, what I have learned is that in the end, we are all just people trying to survive the best way we can. If we were able to see that most basic of realities, perhaps we’d be less prone to pointing fingers at one another and assigning blame – and then we’d be able to truly claim that we were indeed the "United" States of America.

I seem to recall having read at one time or another that:

"A house divided cannot stand."

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