Feast Of All Saints

Posted: November 1, 2007 in Children, Compassion, Discrimination, Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Misconceptions, Morality, Stereotypes

Yesterday was Halloween. The word itself is a "tweaking" of the phrase: All Hallows Eve.

Originally it was supposed to be about people preparing themselves for All Saints’ Day: a day traditionally set aside to honor family, friends and other loved ones who had died.  

How the "trick or treat" part of Halloween came about, I’m not sure. But it has, and as a result, it’s not unusual to see every manner of person dressed up in costume.

Some adults actually go to work in costume, which is why when yesterday I saw quite a number of people who work at the local government building going to their respective offices wearing some pretty strange get ups, I didn’t give a second thought.

Then of course, yesterday evening, there were plenty of children who were going door to door loudly proclaiming: "Trick or Treat!" all in the hopes of going home at the end of the evening with a sack full of candy and other assorted treats.

On the other hand, there were a number of children in this area who didn’t have that same opportunity: homeless children.

I’m sure they would have loved to have been out and about with a sack, going door to door like every other child, but because their present home is a homeless shelter they and their parents were required to sign in at the shelter at a certain time in order to get a bed for the night.

It’s easy to look at an adult who is homeless and think to yourself that they should just go out and get a job, find themselves a place to live and get on with their lives. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy because of stereotypes, stigmas and other discriminatory barriers that are an overall part of homelessness.

However, when it comes to children who, through no fault of their own, must live their lives one day at a time within the homeless services system, it’s something that all of us should take a close look at to determine if we, as a society, are doing everything within our power to remedy the situation.

If we actually believe that we are doing all that can be done, then we’re just fooling ourselves. And, if we concede that we aren’t doing everything that can be done, we must stop and ask ourselves why not.

For too long, we have watched television advertisements for organizations that help children who are living in poverty in remote parts of the world – and we’ve given unselfishly – while all the while turning a deaf ear to the cries of those children within our own national borders who require our help.

I’m not saying that we should ignore any child in need regardless of where they are located globally, but how does it reflect on us as a nation, when we’re willing to help every other nations’ children while forgetting our own?

Isn’t that hypocrisy of the worst kind?

And won’t there be serious and devastating repercussions to our nation’s future because of it?

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