I believe we have the responsibility to help other people, as long as they are willing to help themselves.
I have always been inclined to help others at one time or another. As humans, we are drawn to help others. We can only do so much. There comes a time when the help you offer turns to hurt. The word for these people that help too much, is enabler. Enabler: One that enables another to achieve an end; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior. Some people really do need help to get on the right track. Others will use your kindness as a weakness, forever binding them to you as long as they are heading down the wrong path.
They depend on you to pull them out of the abyss once they have gone too far. Yet, people keep doing it because it feels like a good deed. This is quite a selfish notion, as they soon lose the ability to see the consequence of action. As time progresses, this group of dependant people will not advance in life because they do not have the necessary tools to break the cycle. As Buddha so succinctly put it: “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
The solution is what should happen in the beginning. We need to teach these people to help themselves, before we can help them. In grade 7, we did some World Vision fundraising for an African village. We fundraised for things like wells, oxen or fishing poles. This allowed them to pull an almost unlimited supply of food from the river and clean water could be dredged from the well. Instead of giving them quickly diminishing supplies, they could now help themselves to the resources of the land around them. No longer relying on the gifts of the government, they were a self sustained, independent village.
The same goes for people in today’s society. The teenagers that continually borrow money from their parents will never learn to manage money, because it has never been a problem for them. We must learn the lessons of life when we are young, when our brains are in prime state to internalize knowledge. I believe this is why children make so many mistakes. No longer do I consider mistakes as accidents, they are there to give us the tools to succeed in life. The people that have no obstacles will not be able to cope with the world when they move beyond the security of childhood.
For us as a human race to achieve greatness in life we need problem solving skills, compassion, responsibility, understanding, critical thinking and most importantly, the willingness to help ourselves.
This I Believe.
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