Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why Charity And Stupidity Don't Mix

Your house shouldn't be open to absolutely everyone - no matter how big.

Let's get one thing out of the way right now - charity is a good thing. No, charity is a great thing. No, charity is an ESSENTIAL thing. It's good to keep in mind, however, that charity, like so many wonderful things, can sometimes be handled with stupidity and hence become harmful.

Take exercise, for instance. A good thing, right? Not when you decide to add an extra four miles to your morning run when it's a hundred and two degrees outside, you've got company showing up in an hour, your child has to go to camp and you've left the oven on.

Stupidity has a knack for turning good things bad. Which brings me back to charity. There are people out there who are generous, empathetic and completely stupid. They'll  invite a guy to live in their home even though the dude was just tossed from his own house two nights earlier for shattering all the windows in a crack induced blackout - his second of the week, no less. There comes a certain point when you have to ask if doing the right thing is really doing the right thing.

Back when I was drinking I would stumble down the streets of New York, giving money to each and every person with a hand out on the sidewalk. My sister, knowing a lush at work when she saw one, would suggest I keep my money in my pocket for the evening, then give a goodly sum to an organized charity when I sobered up.

Makes sense, doesn't it? Respectable charities tend to give your hard earned money to people who need it in EFFECTIVE WAYS. That's why it's better to give to people who will spend wisely. Or better yet, volunteer your time. Spending a few hours a week helping out in a homeless shelter will do society a lot more good than slipping a five to someone with rotting teeth and track marks up and down the arms.

 Being charitable feels good, but charity is about more than patting yourself on the shoulder. Don't be one of those people who makes generosity and stupidity synonymous with one another. Your won't be helping anyone - especially not yourself.

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