Home | Real Estate Search | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Obituaries | Subscriber Services | Kingman Digital | Contact Us
Kingman Daily Miner | Kingman, Arizona

home : opinion : columns May 24, 2016

10/5/2012 6:01:00 AM
Dad regrets fumbled lesson in charity
Patric Medeiros
Kingman Resident

I have always been a generous person to those who are in great need of something. One of my sons was with me recently on one of those occasions. He is 10 years old and tends to be a bit greedy. However, this day he showed me that he is finally beginning to care for the wellbeing of others.

A man who appeared down on his luck was sitting outside of Bashas' as we were walking in to do some shopping. His clothes were ragged, his hair a soiled mess, and he was covered in dirt and grime. Overall, his appearance was one of someone who had probably spent a very long time on the street.

I said hello to him as we approached and he mumbled something back that I did not hear very well. I stopped beside him and asked him to repeat what he had said, and his reply was, "Do you have a dollar or something?" The way he asked was almost a mixed sort of anger and humiliation, and appeared to hurt him to have to ask for help.

I did happen to have some cash on me that day and happily gave him the requested dollar. The man did not show appreciation in any way for the donation I had given him and continued to look as though it pained him to accept my help.

On our way out of the store, we passed the man once again. He did not acknowledge us in any way nor did he ask for anything. As we continued to our car, my son said he felt bad for the man and asked if we could buy a hamburger for him.

As much as I wanted to help my son in this manner, I was afraid that a negative encounter with this man would deter my son from future acts of generosity.

The good I had felt at helping the man disappeared with the disappointment I knew my son felt, but as a parent, I had to choose where to draw the line between safety and generosity. As the man responded without kindness to me for the money I gave him, I was afraid he would do worse if my son were to try to hand him a hamburger.

I have experienced some odd feelings in my life, but being both proud of my son and disgusted in myself at the same time was something I hope I never have to experience again. As we drove towards our home, my son asked me why he could not give the man a hamburger.

What I remember of my response was a horrible excuse, and most likely a lie, about how people would prefer the donation of money instead of food so they could buy what they like to buy.

He accepted my response as the truth. Our foray into generosity ended with me being proud of his desire to help, and with disgust at myself for not allowing him to help this man.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   KRMC follows trend, outsources coding (1283 views)

•   Man suffers injuries in Golden Valley rollover (1121 views)

•   The Case of the Missing Soapbox Derby Car (1023 views)

•   Mohave 911: May 23, 2016 (575 views)

•   Kingman Photo: Chillin' on Beale Street (508 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: Mary .

We have had good and bad experiences with the people outside of stores. The worst being out side of Basha's.
I have taught my kids to not let the bad seeds affect our desire to help. You never know how you impact some one's life.
Even this experience might hit this guy later teaching him that he needs to treat people better too.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: We the people{me} Thinking

I truly love the humanity and heart felt this letter showed that there is much hope for mankind even in time's such as these.
thank you for the letter it does much to the spirit and soul.

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

on ocassion in walmart parking lot especially and rarely other places i get approached for requests of charity, not once did i wonder why i should not give, gave what i could often not much but a few dollars but charity of this kind is preferable to some folks charities which they give and then try and get it back with a tax deduction,no way to deduct a gift to someone down on their luck living in a car, van etc. or homeless with not even that much to shelter them from the elements! we truly do have the bleeding heart liberals and the heartless fake compassionate conservatives, guess i have little doubt what the later would say about jesus haning out with the sinners, harlots, thieves etc., funny how the folks who hated him then swear they love him today, but they can lie, decieve till the end, jesus will know you or not!

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: fr. leonard walker

[Note to readers from Web Admin: There's a problem in the software. Nothing posted from the submission form has uppercase characters. All names, etc. are lowercase. We're working on it. And redundant as it is, this notice is being attached periodically as a reminder that it's not your typing, it's our software. Apologies.]

how beautiful is your reflection. thank you. so different than the vitriol so often found in comments found here. permit me to share one of my absolutely favorite quotes given by a well known saint towards the end of his life of ministry. sometime in the decade of 1560 st. vincent de paul was giving a conference to a group of young nuns about ready to begin their service to the poor.
“you will find out that charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. but you will keep your gentleness and your smile. it is not enough to give soup and bread. this the rich can do. you are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. they are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. and the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. it is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.”

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: Em Lee

When I give, I do not judge weather or not the person is going to use money for bad things. I give what I can and that is it. I hope they get a blessing from it.

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Your son saw that you attempted to do the right thing and that might be more important than feeling bad about the outcome.

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: stuart varon


Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Many use the excuse of the homeless are there due to their own fault to make themselves feel better about ignoring the poor, its a way to avoid facing the reality Jesus did not put conditions on ignoring the poor if they were drug addicts, alcoholics or winos etc.! He covered them with the sick and those in prison which covers the sick of illness of body and mind and soul! Its fairly easy to know why so many will be in that flock of goats and in shock and awe why they are there since they are truly blind one can read comments and see who is blind and who is not!

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Tim Kowalski

Jack Shepherd,Linda Athens,Strangerfrom StAlbans,Just thinking,John Reid,Dixie Tolentino and Patric Medeiros,very good letters,God bless.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Warren AO

When I lived in larger cities, I got into the habit of carrying around gift books from McDonald's and other restaurants. When someone hit me up for money, I could give them a coupon good for some food.

That way I could be reasonably sure they were going to, you know, actually eat something - as opposed to buying booze or whatever else.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Doing Research

I think you made a judgement call based on your gut and you shouldn't regret it.

What lesson are you teaching if you give the guy a burger and he's not thankful or rejects it? That gets complicated and Jack Shepherd is right - mental illness is a reason for a lot (not all) of the homelessness we see in the US today. How do you explain that effectively?

If anything use it as a lesson not for your kid, but for you on how to deal with the next homeless guy you see and don't let the experience go to waste.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Freedom Lover

It is a fine line parents walk in teaching our children the realities of life without jading or frightening them half to death.
You did no wrong and your 'excuse' had truth in it also.
In these situations, I try to explain that while you want to help some people, they may not appreciate it at the time but it is more important to learn to give without expecting anything in return.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

@ Linda Athens

You're compassion, empathy and mercy are ... uh ... somewhat missing. Let's see, your alleged work at a Christian Home for Alcoholics, if indeed it did happen, is only partially commendable. What of those who are alcoholic and not Christian? Christ never turned anyone away.

How does God tell you things? Do you hear a whisper in your ear? Or does he send an archangel? Or does he interrupt your radio station with a public service announcement? How would you have felt if this man was run over by the heavy traffic coming to respond to your lazy holler.

That's a mighty high horse you're on lady. Might want to get off and come down here with the common folk.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Jack Shepherd

There are as many reasons for homelessness as the true number of Homeless! If you end up on the streets, shuned by socity at large for six months, or more. You are damaged goods mentaly. Having walk across America, with my for declarations of the homeless, and being a former skid row drunk I can say to you, with out God, and Alcoholics Anonymous, I would still be on the streets. The best we can do, is give dignity, and respect. If we give monitarly, we should expect no reward. The real reward, is in the giving, and you are blessed to be able to do it..

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Athens

I wouldn't worry too much about your decision. Over many years, I have learned most are there due to bad decisions like drugs and booze rather than work and responsibility.

I worked with a Christian Home for Alcoholics a few years back and believe me, they will tell you they are master manipulators and scammers.

My heart always does break for them anyway but have learned to listen to God - when I am supposed to give He lets me know. Some are total scammers and make more than working people, especially in big cities. They have turf wars for the best corners.

Once God told me to give a scruffy looking red haired guy food so I went back around thru a drive thru, got in the far left lane and yelled to him to come get it (heavy traffic). I stuck $5 in the bag w/the food and he rushed over and thanked me repeatedly. That told me I had heard from on high correctly. The guy was eating the burger and waving and smiling before the light even changed.

Your thoughts were nice. Next time, I would get the burger. Sounds like the guy needed a bite to eat too. You'll get another chance. Probably soon.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Strangerfrom StAlbans

Don't be hard on yourself for being human. I explained to my young son years ago that it's akin to finding an injured animal by the side of the road. It is in pain and that might interfere with it's being able to recognize you are not there to hurt it more. It might snap at you and you have to protect yourself and those you love. You can still help, but if you get nipped don't take it personal, you did your best and that is the best anyone can do. You say a prayer for the poor soul and move on.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Just Thinking

Mr. Medeiros,

Keep in mind that the compassion your son showed is a reflection of the values you have taught him.

He is paying attention to you and what you may see as a failure on your part, may have been another lesson on his part about having wise judgement.

You did not ignore this displaced fellow man, in fact, you did help him with some cash.

It is easy to understand where your son gets his compassion. You wanted to do more for this man, but wisely chose the safety of your son.

In my eyes you did not fumble this.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Dixie Tolentino

Not handling this teachable moment the way you could have is the lament of most parents with regard to their children.

Being kind and being charitable are different things and should be considered in this moral question.

In this increasingly dangerous world we now live in your hesitation was probably caused by your parental radar to protect your child in this unknown situation. Absolutely correct!

Discussing your mixed feelings about this incident with your child even after the fact may have more value than had you allowed your child to give this person food.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: john reid

Parenthood is difficult at best. I applaud you for your introspection and desire to assist your kids understanding of the real world. We can't help change other's behavior, but we can help the kids understand that some people think and act very differently than the "norm" (whatever that is supposed to mean).

I feel that the gift mostly benefits the person giving the gift. The gift is intended to be a gift. Not an exchange, not a duty, not an investment. It is very difficult for me to resolve the "pearls to the swine" (wasting the gift) with the faith that the giver need not see the results. No one needs to fall on their knees, to acknowledge the gift, reward us for the giving. We give because we feel the internal need, not for external validation. If you can teach your kid that, I feel he will benefit.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Capt Nice

Some times I wonder if people hand out hard earned money to help some one or is it to make people think what a good person you are.
Your helping people who are looking for hand outs so they can go get their next drink is comendable but not very smart. All your doing is contributing to their down hill slide. Your boy wanting to give the man a burger was the only smart thing because when he refused it, your boy could eat it....some of these people make more money than some who hold down a job and laugh all the way to the beer store at what suckers we are.
It is a shame that we have people who stand on corners holding their hands out for money but that is their choice and there is nothing we can do about it.....I ignore them, but feel sorry for them.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: desert dweller

We are to do our "giving" as unto God..not unto man...that way, the way the person received the offering has no meaning on our intent...as for your son, I am not sure he was not being "led" to offer food...I think maybe a hamburger would have been a small investment in your sons future giving..just my opinion.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Find more about Weather in Kingman, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find it Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Local Listings
Real Estate Search | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Find Kingman Jobs | Kingman Chamber | e-News | Contact Us | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Kingman Daily Miner is the information source for Kingman and surrounding area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Kingman Daily Miner Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, kdminer.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to email your questions, comments or suggestions. Kingman Daily Miner Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved