In my non-work life, I’m trying to instill a general spirit of thankfulness in my children. I ask my daughters every night to tell me one thing they’re thankful for. On our coldest evening yet, my sweet little Lucy (who just turned four) was most thankful for a warm house, and a warm room, and a warm bed. (Jane was thankful for pumpkin pie.) They snuggled under their faux down comforters, and I kissed them both on their foreheads and said goodnight.
I had a difficult time going to sleep that night. I couldn’t get away from the weight and sadness, the unfairness that there are children out there who don’t have nice warm beds. Who don’t have nice warm homes. Who might have been sleeping with their mom or dad at the bus stop on our coldest night this Fall.
And once again, I was reminded of how difficult it is to separate my work life from my home life, and I was reminded of how sometimes that is okay. I’m a social worker. You can never turn that off, right? I mean, our code of ethics is about service and social justice and the dignity and worth of persons. We are supposed to work on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups. And that doesn’t stop at 5pm or take a break on the weekends.
On a night when my girls knew to be thankful for warmth, there were hundreds of people without a bed of their own. Some of them slept on the street. Some of them slept at a friend or family member’s house. Some of them slept in their cars. And some of them slept at a shelter. There are many ways that people can be homeless, but I suspect that none of them is particularly pleasant.
This is Homelessness Awareness Week. In a month where we are encouraged to be a little more thoughtful about that which we give thanks, it also seems relevant to think about families who are just like ours, except for the fact that they don’t have a place to call home.
Want to do something?
Wyandotte Homeless Services Coalition is hosting a bingo fundraiser November 21st, at Hamburger Mary’s. NHAW 2013 Flyer