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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Going to extremes almost never works...

I was just reading an article about a family who appeared on the television show, Extreme Makeover: The Home Edition. Unfortunately, they are now facing foreclosure on the home that was built for them. The Harper family apparently used the home as collateral on a loan for $450,000. It makes me wonder, as I always wonder while I am watching the show, what makes the Extreme Makeover team believe that a family whose home is in such disrepair to begin with will be able to sustain the upkeep on a home that is valued so much higher than the one that they started with? Additionally, why can't they simply restore the homes to a decent, livable condition without making such lavish displays of them. I realize that doing it this way would be in direct conflict with the title of the show, but really, isn't any significant improvement to some of these houses kind of extreme?

I thought, at one point, that I liked the show. That was before I started listening to the stories behind the families they were selecting. There may have been one or two truly deserving families in the whole lot of them. I'm sorry, but to me, a qualification for help does not include having lots of children and not being able to afford taking care of them. This is a seemingly optional plight. In my mind, if you are going to have more than a couple of kids, you should be prepared to have at least a couple of jobs. If you can't get at least one job, then well, why would you endeavor to support anyone except yourself?

But, you may whine, these individuals are big-hearted people who want to share their love with children, doesn't that count for anything? My answer: How much do they earn in a year just spreading their wonderful love around? Does it bring in enough money to pay a mortgage? Forget mortgage, can you afford a tank of gas?

But, you may persist, they can't find work that will pay the bills. All the jobs out there are minimum wage. My answer: Bullshit. There are jobs out there. You might not like what's available, but they are out there. Use the skills you have or go out and get new skills. Even if you have to start at the bottom, work your rear end off until you get to where you need to be. In the meantime, don't bring any kids into the world or otherwise encumber yourself unless you can afford to do so. Don't people kind of have an idea of what their income potential is long before they start having children? If not, then maybe they're having their children way too early. Just a thought.

I know, I know, I sound like one of those terrible Republicans. Trust me, I'm really not. I'm just a person who has worked in Social Services and who has witnessed more than my fair share of people who are down on their luck. These families as well as just about everyone else I've ever met, fall into one of two categories. They are either truly unlucky, but willing to try anything just to keep their heads above water or they are unlucky, but simply not willing to do anything to improve their situations no matter how bad it gets and they wait for someone else to fix their problems. The latter group will never figure it out. You can fix and fix and fix things for them, but they will always have other problems that keep things from ever being right. The more you bail them out, the more they need to be bailed out.

Lest you think I'm a heartless witch, I assure you that I have absolutely no problem with helping people find resources and allowing them to work it out on their own. I really think that works best. I'm a firm believer in the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. I'm not sure that throwing a huge fish at people does anything but stuff them full and leave them to lay around and digest it giving little thought to where their next fish might be coming from. Shows like Extreme Makeover not only give them the fish, they practically chew it for them. I'd like to see a show that does an extreme makeover on someone's poor attitude. When they show me that they can change a slacker into a productive member of society, then I'll be impressed.

Until next time...

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1 comment:

Meloni Cassidy said...

I agree with what you a point. With this economy even the financially sound are suffering. People are choosing between gas, groceries and their bills. It is a hard time for everyone. As far as Extreme Makeover, I thought the show just did all that for free?? BTW-Glad to see you're doing ok and still writing.

A Little Bit of Mystery: Short Mysteries to Confuse and Amuse

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