How to create dependancy

From Toxic Charity by Bob Lupton,

Give once and you elicit appreciation;

Give twice and you create anticipation;

Give three times and you create expectation;

Give four times and it becomes entitlement;

Give five times and you establish dependency.


The 8 Levels of Charity

giving image

photo credit: Mindful One via photopin cc

From Maimonides, a 12th century Jewish philosopher whose reflections on “charity” still ring true today.

“There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

[1] The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .(Did I hear an Amen from the authors of “Toxic Charity” and “When Helping Hurts?”)

[2] A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple [in Jerusalem]. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator…

[3] A lesser level of charity than this is when one knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to walk about in secret and put coins in the doors of the poor. It is worthy and truly good to do this, if those who are responsible for distributing charity are not trustworthy.

[4] A lesser level of charity than this is when one does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to tie coins into their robes and throw them behind their backs, and the poor would come up and pick the coins out of their robes, so that they would not be ashamed.

[5] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.

[6] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person after being asked.

[7] A lesser level than this is when one gives inadequately, but gives gladly and with a smile.

[8] A lesser level than this is when one gives unwillingly.”

A Poem for Father’s Day

Only a Dad

By Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.
From “The Book of Man” compiled by Bill Bennett

Advice on Moving Fences

Barn next to my childhood home.  Now a subdivision
Back in the days of square photos.

As a child, my dad and I would often take walks through the farm fields by our house many evenings after dinner.

Our destination was a sandbar on the Harpeth River, about a mile or so from our house.  There we would skip rocks, fish, or check on the trot lines we had strung between the banks.

And, like all journeys, we encountered our share of obstacles along the way.

I can remember jumping a small creek and climbing over several gates and fences.  The barbed wire ones were the trickiest.  But, I helped dad get over them nonetheless.

Those memories remind me of a tendency we humans have in life.  In our journeys, when we encounter something in our way we often just see it as that, ‘something in our way.’

We walk along, seemingly headed where we want to go, and we encounter a fence.  “Why is this here,” we ask ourselves.  “I see no need of it.”

“Someone from an age gone by must have placed it here. I bet for some reason that no longer exists.  They probably put it here to keep people out. Just being mean or maybe out of fear.”

“Certainly today we don’t need such fences.  My journey would be so much better and easier without it.”

Or maybe, “people just want to fence me in.  But I don’t care what they say.”

So, we set out to remove said fence, perhaps busting a hole in it or convincing others around us that there is no need for it at all. All the while we think that this will help us progress in our journey.

And, for a time it seems to do so.  “We’re free,” we tell ourselves.  Then we run on ahead only to encounter another fence.  What will we do this time?  Knock it down too?

A good rule is this…before you remove a fence, know why it was put there in the first place!  For you too will likely find yourself erecting some fence of your own along the way because you think it needs to be there.

Then, in some years to come, another one journeying along will encounter your fence and see no need for it either.  Taking it down they will think they are doing good for those who travel after them.

But, what happens when you take down a fence only to learn later the important reason it was put there in the first place?  Perhaps it was there to protect something valuable, like a herd or a house.

Maybe it was put there to keep something dangerous out, and now your removal has only let the foxes and wolves have their way.

Fields don’t exist without fences.  In fact, nothing exists without boundaries.

GK Chesterton (read anything he wrote if you get the chance) profoundly wrote in his 1929 book titled “The Thing” (which I haven’t read, just found the quote which inspired this post), 

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

In our age of ‘change,’ ‘reform,’ and ‘transformation,’ let’s be sure we stop long enough to really understand what it is we are removing, fixing, or replacing.

After all, we are really just setting up new fences for the next generation.

And those before us who erected the fences ‘in our way’ had their reasons for doing so and we might be glad one day that they did.