Swickard: Give until it stops hurting

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  A friend in college was in a discussion group when someone said, “You must give until it hurts.” My friend corrected it to: “You must give until it stops hurting.” My, that is much better. With the tornado damage to Americans this week there is a divide in the discussions between: “Oh, just let the government take care of people in need because that is why we pay taxes,” and, “Here, my friend, I will help you.” 
Government, as it gets bigger, wants to be the entity that helps because it gives government a solid mission but we Americans were born to help each other. At least my generation was born that way. I am not saying there is not a place in a disaster for government. Goodness, there are always the needs of the many at the moment of disaster, but I am thinking of all the people in New Orleans and with Hurricane Sandy that sat and sat and sat waiting on the government. When Hurricane Katrina hit a friend of mine watched for a couple of hours on television and then, because he has a restaurant background, got a big truck and lots of supplies along with a generator. He and a couple friends headed down to New Orleans and parked in a closed Wal-Mart parking lot. For a week my friend served coffee and pancakes to the great relief of the people in the area. After a while the government got going but at the time of the disaster there was a schism between the Republican President and the Democrat Governor and Mayor of New Orleans. They initially told the president that they did not want help so when they changed their minds it was several days into the crisis. But in the middle of all that politics my friend made coffee, gave out bottles of water and served up pancakes to the grateful citizens. Then, with the big truck empty, he and his friends came home. On the way home they prayed that others would help because that is what we do, we give until it stops hurting. Read column