A reader writes:
The first half of the website developer's story you posted was great; another lesson about how living in your means can greatly improve the quality of life, in good times or bad. But my stomach turned when I reached the story about refusing his friend asking him for money. And this man is actually boasting about turning away a friend in need, as though he should be given a pat on the back (or a show on CNBC) for that.
I, for one, would be ashamed not to be able to help my friends in a time of need, even if they made some bad decisions to get there. Whatever set of values I refer to: American, Catholic, Human, none of them justify gloating as you leave your fellow men in the dust. If it's within your means, you should offer assistance. I was reminded of a sermon I heard years ago, saying that if you buy a new couch, the true act of charity is donating that to the poor and keeping the old one for yourself. I can't help but think that there was a strong streak in this web designer's story of the smugness and self-centeredness that led our financial industry to have no regard for its neighbors.
It always strikes me as interesting how growing up poor affects how people view the world. My mother grew up very poor. She worked extremely hard to put herself through college and finally getting her doctorate. She is now retired and spends her time volunteering for a variety of charities. She believes in continually giving back and helping others who are trying to make it in this world.
Unlike the gentleman who wrote to you, she did not come away from her experiences with the attitude of "I did, so you should be able to." The fact that he uses the word apathetic several times to describe how he feels about his friend's situation is interesting. Thank goodness not all of us are apathetic.
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