Just last week I bought one of my friends a pack of cigarettes and my other friend a can of coke. Both these friends are addicts. And both these friends are homeless.
Should I have done this? Was there a better a way to spend my money on my friends?
Sure neither cigarettes or coke are good for you. Maybe the coke is the lesser of these 2 evils, but the amount of coke my friend consumes means it’s probably just as bad as the cigarettes my other friends smokes.
Maybe I should have bought my friends something useful and beneficial?
But that assumes I KNOW what they want or need. What I may see as useful may be particularly un-useful to them.
I once walked past a man begging outside a fast food joint. Another man went into the restaurant and come out with a burger and handed it to the ‘beggar’. The ‘beggar’ muttered under his breathe ‘that’s the 10th burger I’ve received today, I don’t need a burger I need money for a room to stay.’ To me this powerfully illustrates how we can’t assume what another person needs or wants until we have looked at life from their perspective.
If look at my own spending habits, I’m not sure I always buy things for myself that are useful or beneficial. I do it anyway because I WANT to and for that moment it makes me happy. Sure maybe I have the right to because it’s MY money and sure maybe the things I buy wont kill me...but is there really a big difference? Are our motives are the same...?
You see I bought these ‘drug’s’ of choice for my friends because I wanted to a do a nice thing for them; without judging what they want or deem as useful or beneficial - gift if you like.
Maybe that wasn’t a smart or wise thing to do from my perspective. But when I took the time to look at things from their perspective it seemed like the right thing to do.