Thursday, August 24, 2006

Private philanthropy

I was recently introduced to a young couple, both 21 years old, proud parents of a month-old baby. They live in low-income housing, dad works a joe job. . .mom stays home, no friends or family nearby, to take care of baby.

Is this an untenable situation? YOU BET IT IS! American society requires that we become rugged individualists. . .nuclear families reign supreme and exist in a vacuum of our own making. In the days of yore, mother/grandmother/sister were omnipresent. . .helping with practical matters but, more importantly, providing guidance and wisdom and support in navigating life's tricky waters. WHERE IS MY RED TENT?

Wanna make a difference? We have lots of opportunities. We can bankroll large ventures that help people help themselves. We can write and protest and travel the world looking for the downtrodden. . .hoping to shine some light on injustice.

But another option is to look a bit closer to home. Speak some kind words, bring a dinner, offer to babysit, share your experiences, your wealth, your time. I BELIEVE in private philanthropy. I believe that anyone who comes across my path presents a challenge to me, an opportunity for me. Maybe it's all my years spent in uniform as a Catholic girl but an old song keeps playing in my head. "All that I am. All that I do. All that I'll ever have I offer now to you."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be a wise parent--as long as you don't actually have kids?