I have a friend who is homeless. She was maybe 21 when her parents kicked her out because she wouldn’t get a job. That was two years ago. She’s had housing since then but doesn’t right now. She asked me to bring her the stuff she left at her parents’ house. So my husband filled the back of the van, and I took it to St John’s Lutheran on East Washington. They let the homeless stay in their basement during the day.

As I got in my van to leave, a man started talking to me. I rolled down the window and listened politely. He asked, “Do you have kids?” “Yes, I do.” “I don’t.” he said, “I have nieces. But let me ask you: Do you think that it’s right to keep helping a kid out every time they get into trouble?” I thought for a minute and then said, “Maybe it’d be better if you waited until they got themselves out of trouble, and then you helped them stay out.”

I thought of my homeless friend. She had grown up a lot since her parents’ kicked her out. Even I quit helping her until she got a job. She has a job now, even though she’s homeless. I think kicking her out was the best thing that could have happened to her. Not that it’s any fun being homeless, but she has to learn to take responsibility for herself.

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