There are many ways to say it. “Give someone a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he has food for the rest of his life.”
“Not a handout but a leg up.”
Being vertically challenged – I’m 5’ tall- I’ve had a problem for a while. I have overhead fans with lights attached to them in several rooms in my apartment and if they weren’t on when I turned the switch, I had a few choices: I could stand on a chair and reach for the string wobbling as I got to it. I could do without the light. If my husband was home, I could ask him to turn the lights or the fan on or off for me. Not being able to do something as simple as turning the light on or off both infuriated me and reminded me of what disabled people experience sometimes on an hourly basis. Either do without or be dependent. Often there are simple devices that can solve the problem. Microwaves with the controls in Braille, voice-activated computers, and telephone connections for the hearing impaired are a few that come to mind.
Finally, we decided to solve my problem. We bought extensions for the chains on the overhead fans and lights. Now I can turn them on or off all by myself. Wow! The feeling of independence feels so liberating that I find myself turning lights on and off just because I can. Why didn’t I think of that before?
In a way, this is a metaphor for the issues that I depicted in my book Breaking the Fall. In the book, Sherry, a Chicago therapist, works with people who face problems for which they seek her help. Often systemic problems in our society place obstacles to their healing. These people seek help so that they can live their lives as independently as possible. Sherry has to help her clients unravel their problems and find the solutions and understandings that will help them overcome the obstacles that they face. Many of the obstacles are ones that society places in their path and that threaten their lives and sometimes their very survival. Will Sherry be able to help them or will her own problems engulf her? That’s for the reader to discover by reading Breaking the Fall. It can be bought as a paperback on Amazon or read on a Kindle or a Nook.
All people are searching for is the string to pull that can unravel the problems. Usually it’s more complicated than a single string but being able to unravel any part of a problem helps and sometimes leads to solving another piece of it.
In the meantime, I’m going to turn out the light when I leave this room. It feels so good to be able to do it all by myself.