Reach out to help oth­ers in need

Franklin County News - - OUT & ABOUT - GE­OFF SMITH

We are blessed in Franklin with a va­ri­ety of agen­cies, peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions com­mit­ted to help­ing our com­mu­nity.

And we have a strong sense of com­mu­nity which was never more ev­i­dent than dur­ing the dis­cus­sions when it was pro­posed that Franklin be­come part of Auck­land city.

When I talk about Franklin I mean the old Franklin. Re­gard­less of where ar­bi­trary lines are drawn, com­mu­ni­ties are formed by peo­ple who live there and the way they con­nect and as­so­ciate nat­u­rally.

Franklin will go from be­ing the least pop­u­lated ward of Auck­land to the most pop­u­lated within a short space of time.

When a com­mu­nity faces rapid growth in pop­u­la­tion, we risk los­ing that old sense of com­mu­nity and we be­come just an­other anony­mous sub­urb where every­body minds their own busi­ness.

Here is an in­ter­est­ing test. Your child comes home from school and asks you for more food in their lunch box. You nat­u­rally ask why. They tell you that there is a new kid in their class who did not come to school with a lunch. They were hun­gry be­cause it ap­pears there was no break­fast. So your child shared their lunch.

What would go through your mind? Would you be proud of their car­ing, of their gen­eros­ity? And would you say so? Then what would you do? Would you say, ‘‘Sure thing dear, no prob­lem.’’ Or ‘‘Sorry dar­ling but that is not our prob­lem, the school will need to sort that out.’’ Or, ‘‘It is tough enough for us with­out hav­ing to take on other peo­ple’s trou­bles.’’

We learn to care be­cause we were taught to care. It is a well­known fact that vol­un­teers come from fam­i­lies of vol­un­teers.

I re­mem­ber my par­ents al­ways do­ing things for oth­ers through the vol­un­teer fire ser­vice, through the church and the school. I, as the old­est, hav­ing to watch out for my younger broth­ers. It never crossed my mind there was any other op­tion.

The first thing you would do is ac­knowl­edge your child for their com­pas­sion and car­ing. You might even pack an­other lunch for them to give to their hun­gry friend. Whether or not you are in the for­tu­nate po­si­tion to pro­vide more food for your lovely child to share, a big­ger prob­lem has been iden­ti­fied.

It would be great if you could reach out. Per­haps you could go meet the par­ent(s) and in­tro­duce your­self. You could say their child was a friend of yours at school and you were com­ing by to in­tro­duce your­self so they could feel com­fort­able let­ting their child come to your home to play with your child.

From there it may be you are able to learn more and if not help di­rectly help them con­nect with those that can help them if things are get­ting tough. Peo­ple who aren’t cop­ing of­ten find it hard to ask for help. If you do not feel con­fi­dent enough do­ing this, then at least go to school and tell them what is hap­pen­ing. They will know what to do.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Let­ters should not ex­ceed 250 words and must have full name, res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber. The edi­tor re­serves the right to abridge or with­hold any cor­re­spon­dence with­out ex­pla­na­tion. Let­ter may be edited. Write to Let­ters to the Edi­tor, Franklin County News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email julie.kaio@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz with your views.

Ge­off Smith

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