We’re watching The Secret Millionaire at the moment. I like this programme, it always makes me think. I really don’t agree with the idea that throwing money at a situation solves all the problems, but you do have to accept that in the vast majority of cases, more money means more opportunity to help yourself. And it is encouraging that some people with those kind of fortunes are willing to use their money to do something good. I genuinely like to think that if I had that kind of money, I would use it, I would give it to people who deserve it. You don’t need a huge amount of money – this is why footballer’s wages make me so mad. But that’s another story (/rant).
I guess you can see it from the perspective of Rich Man sprinkling some of his cash over Poor Man, whose life is so sad, so removed from his own luxurious existence… and Poor Man gratefully scrapes up the crumbs. But I prefer not to be so cynical. I think it’s a good example, that some people who have been fortunate in their lives, for whatever reasons, however they got there, want to pass that on to others.
But like I said, I don’t necessarily agree with all of it. The guy on it today is a shop owner who had premises broken into, robbed and burnt in the London riots last summer. So he is now visiting various estates, meeting the same sort of disadvantaged, “troubled youth” who were involved, to see if he can dig down into why.
It makes me… a bit angry. And I think before I start, I should clarify. I am not against helping people. Especially those who want to be helped, who want to make something better of themselves. But I really don’t think you can help everyone. And I’ll even go as far to say as maybe you shouldn’t.
This is only my opinion, and I accept that it may not be shared by everyone. My housemates certainly don’t agree with me. But some “troubled youths” really are – again, in my opinion – not worth “saving”. You can’t help everyone. Some of these kids really are just not worth the effort. And why should you invest time, money, energy, and hope into helping people that just don’t want to change? I have always firmly believed that there is no point in helping people that don’t want to help themselves.
There are, of course, positive stories that come out of situations like these. Kids that make the right decisions, that surround themselves with the right people, that choose to keep their head above it all. That see the bigger picture. And those stories perhaps mean more, when you consider the background they’re set against. I am for second chances. If you want to use that second chance, take that opportunity.
But second, third, fourth, fifth…? When I was doing my MA I spent some time with the probation service, and just to see what they’re up against… the same people coming back, time after time after time, back through the system. And yes you can say that “the system” is failing them somehow, that they become dependant on it, they don’t know how to cope. And I’m sure that in many cases that is indeed true. But in all of them? Could it not also be said that some people just can’t be “saved” from it? That they don’t want to be, don’t care enough?
Everyone looks for someone to blame – the parents, the politicians, TV, rap artists. But – and I recognise this could be quite controversial – could it really not just be as simple as some of them – and again I stress some of them – only have themselves to blame?
At the end of the day, you make your own decisions, you make your own life. Even if you don’t end up with the opportunity or the support you may see others receiving, you can still make basic decisions – don’t steal, don’t stab, don’t stop caring. Essentially, the power is in your hands.