What the Peer/Union Counselor Course Taught Me

Doug Herr,
United Steel Workers Local #115

[Note: Annually, the Labor/United Way Partnership offers the 10 week Peer/Union Counselor Course, a sequence of 10 classes (3 hours per week), which prepares participants to be advocates for their friends, family, neighbors, and fellow workers in times of need. Each class introduces a community service (e.g. Legal Aid, Homeless programs, Workforce development). The last class is a Poverty Simulation.]

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving”. The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Kahlil Gibran
Lebanese-American artist and poet

HH Gregg is going out of business. Marsh is shutting down some more stores. Sears is shutting down 150 stores this year.

We all know that means jobs will be lost. These jobs, for the most part, were not good paying jobs.

After going through the Peer Counseling Course and the Poverty Simulation, I learned that no one suffers more than the working poor, because no matter how hard you work or how hard you try, people think you don’t deserve assistance simply because, it seems, you are receiving it.

If a news story features one person who appears to be gamming the system, then it becomes an excuse to vilify everyone who needs help.

In Darwin’s “Descent of Man”, it is said that he wrote only twice about the Survival of the Fittest but 95 times of love, 12 times of selfishness, and 92 times of moral sensitivity.

Dr. Seuss said, “In the time we are allowed here, we will wear many hats. The hat of the fooled, the hat of the schooled, the hat of the spited, the hat of the righted, the hat of the fat and, perhaps, even, say the hat of a cat."
No hat fits as well or feels as warm and welcoming as the hat of the generous of spirit. So, let us wear that hat often and let us wear it well.