Blog posts similar to sermons and other messages can come from anywhere and at anytime. In fact, the creation of this post is one such example. Ironically, speaking of sermons, this one came to me while in church and listening to the morning prayer offered by a childhood friend who referenced both the "handout" and the "hand-up" in her petitioning on behalf of the congregation. As I connected with the spirit of the prayer, a voice spoke to me saying "There is a difference between a handout and a hand-up," and I immediately knew that before the day was out, I would write the post you are reading now.
While both phrases start with the word "hand," over time each has taken on different connotations. Handout generally is connoted negatively, while Hand-Up is thought to be something positive. Oddly enough when researching the definition of Hand-Up, I found that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Hand-up as, to deliver (an indictment) to a judge or higher judicial authority. For the purposes of this post, we will use the English Oxford Living Dictionaries definition which is as follows:
1 An act of assistance provided by one person to another to help him or her climb on to something, or move to a higher place or a standing position, by using a hand or hands to pull up and support his or her weight. Frequently in to give (a person) a hand up
2 An act of assistance or aid (typically in the form of practical advice or support) given to a person or persons in order to help them improve their circumstances; a helping hand.
A handout on the other hand (no pun intended) is thought of as something given free to a needy person or organization with the keyword being "free." The person or organization do not have to do anything for what is given other than to receive it. In both instances, it is assistance given in one form or another to someone in need. If you've read this far, stay with me as I am going somewhere with the definitions, as herein lies in my view, the issue. In far too many instances what was initially meant to be a "Hand-Up" became a perpetual "Handout." The hand-up was never designed to be an eternal handout and yet for far too many it became just that. The system was not initially designed for generations to pass the assistance along as if it were an inheritance or right. It was supposed to be a temporary provision to get one back on his or her feet. Partially to blame is the original design of the welfare system (Man-In-The-House Rule) which cut its own nose to spite its face resulting in consequences opposite of intent.
So what's the point?, you say. The point is, as I heard a news reporter say the other day, this is not the most "Entitlement Friendly" group that is coming into office in 2017, meaning the possibility of a significant amount of government assistance being reduced or done away with altogether. Which means it is incumbent upon us to always be preparing ourselves to support ourselves whether government assistance is given or not. It is imperative that when we do fall on hard times that we use the system as a true hand-up and not see it as a handout for life. We must prepare ourselves with education and beyond, continuously retooling to keep pace with the ever changing skills market.
Grassroots alternatives such as the Medi-Share program and other hand-ups like it covering all facets of life must continue to be developed in order for everyone regardless of demographics to move to a higher place. We must all work together to prevent the hand-up from becoming a handout way of life.
Below are some statistics provided by Statistic Brain (http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics/ ) citing the US Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, CATO Institute as its source for the information. Review information for what it is worth carefully and you will understand why we must keep a hand-up, a hand-up and not allow it to become a lifelong handout.
As always, something to critically think about.
|Total amount of money you can make monthly and still receive some form of welfare||$1,000|
|Total Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job||39|
|Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job||6|
|Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than the average salary of a U.S. Teacher||8|
|Less than 7 months||19%|
|7 to 12 months||15.2%|
|1 to 2 years||19.3%|
|2 to 5 years||26.9%|
|Over 5 years||19.6%|