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A lesson we can all learn from

On the front page of Thursday’s Daily News, there was a cute picture. A kindergarten student from Chocowinity Primary School, with his arm outstretched to place a can of soup in the little free pantry behind Rachel K’s Bakery.

It was a heartwarming photo, and the story that accompanied it was just as warm and fuzzy. It featured some of Beaufort County’s youngest residents, learning a lesson about the needs of others and how they can help address them. It’s a lesson we could all stand to be reminded of, from time to time.

The fact of the matter is the world can be a pretty cold and uncaring place sometimes. It’s easy to look down on others and say, ‘Why don’t they just get a job?’ and ‘Why should I support someone who can’t support themselves?’

You especially hear it in political circles. People complain about food stamps, welfare and Medicaid, and how these poor people need to just lift themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of their lives. Sure, there are instances of waste and abuse in these programs, and the government can’t solve everything. When people fall on hard times, however, it’s good to have this social safety net in place to help them back on their feet. There are a lot of people who genuinely need the help to get by.

The worst thing one can do, however, is to just ignore the problem; turn a blind eye to the suffering all around us. Pretend the poor people don’t exist and that there aren’t homeless people in Beaufort County and that there aren’t kids living in cars whose parents can’t afford school lunch. If it doesn’t affect my life, why should I care?

Well, those Kindergarteners learned something different this week, and it’s a good thing that they did. They learned to think about someone beside themselves, something many adults among us have failed to master. It’s a lesson that hopefully they’ll not soon forget, and one we can all learn from.