I am not shy about my charity work and since I appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, the requests for money have become more frequent.
Last week I got one from a local 15-year-old lad who was after me buying him some new football boots and kit. It got me thinking.
Back in my day, if you needed something that you couldn’t afford, the first thing you did was think about how you could get hold of the cash for it. Usually, that meant getting a part-time job – delivering milk, papers or some other kind of straightforward grafting. Dragons’ Den panellist Duncan Bannatyne wrote in his autobiography that he not only got a paper round to pay for a bike, he actually knocked on doors to get customers for his round!
These days, children are brought up to expect that someone will always give them what they need. Instead of “How can I get it for myself?” the question has changed to “Who can I get it from?” There is an ingrained sense of entitlement and it’s holding us back as a nation.
And it’s exactly the same when it comes to benefits. I wonder why people are happy to do nothing and take handouts. Have people have been made lazy by the state and a collection of well-meaning charities waiting to bail them out? People need to start hearing the word “no” a little more often and maybe a few more will break out of their cycle of unemployment and wasted lives.
Oh, and my answer to the football kit-requesting lad? It was a polite “no” with the suggestion he should get a job and earn the money the old-fashioned way. Maybe he could wash vans for a local plumber in his spare time, just like I did…
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