Things aren’t always what they seem. Burn this in your brain. Let it become your mantra. It will save you from leaping before you look, thus averting many potential disasters.
That’s probably good advice for just about any situation life can throw at you, but we’re referring to one in particular that you will encounter thousands of times in the motels before you hang up your grocery bags and pass the baton to a new generation.
As it becomes more apparent to your homeless clients that you are a kind, caring person who will listen, they are going to start talking to you about their problems. They may even ask you outright for help. Be very careful in situations that appear to involve injustices done to your clients, especially by their neighbors, their employers, motel owners or law enforcement. (This is only a short list. The possibilities are endless). Your first inclination will be to leap right in and make whatever’s wrong right, or make it go away to ease things for your client because you can’t stand to see them distressed.
It’s an admirable thought, but before you do anything make sure you have all the facts. It’s human nature to want to be the one “in the right”. We all do it. It’s also human nature to fudge the facts a bit or embellish them. The chances of you having the entire story presented to you truthfully and accurately the first time out is dishearteningly small.
If you take your client’s words at 100% face value and leap into action, you may find the quicksand you land on rapidly sucking you in.