Neighbor by Neighbor believes in empowering individuals, and it requires discernment to know when supplying a need will also empower the individual. When we witness children with a need, we very readily supply, recognizing that children are among the most vulnerable in our population. Unfortunately, the vulnerability of an adult is often disguised. We often unfairly associate a person’s struggling circumstance to poor life decisions. To see them rightly, we almost need a transforming lens to view them as the individual they were when they were initially in need of their first pair of “boots”. We need to remember that they were at one time vulnerable children. Psychology points us to the first emotional trauma, perhaps in childhood or adolescence, as the initial cause of pain that spirals one on a downward trajectory. Perhaps as children, their parents lived in the same scarcity they are facing today. On occasion, I gain enough trust of another individual to get a glimpse of the painful moments throughout the years. When I can see the adult through the lens of a vulnerable child, my compassion and empathy grow immensely. A friend of mine was recently talking about the common phrase of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.” She happens to own a pair of boots in which one of the pair is missing its strap. She depends on the use of a shoe horn to put on her strapless boot. Many of us have never known a life without well-made bootstrapped boots, others have experienced one without a bootstrap, but have had the necessary support of a shoehorn. But how about those individuals who have, perhaps, never worn a pair of boots? God, give us eyes to see people rightly, through the lens you provide, full of mercy and compassion.