The year was 1972, and a song entitled “The Clean-up Woman” was popular by singer Betty Wright. My entry for today should be labeled “The Clean-Up Column,” since several topics will be addressed. All merit attention, but none deserving of solo focus.
Clevelanders are still joyously celebrating the return of their Prodigal Son, LeBron James. It is with both happiness and hesitation that I share their enthusiasm. Considering that his two-year Cavaliers contract is worth an estimated $42 million, relocating anywhere to play basketball, maybe to Mars or the snowy tundra of Siberia, would have been a viable option. According to Sports Illustrated, James’ annual endorsement revenue equals approximately $25 million. This amount, added to his Cavaliers paychecks, equates to $50 million James will earn annually. This calculates to $137,000 per day of income or $610,000 for every NBA game in which he will play during the season. How is this possible? James is playing basketball, not curing cancer.
LeBron, if you truly love Cleveland and sincerely think you “mishandled” your exit from that city four years ago, why not publicly pledge a percentage of your mind-boggling “King’s Ransom” to various charities in Northeast Ohio or equally struggling areas of the state? Ironically, I was in downtown Cleveland when the announcement was forthcoming of his 2008 Miami defection. How quickly those furious and riotous Cavalier fans have “forgiven and forgotten.”
Speaking of Cleveland and financial generosity, young Harley Helman started gathering blankets, food and toys in 2009 for Cuyahoga County animal shelters. Now a teenager, Ms. Helman, has donated an estimated 3,000 items and also founded a Cleveland non-profit, appropriately named Blankets “Fur” Beasties.
Seeking more financial resources to increase her shelter gifts, she applied for $1,000 from “The Pollination Project.” Founded by Ariel Nessel who accumulated his fortune from redeveloping Dallas real estate, he has dedicated his philanthropic efforts and financial wealth to “Seeding Projects that Change the World.” Since beginning his daily $1,000 gift in 2013, Mr. Nessel has donated more than $400,000 of his assets to American-based grassroots organizations, such as Hellman’s, and also abroad.
Potentially learning from Mr. Nessel’s example, “King James” could help finance a scope of Cleveland projects that would have astounding ramifications. Please, LeBron, be generous to the beleaguered city you exited for sunny South Beach, by proving to Ohio that you are returning “home” for more than just a paycheck. Let your children, LeBron, be proud of their father who singlehandedly changed the fortunes of a financially challenged city and surrounding community.
Children are the topic of my final and third subject. An estimated 90,000 kids will cross the United States border with Mexico during 2014 seeking refuge, most unaccompanied by parents. The number has been doubling annually to extraordinary estimates. How sad that parents are unable to provide for their children at home and must send them alone and far away to a foreign land and an uncertain future.
Seeing children treated as financial burdens for a struggling family is heartbreaking. As a Counselor, I am impacted by the aftermath of many single and some married parents who did not consider the consequences of having multiple offspring, often with different mates. Some of these children are ignored, neglected and unsupervised, leading to sometimes disastrous consequences. This ongoing cycle of poverty has a higher probability of being repeated with a pattern of unplanned pregnancies.
Recently the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based craft store chain is not required to cover birth control expenses under the company’s health insurance plan. I am outraged and emphatically disagree with the high court’s ruling.
Is it better to allow unplanned pregnancies to occur because a worker could not afford the additional cost of birth control options, only to have a child live a life of potential abuse, neglect, and poverty? When the child starts acting out in school or becomes non-law abiding because of absentee parenting or impoverishment, a counselor often will be summoned to “fix” the situation. As stated in previous columns, we mental health professionals are not magicians or miracle workers. Many times it is the parents who should be the client versus the child.
Even though I have empathy for the estimated 90,000 children expected to flood our Southern border this year, the United States cannot absorb the onslaught. The core issue of birth control is conveniently being overlooked both here and in impoverished South American countries by religious leaders.
Pope Francis, you have bravely tackled controversial subjects which remained unaddressed for decades. These have included such “hot button topics” as being more welcoming of gays into the church and ousting suspected “Pedophile Priests.”
Modernizing church views on birth control and allowing your faithful followers updated options for family planning could be revolutionary. This would be a first step toward addressing the population growth of countries that are already economically challenged and unable to sustain their citizens and offspring. Eventually fewer unwanted children would be exited to the United State alone and destitute, and the quandary we encounter as compassionate Americans to aid in this onslaught of adolescent cast-offs would be lessened.
Mariann Main is a Delaware native and Licensed Counselor in both Ohio and Georgia. Readers can reach her directly with commentary or questions via e-mail at MariannMain@GMail.com.