Nine Months More


It was an indulgent Friday afternoon in the city with my boys. Lord of the Fries, Kripsy Kreme, new books from the city bookshop and now we were making our way to the lolly shop, before going to Daddy’s work. The boys were bursting with excitement to see Daddy’s work and I couldn’t be happier.

Pushing through the city crowds as we crossed Collins Street I was so focused on not running someone over with the pram that I barely noticed him. I was so focused on getting to the lolly shop that I barely saw him. He was wearing jeans, a grey jumper, sneakers and a black baseball cap. He was kneeling upright. His head bowed very low. His arms raised above his head. His hands clasped together, begging for money.

My reflex reaction was to look away and keep pushing past. Yet I only managed to take ten more steps. Abruptly I stopped the pram and stood there. The people bumping past were annoyed that I was now an obstacle in the flow of pedestrians.

But I couldn’t take another step. My conscience was screaming at me. My head was a football match of voices. He is so young. What happened in his life so that he is here now? Gosh he looks to be my husband’s age. Oh my, surely he must have a family. You can’t solve his problems. Keep going. You are going to be late.


Even if I wanted to keep walking I couldn’t. Something inside me took over. I turned the pram around. I walked back to the man begging on the street. With hands shaking, I reached into my handbag and pulled out my wallet. In that moment I asked AJ to open his hands. Into them I poured all the gold coins I had. Slowly and quietly I told my eldest son to go and place the money in the man’s hands.

AJ did not question me, not even once. Instead he walked over and carefully placed the money into the outstretched hands of the man on the street. When the man felt the touch of the coins he looked up. Over the edge of the baseball cap he saw my son. AJ stood there with one of his biggest and most heart-warming smiles. The look of surprise on that man’s face will never leave me.

There in the grey, cold emptiness of the street a man knelt, begging for money, begging for life, begging to be seen. Yet he remained invisible to everyone going by.

When AJ walked back to me, he asked “Mum why did we give him money?”

Holding back tears I answered “Because no one should be invisible AJ. You have an amazing life, you need to always be grateful for what you have.” He gave me a huge hug, smiled and said “let’s go to the lolly shop now!”

As my boys wandered around picking their sweets, I couldn’t help but twist over the man only a few metres away on the street. I had stopped to give him money. Yet part of me really wanted to stop and ask “Are you ok?” I wonder when the last time someone did stop and ask him that. I wonder the last time someone stopped to talk to him at all. I wonder even when the last time someone stopped to give that man a hug.


I don’t live in an illusion that doing any of those things would have solved the man’s problems. But I do know that if I had kept walking past, didn’t stop, my conscience would have torn me up inside.

Parenting is more than reading the right books and following the latest parenting trends. It is about being the best person you can be. So your children learn to be the best people they can be. We all have our flaws, our own complicated situations and our own struggles. Yet, amongst all that we each deserve to be seen, to be heard, to have a voice. In an effort to teach my boys to walk with their conscience, I need to show them that I walk with mine.

What is invisible in your life?

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Beautiful words as always, Josefa. You are doing a wonderful job leading the way for your boys. They will grow up to be such compassionate and well adjusted young men. They are lucky to have you and I feel lucky to be able to read your uplifting words x

  • Deb @ home life simplified

    i am a bit teary here xxx I am imagining if anyone did ever ask him if he was okay, did he need anything (more than money or pity… which i bet is most of what he gets). I am glad you went back Josefa – such a wonderful step to take especially with kids involved.

  • We have some homeless guys that hang around the park that we do our personal training in. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they are not, and I’m not sure if they’re homeless or live in the rundown trailer park at the end of the road, but I often wonder how they got there – they are all very young – and how they can be helped. But I don’t do anything about it, which makes them practically invisible to me and the rest of society. I think it’s a catch 22 and always wonder how they can be truly HELPED, not just by giving them some money but getting them off the streets for good. I’m sure drugs are involved, as one morning one of them was walking around for an hour, saying there were snakes following him!?!? But all that aside, I love teaching our children to walk with their conscience by walking with ours. Parents really do lead by example – good and bad! We need to make sure we’re doing it for good!

  • LydiaCLee

    That’s a great post. We discuss this a lot – it’s amazing how differently kids see it – you wonder where it comes from. At least we have to try.

  • Sophie Allen

    My husband and I both try to help the ‘invisible’, well, just with money, but I hope it helps. Hubby has often given young busking musicians substantial amounts too, being a muso himself he knows it’s a tough gig.

  • The Plumbette

    Josefa, thank you for this awesome post. No one should be invisible but we can get so busy or caught up in our own little world to not notice those that are desperate and hurting. When I worked as an apprentice in the city I would always see the homeless and I would give them money when I could or buy a magazine from them (The Big issue) to help them. Some of the plumbers would dig at me for giving money because they said the money was just going to drugs anyway. I can’t judge and nor can one assume but I prefer to give, than be that person that just walks away.

  • Kathy

    Great post Josefa – it sounds like your son’s smile would have meant as much as the money. A little difference at least, and maybe much bigger than you think.

  • We all need to open our eyes and teach our children too as well. Noone should be invisible. Beautiful Josefa. I hope your kind gesture helped at least for one day x

  • Sam@ProcrastinationsCraftyMum

    I love that people try to help. But as someone who had a family member once on the street, please don’t give money. It can be what fuels their addiction. Give food, give a smile, give them a reason to believe in humanity enough to seek help. He probably has a family out there somewhere, praying that something will happen to get him back to them. Praying that he’s OK, that he’s not dying in a corner, that he’s fed, he’s not stealing or otherwise in trouble with the law. You’ll know which ones really need your help, they’re the ones who meet your sandwich/apple/pair of clean socks with a smile, instead of grimacing and throwing them away. Sorry to rain on your parade, it’s just something I’m passionate about!

  • I believe that showing your kids the best you can be is the best lesson.

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    I also believe that our children need to see us walking the walk. This is one of the reasons I do crocheting for charity and, to a certain extent, the Brighten Someone’s Day project.
    Have the best day !

  • Very beautiful. Your boys are lucky to have a mum with such a strong conscience.

  • Bec @ Wholly Listening

    Walking with our conscience to help our children learn to walk with theirs – beautifully said and so true. I always find that the times I don’t listen and act on that tugging on my heart, it ends up eating at me. I’m glad you stopped.

  • TwitchyCorner

    Once again you show your heart. I too have shared this concept with my children when they asked me why that man was living under the bridge. Always appreciate what you have and try to remember others whenever you can xx

  • Rebecca Thompson

    What a beautiful story and life lesson for your son. We are all guilty of having walked past someone begging on the street. When you see so many, particularly in cities, I guess you become immune and they do begin to fade into the background or become invisible. It is time we became desensitised and wouldn’t it be nice if the government could make more changes to get more people off the streets?

  • So well said Josefa. It’s so important to notice the one’s in society. We are quick to scream about the injustice to the many, but very few of us will ever stop to help just one.

  • Nikki @ Wonderfully Women

    When you can help anyone in any way, it is a good day, and you are spreading good energy that always benefits the world! 🙂

  • So beautifully said, and yes, you so right – parenting is about role-modelling our values for our children. x

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    Good for you. What a beautiful role model you are for your kids! It’s amazing that it’s easier to walk past than sot and help… well done on you for being the only one in the crowd to stop!

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    So interesting. I read your post on the tram today and ran out of time to comment on my mobile. Just as I was passing this homeless person on Collins St a commuter dropped her bag of home-packed lunch in his lap and he had a huge surprised smile on his face as he continued to discover the contents. It’s great to think there’s people like you and her in the world just putting a smile on a face that really needs it x

  • What an amazing lesson you have given your boys and I try so hard to show our children how fortunate they are for all that they have, and not just things, but parents, grandparents etc etc. x

  • Rita

    That’s a beautiful thing you taught your child today Josefa: to be grateful for what he has and to not ignore the people who are less fortunate.

  • TeganMC

    You write so beautifully. What an awesome lesson you taught your boys.

  • Rach

    Josefa this is written so incredibly, I love that your heart and soul comes through your words xx

  • Loree

    Beautifully written Josefa. Thank goodness that there are still people like you. Your sweet spirit shines through.

  • AParentingLife

    Oh so brilliant Josefa, what a valuable thing to teach your children

  • Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Couldn’t agree with you more on everything. This is a beautiful post. You did so many good things in that one moment. What an invaluable lesson for those little people of yours who watch your every move. This makes me want to try harder when I see the needy on the streets.

  • Emily Morgan

    So true. And it’s so easy to let people be invisible, and not just strangers on the street. You can be blind to your own friends and family’s need sometimes too.

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