First you should know that by temperament and choice I am very frugal. (My kids have a less flattering word for it.) Next you should know that I got my first manicure about several months ago (at age 62) when my daughter “treated” me to it during our mother/daughter rendezvous in Egypt. I have never considered painted fingernails to be especially attractive, practical, or natural (although I know many fine people, including my mother, who regularly get manicures.)

So, what’s this got to do with giving stuff away? Well, we’ve been helping a homeless family pick up some odd jobs since they had absolutely no income – only food stamps and limited medical care. Then I noticed that the 19 year-old mother had gotten a manicure. She was proud of it. I was aghast. I didn’t say anything – until I could privately tell my husband. He challenged me on being judgmental. Knowing the more practical needs and debts that I had hoped they’d spend this odd job cash on, it was hard for me to see them spend it on what I considered an unnecessary luxury. My compassionate side said, “Hey, if you’d had no spending money for months and finally got a little cash through your own hard work, blowing some of it on a luxury is like a mental health break and understandable.” Then my mother side kicked in and said, “She should have put it toward their debt or saved it to buy a cell phone which would help us keep in touch.” My social worker side said, “I should have anticipated this and worked with the family more directly to make a plan for how to use this new found bounty.” I often judge people for being judgmental of others. It’s a hard demon to tame. What bothers you most about other people? What do you do with the judgments you make?

Important PS: I just learned that the manicure was FREE! Apparently the church she was staying in last week, had a professional manicurist offer her services free to the guests. That’ll teach me!