Friday, December 18, 2009

I Can't Stop.

Hi all,
As an aside this will probably be my last blog of the year. I am working Monday and Tuesday of next week and that is it for the rest of the year. So I probably will not be able to have time to blog next week, considering I have lots to buy and I don't have all my lights up on the house. I mean I did it all but then I went to Lowes yesterday and they had all their Christmas stuff HALF OFF. I bought about 10 boxes of lights. $3 for a box of C-9 lights...are you kidding me. $3 for a strand of those tubes light, oh I had to get 5 boxes of those.

So I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all of you. Have a great New Year. It has been a tough year for some of us, but let me remind you how blessed we are.

I hope you all of you get some good family time this year and some good eatin'. I will see you next year.

My daughter said a Madisonism this week that I thought you would get a kick out of.
After Thanksgiving, I play nothing but Christmas songs at the house, in the car, and at work. I want to get in the mood.
Well we are in the car and the song Angels We Have Heard on High starts to play. So the lyrics are Glooooooooo-ooooooooooo-ooooooooo-ria, In Excelsis Deo.
So we are singing and Madison says, "How are we suppose to know what we are singing when they write the song in German?" . My wife and I totally busted a gut.

In my book Tim Keller is talking about how Success can be a god, which I can relate to.
Some of us are driven by success and we find our identity in success. Success becomes our god.
He also says that as he had counseled people in life he hears things from the affluent that he never would hear from the less affluent.
Things like, "Life isn't suppose to be this way."
He says he never hears this kind of talk when he is around the poor.
Why do we think that because we have money and we are "successful" s!@#$%t isn't going to happen? Do we think because we work hard and have some means that we are not going to have issues? No, but I think it does mean that we will work hard to persevere.

Okay about our topic.
I have to tell you that I only got one comment from yesterday's blog. I am not going to take it personally. I am not going to think that no one is reading. I am not going to thing that no one likes me.
I am chalking it up to too much eggnog on your behalf.
The one comment....
Word is getting around about what a great guy you are John and people are starting to take advantage of you. I do help certain people out in my office but only the ones I know, not people off the street. What I do to prevent the flood gates of what you are describing from opening is to volunteer at a clinic that is set up to help people in need. This way I help people who need it but it has nothing to do with my office.

I do agree with some of this commentor's comments. I especially like the "great guy" comment. But I get an e-mail (I don't know how they get my personal e-mail) and it asked me to help. What do I do ignore their request? It is 20 minutes out of my day, a day that I might add is NOT stocked full of paying patients at the moment. Maybe I won't help everyone "off the street" but I might help everyone that at least asked me.
Now this person says he helps "the one's he/she knows" but I have to tell you I am helping people I know from church that I don't really like.
Sometimes if you know them, you know that they are in a position that they are in, not being able to pay, because of their lack of drive. They are adults that are stupid and have been fired from their jobs and then their kid falls down while ice skating. Do you punish the kid because their parents are lazy asses?
See sometimes knowing people is worse then not knowing them. You just fill a cavity and let them go. You don't have to know why they lost their job, you don't have to see what kind of car they drive, you don't have to see their new blackberry with the data plan and cringe.

I have told you that I think of my talent as a gift from God. I told you that Jesus talked about us multiplying our talents and he talked about what it would look like if we didn't multiply our talents...not good.
He talked about Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, and if you read between the lines, you might see fix or pull the teeth of the decayed.
"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you did unto me."
My problem now is I can't stop. I can't say NO.
I know it is terrible business. I know in the long run it is not really helping me (meaning I don't think all of my patients that I don't charge are running out and telling their rich friends all about the gentle dentist they just went to).
I guess what I am going to do is go with the flow. As the economy is crappy, people are going to need me. If the economy gets better then people are going to need me, but this time they might be able to pay.
I will continue to help people with reckless abandon, and I am not going to think about it. If I have openings in the schedule I can either walk around the office and get pissed about seeing my staff huddled around the front talking and laughing and doing nothing or we can help someone in a bind. (This is not a jab at my staff, sometimes there is just nothing to do).
I think this is just how I would wanted to be treated if I was in a bind.
Will some people take advantage of this? Absolutely. Do they take advantage of me? Absolutely. But I try to not think about it. I don't want to not help the masses because one person is a total mooch. (At my Dentistry from the Heart free dental day, someone rolled up in a current model S500 Mercedes).

I know it is crazy. It is a terrible business model: to just help someone without any questions, to do it and never think about it again, and go home and feel God's pleasure.
It is in my genes. I just can't stop.

I am glad we had this talk (I feel like it was kind of one sided)

Have a great holiday,


Anonymous said...

Well as long as you are willing to deal with the flood gates and can pay the bills at the same time it is certainly okay to give away your time and over head as you see fit. BUT eventually word will get around and you will either work on everyone for free or your paying patients will find out and get pissed at you.
What goes around certainly comes around. So hopefully your good deeds will be rewarding later on.
I hope our have them sign a waiver or some sort. Cause once you treat them your are their dentist of record. At least at the clinic there is sovereign immunity. "You know doc my tooth never hurt me till you worked on it. I couldn't pay for the filling so I can't pay for the root canal or crown either. But you are a good guy Dr. G so I know you will fix me up for free again. BTW do you have any free sample pain pill or antibiotics I can have. Also I need gas money and a note to explain why I have to make all these trips to see you. But I really do appreciate you helping me." Just playing Devils advocate. I am all for helping people as long as it does not come back to haunt me later on.

Anonymous said...

How about put someone on your team to establish a screening process for the free work. Something like some government or private programs do where you basically have to establish worthiness of the services. Nothing elaborate, just enough questions to weed out the people who could otherwise afford it.
Make sure it's your staff doing the screening as you know you will say yes to everything, let them be your agent in determining worthiness of your generosity.

Otherwise your floodgates will most definitely open.

patti said...

You know, we recently had this discussion at home, about people taking advantage of kindness and we came away with "Jesus was made a fool of for a lot less"


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