Monday, June 20, 2011

Heart Wrench

Fix it before it's broken.

So I'm watching TV and the next thing coming on is this long appeal about poverty.  It will probably include sad kids suffering from malnutrition telling their story along with their families. I know that watching will churn my very soul. Do I watch or turn away?                 
Reasons to watch - We might be curious what it's really like.  We might even feel it's our moral responsibility to know and be involved, and maybe even donate money.  We'd probably feel better if we did give; we'd be living up to our own principles.
Reasons to not watch - It will probably be heart wrenching to see what it's really like.  I'll likely feel guilty for my easier life and feel badly if I don't donate.  If my budget doesn't have a place for donations, I can get trapped between my conscience and my wallet.
Realistically, throwing a few dollars at it isn't the right answer anyway, it's just something to make me feel better. That's guilt-giving.
Helping others for real is a life choice.  Here's an easy way for us to get on track -

Step one - pick an area that our heart responds to, join with those who know how, and escalate from a little up to where it's in the budget well above Starbucks and miscellaneous.
Step two - get involved.  Go and see, perhaps.  Get to know some of the people we serve.  If we know them well enough to love them, then we're family, sort of.
If it isn't important enough to deserve a little effort, it may not be genuine.  (If you've got kids, they should be part of the discussions, decisions, and changes.)
Perhaps an important side benefit, we don't have to feel guilty when we skip watching those tear-jerker appeals.  We'll be way down the road past that sort of thing.
Top recommendations:  World Vision, STeP UP Sao Tome, and OFH-Kenya, but those are just my interests.

Step three if we're all-in - Study, inquire, learn from folks who know and serve well. Review and escalate. Keep that up for the rest of your life.

Over the years, we'll find ourselves continually refocused in personal development, career direction, and personal life investment. Start now. If we wait until the time is right or until we're better equipped, years will pass, and we'll miss so much.