There are so many reasons to care about what is going on in the world today. Caring is a key to living in a civilized society – it’s the part of us that makes us human. Our society is becoming increasingly self-centered and narcissistic, owing in large part to the ability for all of us to record and share every aspect of our daily lives with the rest of the world, hoping that someone out there will care enough to notice us. The result of this self-absorption is an endless hole of self-dissatisfaction. I see that the only way out of this void is to give. There is a certain freedom that comes from giving, from caring enough to see beyond our own needs to recognize the needs of another.
Current data shows us that nearly half of the children in the world live in poverty, 22,000 children die daily due to lack of basic needs, and at least 15 million children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. I find these numbers too overwhelming to even think about, so I tuck them away in my head and go about the day, ensuring that my family is clothed and fed and educated. I am thankful, so thankful to live in a country that is free and full of opportunity, yet I still struggle with the question of how I am able to meet my needs and those of my family, when almost half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day.
In A Testament to Freedom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes the following:
“What if, precisely at the moment when we are thanking God for God’s goodness towards us, there is a ring at the door…and we find someone standing there who would also like to thank God for some small gift, but to whom such a gift has been denied and who is starving with starving children and who will go to bed in bitterness? What becomes of our grace in such moments? Will we really feel like saying that God is merciful to us and angry with them, or that the fact that we still have something to eat proves that we have won a special position of favor in God’s sight, that God feeds the favorite children and lets the unworthy go hungry? May the merciful God protect us from the temptation of such gratitude. May God lead us to a true understanding of God’s goodness…If we want to understand God’s goodness in God’s gifts, then we must think of them as a responsibility we bear for our brothers and sisters. Let none say: God has blessed us with money and possessions, and then live as if they and their God were alone in the world. For the time will come when they realize that they have been worshiping the idols of their good fortune and selfishness. Possessions are not God’s blessing and goodness, but the opportunities of service which God entrusts to us.”
Everyone’s Child was formed to address this very idea, that we are all responsible for the children in our world who could do with, as they say in Kenya, a “leg up” just to enjoy something as necessary as a daily meal or as basic as an education. I encourage everyone who feels this inconsistency, this imbalance in life, to do whatever it is within their power to give to someone who needs a leg up, whether it’s a financial donation, a note of gratitude or support, or the gift of your time. You’ll never regret dropping that stone into the pond and watching how far the ripples go.