I want to tell you a story. But before I do I want to introduce you to some people. This is my oldest daughter, Kendra.
These are the boys and girls that my wife and I support they are from all over the world.
Elisio is from Bolivia. He's six. We've been sponsoring him the longest of this group. Before him, there were two other girls that have moved out of the program Jhesly is from Ecuador, she's four. Gustavo, he's in the white shirt, is a five-year-old boy from Guatemala. Every time I see that picture and his grin I am moved. Josué is a seven-year-old boy from Guatemala the first picture we got of him he was holding a soccer ball I was giving the thumbs up. I was smitten. Marcella is an eight-year-old girl from El Salvador. In her last picture, she actually drew a picture of her and me with two hearts behind between us that says hello sponsor. Franklin is a nine-year-old boy from Peru. A country very near and dear to my heart. Chacha, whose name is actually Shainna Chabel Brea is a nine-year-old girl from the Dominican Republic. And Via is a 19-year-old girl from the Philippines. We just started sponsoring her.
Now, here is the thing I'm not sharing this with you so you feel good about us or that you feel bad about you. In fact, I've debated sharing this type of post for a long time. But, I decided to share it over the last few weeks because it is something that I am passionate about. This morning, I went onto compassion's website to look and see how many kids are available for sponsorship. Roughly 140,000 kids do not have their basic needs met and are available for sponsorship. And, I feel like that should be something that moves us.
Now to the story that I wanna share with you. A little over a year ago, our family was at a concert that a friend had gifted us the tickets to attend. At the concert, they shared with us the need for sponsors of children in other countries. They shared with us what sponsorship does for the children that are sponsored and how they benefit. To be clear, this is something that is very important to my heart. It is also something that I've never force my children to participate in, I have talked with them about it numerous times. I have shared with them my passion. I have shown them pictures and letters. I have talked to them about my dreams and hopes for the future.
My daughter has a job, and with that job comes a source of income. She also has friends that she likes to hang out with. And things that she likes to buy. And college bills on the horizon. And then, at this concert where they're showing this need, she looks at me and asks, "do you care if I sponsor a kid?" Of course, I said that I did not. I reminded her that sponsorships are about more than just sending money. We talked about writing letters, and how hard that can be especially when the sponsored child is little. She signed up.
Recently, we were traveling and we were talking about all the different things going on in the world. My daughter mentioned that compassion had been sending her pictures of a child needing sponsored. Her sister asked her how she thought she would afford it. To which my daughter replied, "Well, I can cut something else out if I have to." So she clicked sponsor and added one of my favorite "isms." We'll figure it out.
Now, yes as a dad my heart swells to relate that story. But, that isn't even why I share it with you. I share it with you because I hear so many people talking about so many injustices and needs in our world currently. And I agree that there are many areas where much needs to be done. What I find, is that often when a person is passionate about one injustice or need and they encounter someone who is not equally passionate about that injustice, they become upset and angry.
Too often, in the face of overwhelming odds, (140,000 children waiting) we become overwhelmed. When we become overwhelmed, we often resort to shaming. This is most easily seen on Facebook and other social media platforms where if someone doesn't do whatever the collective agreement is to do this week they are obviously part of the problem. This sort of shaming accomplishes nothing and rarely helps anyone does actually in need. Of course, raising awareness is an important aspect of anything that we are trying to do in order to improve the lives of others.
And, I feel it is important that we create space for people to be passionate about different needs. I'm OK if you're not passionate about helping children in other countries. I'm OK if you don't feel called to sponsor children through compassion or other such services. I'm OK if you're passionate about something else that I can be aware of at the same time not devote the same amount of resources as you devote to it.
I can't save every one of those kids that is on that 140,000 list. And I can do everything in my power to help the ones that I can help. And here's the whole point of the story: when you are truly passionate about something, it will affect the people around you.
I hear so many people talking about kids these days. It sounds a lot like what people who are older than me used to say when I was a kid. And yes, there are frustrating things in this world. Especially, when it comes to how our children behave. But, I also see many kids passionate about things that their parents are passionate about.
So my question to you, is what are you passionate about? What are you chasing? What are you infecting those around you with? We don't all have to be passionate about the same things. We can recognize the need and realize that we have limited resources of time and money.
To note: I am not saying that we should stand idly by while someone's basic humanity is violated. I have friends who are passionate about helping people in the inner city. I also have friends who are passionate about helping people in rural and country communities. We have to start seeing people who are passionate about doing things as partners, not as enemies.
Even as I type these words, I can sense and feel the responses that I think I'll get. Usually, when I have conversations in real life with people on this topic someone will say, "what about the people who are doing nothing?" To which I usually reply, "I think everyone should be doing something unless doing nothing is doing something.
When my wife and I first moved to this community, we needed time to heal from the wounds received at our last place. So, for a while, we did very little. We struggle to survive in many ways. And then as we healed, we began to engage things that we are passionate about. Even today, I say no to many good things because I need to protect my time. I need to protect the amount of time that I have to get to my family. I need to protect the amount of time and energy that I have to get to my clients. I need to be tactful with the resources I have been given.
So my friends, may you be passionate people. May you stand up against injustice when you encounter it. May you stand and fight for the weak. May you give generously to those in need. May you be wise, and tactical with your resources. May we, together, rise up and turn the tide of poverty, inequality, and injustice. May we embrace our humanity.
May we be effective infectors.
If you would like to sponsor a child, you can go to www.compassion.com