Monday, December 13, 2010
It's the holiday season, and you are being bombarded by all sorts of people to give, give, and give some more.
"These children need toys!" They say, "They need shoes! Feed the homeless!"
The list goes on and on.
As a responsible citizen, you might feel like it is your civic duty to buy a child a Christmas present, but stop and think about how that present is going to change the child's life.
Is it going to put a recurring amount of food on their table?
Is it going to consistently motivate their parents to find more stable, higher-paying jobs?
Is it going to teach the child about education?
More than likely, your answer will be no.
It isn't that we should stop giving charitably; it's just that we should know the effects of doing so. It's almost like taking drugs because the effects on the receivers are short-term.
Upward mobility in America is about self-sufficiency.
By always giving and never educating, how are these recipients going to rise above their current issues and take control of their lives?
We are crippling them.
How can we change the system of charitable giving?
We can attach lessons with giveaways. We can bring speakers to events where charitable donations are being given. We can require courses for families that need charitable donations.
The focus is education, and it is often forgotten in society.
Trust in people. Teach them how to fend for themselves, and they will.
The problem with charity is that it's easy. Giving a $10 present from Target to a child in need gives people warm fuzzies inside, and that's it.
Creating long-lasting effects is difficult, and the people in society that can make change say they don't have the time.
Are we too lazy and too self-absorbed to commit to change like this?