I love this satire on the way we look at missions and relief work. It’s so easy for us to look at the world through our consumeristic western eyes. Yet, we rarely bother to ask the right questions and simply just assume we have the answers. Asking the right questions typically starts with asking others what they need; not what we think they need. Furthermore, products like Toms are simply more about us than actually doing good in the world. Let me be clear, I’m not ripping on Toms, but our motivation towards products like Toms. Toms aren’t about giving shoes to the needy. If we’re really honest, it’s about my need for trendy shoes that make me feel socially conscious. If I really cared about giving shoes to the needy, then I should just buy shoes for the needy.
We live in such a culture of good intentions. What I’ve begun to realize, though, is that there’s a big difference between passion and action. Now onto F*ck the Poor, a campaign run in the UK to create awareness of the poor.
It’s amazing how shocked, outraged and offended people react. We are uncomfortable with being overtly callous, but when challenged with an opportunity for action we to balk, because it requires something of ourselves. We’re often a callous people, but don’t like to think of ourselves that way. Most people, if asked, would say that they consider themselves to be a ‘good person.’ I live in a town that loves to pride themselves with being socially conscious and enlightened. We love to talk about causes, outrage and injustice, but rarely does it move beyond mere cocktail party conversation. It’s more about social posturing than it is about social justice or change. We’re passionate about being passionate. Talking about things in an ideological sense is easy, but doesn’t translate into action.
Actual change in the world begins when we place our own needs aside, step outside of our comfort zones and willingly get our hands dirty helping others. You don’t have to travel overseas to serve. Just begin to open your eyes to needs of our own community. Simply start there and you’ll be surprised at all the work that needs to be done. Change may begin with you, but it never ends there. It always leads to helping and serving those around you.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
What about you? How do you think change is possible?