Sometimes it’s easy to focus solely on yourself.
These are all important things. To me.
Your list may be slightly different from mine, but nevertheless we all share the same inward focus on how our life is progressing.
This strikes me as being perfectly normal. There is nothing odd about wanting the best for myself and those surrounding me. But I have to admit to an itchy, scratchy feeling that bothered me for years. I don’t know when it started and I don’t know what started it. I know it was fed by my own conscience, and the judicial placing of television advertisements (who said TV doesn’t affect us?!).
One thing that did push that itchy feeling front and centre for me was a small parable I came across in a book (the name of which I have long since forgotten) about counting your blessings.
A young boy was feeling sad about having to wear his brother’s hand-me-down shoes. He felt that it was a terrible thing to suffer, as he was teased by other children for having to wear old shoes that were still too big for him. He confided this in his mother, who suggested that he consider himself very lucky indeed. It was possible, she said, to have worse things to worry about. She told him that there were people without feet in other, poorer places in the world, and that they have a much harder thing to live with than some teasing about their shoes. The young boy never quite looked at his hand-me-down shoes in the same way again.
It was a profound parable for me. I know it isn’t particularly profound in and of itself. There is always someone who is less well off that you are. Just like there is always someone better off than you are. It’s just the nature of things.
Finally, between the itching feeling, the TV advertisements and the parable I took some action. I scratched the itch.
A little over eight years ago, not too long after committing to a fairly chunky mortgage, I fulfilled my need to scratch. I fulfilled my need to help.
I became a Child Sponsor
His name was Justen. We chose World Vision. The children’s detail folders came from a couple of agencies, but the photographs of the World Vision child (Justen) showed a cheeky young boy, while the other looked sad and downcast.
We chose the cheeky boy and the upbeat agency.
My itch was finally being scratched.
Eight years later and that itch is getting a good scratching now. I can honestly say that it is the least painful and most satisfying way of spending my money that I have ever come across. If you buy at least one coffee and slice of cake a week from a cafe, you too can scratch this itch.
Your waistline, your heart and your conscience will thank you for it.
So will your sponsored child.
If you have ever thought about it, now is the time to act on that thought. Don’t wait. Poverty doesn’t. Neither does disease. Contact a reputable agency in your country, and scratch this itch with me.