The Thing About Poverty

September is blog month for Compassion International and the goal is for 3,160 children to be sponsored through the blogs of regular people like me! =) I seriously encourage you to sponsor a child in need, or at the very least research child sponsorship. Click HERE to sponsor a child, or just research more about child sponsorship.

This weeks prompt is to write three things about one word.

The word I chose is POVERTY

Poverty is defined as

the state or condition of having little or no money, good or means of support.

Three things about poverty (gleaned from my own life experience living in Niger and many from the life-changing Urban Min class at Cedarville):

1. Poverty is NOT a choice.

Yes, some people make bad choices and ultimately it leads them to dark and lonely, impoverished places. However, most of the world’s poor did not choose to be poor. I think that we as Americans tend to look down on the poor, like they chose to be in that position. “If only they worked a little harder” “if only they actually payed attention in their classes” “if only they didn’t waste the resources they had” are common misconceptions about the poor, both overseas and in this country. For children who are unable to be supported financially, physically, mentally and emotionally– their poverty was not a choice.

Which leads me to my second thought about poverty…

2. Poverty is a cycle

It’s a generational cycle as well as a life-cycle. Generationally, if a child is born into a poor family, it is very likely that they will also grow up to be poor. If the Dad of the family does not have enough money to send all his children to school, then the children will not become educated and will not be able to get decent paying jobs. They will then have children who will not be able to become educated, because their father was not able to pay for it. YES, there are many who break this cycle, and praise the Lord for each and every instance that this happens!

Poverty is also a life-cycle. If you are poor, you often lack the resources needed to stay healthy. Take for example, someone who is undernourished due to the fact that they cannot afford the proper balanced food groups. This person may be in a school, but they are so exhausted and prone to catch every sickness that they miss school on a regular basis. Undernourished due to poverty, leading to the inability to pull oneself out of poverty. Again, many people worldwide do break out of this cycle. It is not a hopeless case, but it is important for us to understand that poverty is not simply a decision that is made. 

But keeping each of these things in mind, it is also important to note that:

3. Poverty does not equal unhappiness

So often we see pictures like this, with a tagline about ‘Feeding the starving children, for they are suffering greatly’:

Well, let me tell you what. Starving children are real, and they are suffering greatly. But I was there when my friend took this picture. And you know what? This child was being a child- he was fighting with his brother over a postcard that had been handed around. His tears were not tears of starvation, but instead tears of anger and sibling rivalry. Just like the fully-fed middle-class American child!

I want to see more pictures like this:

Are poor people hungry? Oftentimes, yes.

Are poor people sad all the time? Noooo way

Do poor people laugh? Yes. In fact, joy and laughter lingers in each day. Play, and fun and laugher and happiness and a contentedness that comes from simply living- all that and more exists on a normal day in the life one immersed in “poverty”

I love getting letters from our sponsored child, Reagan. He is ALWAYS so thankful, and even though I have never met him or person or even heard his voice, I know that he is a child overflowing with joy and thankfulness. Poor? Yes. Happy/Content/Loving life? Absolutely.

Don’t forget that those who are neck-deep in poverty are people, too. Living, breathing, laughing, sibling-rivalry, joking, best-friending, crying, choosing, grumpy, learning, thankfulness-ing, praying. Yes, all of those things.

To sponsor a real-life child who is immersed in a world of poverty, please click HERE. It’s only $34 a month.

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One thought on “The Thing About Poverty

  1. I really enjoyed your post. Point 1 really resonated with me.
    If you are in the United States, sponsorship is $38 per month. This amount may be different in another country.
    Thanks for this post, and have a blessed week!

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