Modeling a future without poverty

In this blog, I have written about the importance of not encouraging children living in poverty to replicate our mistakes when they escape poverty and live in a relatively affluent technologically advanced context. We do not want them to escape physical poverty only to find themselves in a spiritual poverty marked by disconnection from others, from nature, and from God because of an unhealthy fixation on stuff and technology. We want them to be able to escape both forms of poverty so that they can live as human beings were truly intended to live.

Caution is required since we also do not want to impose our own ideas of what they need or what future they should imagine. We want them to have their own vision of the future and their own dreams which fit with their culture and context. Nonetheless, we need to make sure that we are encouraging currently impoverished children to develop a healthy relationship with wealth and technology that does not get in the way of their relationship with others, with nature or with God.

Part of helping the next generation in poor communities have a healthy relationship with technology and wealth is having a healthy relationship with those things ourselves. The disordered relationship many people living in the so called developed world have with wealth and technology is one way in which the so called “developed” world is also the developing world. People living in affluent, technologically advanced communities around the world often use technology as a distraction from personal and societal problems. They are also often engaged in an unhealthy consumerism which is driving environmental destruction in the poorer parts of the world, the parts of the world in which many sponsored children live. Is this the way of life we want to impart to these children? Helping impoverished children escape poverty begins with us escaping our own form of poverty.

As a result, it is important for those sponsoring impoverished children to model a healthy relationship with wealth and technology. This may include limiting consumption. It may also include not letting technology become a distraction from our own personal issues and social issues in our own society. Because of the direct impact that many of the spiritual maladies of wealthy countries, such as excessive consumerism, have on poor countries, it is arguable that liberating the next generation in poor communities from poverty requires liberating the next generation in affluent communities from their own spiritual poverty. We can imagine a future where children in poor countries can live free of starvation and children in rich countries can live without unhealthy consumptive habits and social media-induced loneliness.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s