I have a feeling this post will get some responses, so by all means, if you have something to say, post a comment below.
As a life coach, my role is to empower people. From my point of view, every person has all the power in the world to achieve great and wonderful things, but that’s not the way most people are brought up, so I help my clients find the power inside them and become independent in their thinking, feelings and actions.
Now, if you’re living in suburbia like me, and especially if you’re working from home like me, you have heard the knock on the door, gone to see who it was and found someone collecting donations for charity. They range from extremely nice to disabled (and sometimes both), and use their charm and rehearsed pitch to get you to part with some money. Sometimes it’s a raffle ticket, sometimes it’s a poor child in some third world country and sometimes it’s a local community organization. All good and noble causes.
Call me cruel, but I always feel that charity money ends up prolonging the problems it is collected for. For instance, children in third world countries are poor because their parents feel helpless and cannot see a way out of their situation. Another example is a person with some disability, who comes up to my door and asks for my donation, because they cannot go to work, which makes me thing they could actually work as a door-to-door salesperson just as well.
When a person is given handouts, they build an identity of need. When the handouts stop, the person cannot survive without them. The alternative is to support organizations that develop infrastructure and teach people how to take care of themselves. There are such organizations, but they seem to be few and far between.
A very big issue in Australia is the money given to Aboriginal people, which they end up using to buy beer and get drunk. This is also the case with many Native American in reservations. Both of these situations arise from giving money to people who want something else – the feeling that they have power over their own life. These examples are extreme, but they illustrate the issue well.
Don’t get me wrong, from the point of view of the person donating, this is great. It’s an act of kindness and sharing and it feels really good. However, from the point of view of the recipient, more often than not it develops a dependence on others and takes their power away.
I would like to encourage you to donate to organizations that build and empower individuals and communities, rather than giving money to people.Â If you can, instead of giving money, volunteer your time and support the needy by teaching them skills and encouraging them to be self-sufficient as much as possible.