Friday, May 27, 2011

Unintentional Consequences - Broad Application

You know I've been blogging about the negative side effects our giving sometimes has.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about it.  And then, things keep coming up.  More to think about.  More to consider.  Deep introspection.

So, I'm ready to wrap up my part, but I wanted to give you two more links if you are interested in digging deeper.

Lisa, at A Bushel and a Peck, wrote for a piece for Until Then a few weeks ago.  To sum it up, a group of well-meaning missionaries gave the village a water well that was not maintainable.  Lisa's husband and son are working with a group to go and teach the local men how to build a water pump from common (in Africa) available parts.  As they teach them to build it, it will also teach them to maintain it.  Great idea, huh?

And then Troy and Tara Livesay wrote another post about respecting the poor that really gets you thinking.  In short:  Would you be comfortable with strangers taking pictures of your children and your house as you go about your daily life without asking permission?

Getting back to my original intent, All of these issues are relevant if you are a short term missionary.  But I think they have a much broader application in regular life.  So, here are some things I think I know.

  • I don't know everything about everything.  
  • Be teachable, especially if you are in unfamiliar waters.  
  • Leave your pride and your agenda at home.  
  • Submit to others who have authority, wisdom, or more working knowledge than you.
  • Anytime we help someone, their dignity must be kept or restored.
  • People need love more than they need stuff.
  • Love does not necessarily look like what we've made it.
  • Poverty is complex.
  • Solutions will be multi-faceted.
  • Chronic poverty is not the same as an immediate crisis.  Each requires a different approach.  
  • Real solutions require long-term personal investment.
  • Helpers should be learners and listeners.
  • The more local and personal the help is, the more likely life-change will happen.
  • One culture can not overlay their way of doing things on top of another culture.
  • Throwing money at a problem will not make it go away.
  • The long-term must be considered when helping others.
  • The recipient of the help must be a participant in the solution in order to take ownership of it.
I'm sure there's more.

I just started reading, When Helping Hurts yesterday.  I like it already.  I'm sure it is going to challenge me.  I'll give a report with all my new insight.

Do you see things differently?  Do you have any more wisdom to add to my list?

Blessings to you,

1 comment:

GB's Mom said...

Food for thought. Thank you.