Rule #2 – Don’t you dare give our kids anything!
Similar to the post I wrote last week, but equally important (and just as often misunderstood) is the rule that no visitor is allowed to hand anything out at our project.
Before I write about it though, I want to be clear here. In no way am I trying to say that visitors pose the only, or even the worst threat to our kids. We are beyond careful when it comes to choosing schools, neighborhoods, social workers, nurses, caregivers and house mothers for the children. I just think that how we do short term missions is an essential component to the success of this project, and these kid’s future. Visitors done wrong can be a disaster, but when done right they can be a big help to what we are building here for these children.
This rule was taken from our Visitor Guidelines packet that we give out to anyone who wants to come and visit our project.
Under no circumstances will we allow any visitor to give gifts, money, candy or any other donations directly to the children or the staff. There is a staff member who is designated to handle any donations that you may have brought with you.There is a system in place that ensures that each family gets an equal share of what has been donated, and that supplies are given to the mothers to distribute as needed.
We understand the urge to give things out, we like giving things as well! But it is for the good of the children and the staff that we are creating an environment of self sustainability and self reliance. The simple act of receiving gifts from unknown strangers undermines these efforts and creates a cycle of dependency that is harmful to the future that our staff and children are fighting so hard for.
Ouch! That one hurts right? I will be the first to admit. I love being the hero. I enjoy giving things to kids, especially ones who have had a rough go at life. Truthfully there is very little in this world that is more rewarding than giving a gift to a child in need. But we are once again putting our foot down and standing our ground because we believe that it is detrimental to these kids future for them to see visitors as money or candy machines. We are so committed to this that we ourselves are not going to participate in giving things out either. Any blessing whatsoever will come from the mothers, and on occasion from the other caregivers, but never from anyone else.
We know going in that many who visit are not going to get this one. If someone went to all the trouble to fly half way around the world to visit an orphan, why not get the pleasure of giving them something right?
We hear you. We really do.
But at the same time we are unwilling to let go of the big picture just because you might get your feelings hurt.
It is about the kids. It always will be. It always has been.
So once again, you are going to have to get through me first if you want to come and visit. We are building something here, something lasting, something that will not only change the lives of the kids but also the future of this country. And if that means we have some foreigners who are a little ticked at us now and again, so be it.
What do you think? Have you seen this mentality before? Have you been guilty of creating a cycle of dependency and robbing someone of their desire to work on building a future for themselves by giving to them because of what it did for you, instead of how it helped them in the long run?
I will go first. I have screwed up too-many times on this one. Selfishly giving to someone in need, without thinking about what it will do for their future.
Not that giving is wrong, we are commanded to give, we must also have our heads about us when we do it or we might just be hurting more than we are helping.