Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Can Defeat Three Kinds of Poverty from Wherever Your Are (Blog Action Day 2008)

This is BLOG ACTION DAY against poverty.

Poverty, to me, isn't about having few material possessions. It is about not being able to live well in this world. It is about being left on the sidelines of life.

The technical term "marginalization" means essentially the same thing, but I like the more visual sports metaphor. Picture some people always sit out the game while others have a great time playing.

Everyone is needed in this game of life. So here is my manifesto for Blog Action Day against Poverty:

1. Every human being has a unique genius inside them. We are put here on this earth to bring forth that which makes us unique; to give to the world what only we can give. Our genetic blueprint is utterly unique; you only have one chance to bring forth that uniqueness that is you and you alone.

2. Poverty is what stops us from bringing forth our unique contribution to the world. Poverty is rarely just one thing. It is the cluster of things that keep our potential locked inside. I believe there are three kinds of poverty:

a. Material poverty. The lack of food, clothing, shelter, safety, communications, all of those external things.

b. Relationship poverty. The lack of the kinds of relationships that enable us to take action to lead a good life. Someone in the developing world may lack the connections to sell their crafts to anyone but foot-travelers. Your neighbor's child may lack for kind words when she needs them. Villages can be consumed by violence and the enmity and distrust that it breeds.

c. Inner poverty. Anyone can be poor inside who cannot see the love, joy, wonder and potential for themselves and others in life. People often settle for what is right in front of them because dreaming hurts too much.

3. The best way to end poverty is to help people go after what they themselves want, whether it is an individual, a village, a family.

Uniting people with their deepest dreams can cure inner poverty.

Bringing people together to work toward a common goal can cure relational poverty.

And when people believe in themselves and have support for their actions, their material poverty cannot help but lessen. This is the wonder of capitalism.

And the true glory of being human on this earth will flourish in more and more places. People who thought of themselves as poor, on the sidelines of life, are suddenly right smack in the middle of the best life has to offer.

Anyone can begin to end poverty at any moment....including one's own.


Tara said...

Beautifully put, Sue. When I was writing my article for Blog Action Day I really struggled with defining Poverty. You have captured its true meaning perfectly. Thank you.

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

What great perspective. Your blog hits right to the heart of the matter with practical suggestions that can be executed immediately.

Beth LaMie