So incredibly sad! The mass shooting in Las Vegas, the hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, have been gut wrenching and grabbed our attention. For most, the recent floods in South Asia that killed 1,200 people and left 1.8 million children without schools have been much less salient. And the 8,000 children under 5 years old that die every day from easily preventable causes have been even less top of mind. Disasters close to home get the media’s attention, and thus ours. However the misery of extreme poverty and its consequences that pervade life for its victims, while enormous in scope, are not “news” and often not part of our circle of compassion.
Experts have documented these unfortunate phenomena of “psychic numbing” and the “prominence effect”. But as we approach the holidays and “giving season”, let's find a way to rise above these tendencies and bring all children living in dreadful circumstances into our consciousness and hearts, not just the ones who live closest to us or who are in today’s headline stories. Each of these children have families that care for them and suffer immeasurably at their deaths, just as we would if one of our children died. As we all understand, losing a child is the worst possible thing that can happen to a parent.
As those of us in the U.S. sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, let’s not only feel grateful for what we have, but also consider ways to save children—and adults— from dying and suffering needlessly. And as many of us plan our holiday presents, let’s discuss how some of that money could be put to better use. These discussions and investigations make us all better people and can provide positive feelings far more powerful than material possessions.
This giving and holiday season, let’s achieve our all-time personal best as individuals and families. You can start your giving season now.
Better living through more generous and effective giving!