The first key principle of effective poverty alleviation is….
My four year old, Joshua, and two year old Caleb are playing as they always do. I hear Caleb crying and pulling away his toy, “I don want it, I don want it.” Joshua is also crying, “I just wanna rescue him, I just wanna rescue.”
“Joshua, come.” I intervene. He slowly walks over, in tears. “Do you know you are a man of God?,” I ask. “Yes,” he replies nodding.
“Something that men of God do is that they respect other people. Even though you love Caleb, you have to get his permission to rescue him. Men of God don’t force themselves on other people even to help them. They get their permission. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” he nods, whipping his eyes.
This is not the first time I’ve seen a situation like this and responded in a similar way. Both of them are crying. Joshua thinks he is doing the right thing rescuing his little brother. But the little brother is crying as well. He doesn’t want help. He feels Joshua is intruding. I’m still working with Joshua and hope soon he will learn something else that love does. Love doesn’t only rescue, it respects. It doesn’t force itself on someone and it doesn’t intrude.
I think when it comes to helping others, we often act like Joshua. Like Joshua, we often don’t realize this. It’s usually unconsciously done.
A key principle of effective poverty alleviation is respect!
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