Give the gift of a goat
Ever since I saw the water buffalo movie, it helped bring alive the power of tangible giving to third world countries. Our family has been supporting children through World Vision for years but it really isn’t something we consider. Yes we get cards from our sponsor children but it’s still distant.
The water buffalo movie started me thinking differently. This year, our family decided to give each other this kind of gift. I gave a goat and after watching The Story of Stuff, it makes sense. I showed my own kids the story of stuff movie and while consumerism and materialism will always be a struggle for those of us with means, it does open up conversations, thoughts and spiritual questions that can produce change.
I had not seen “The Story of Stuff” movie before Dean – thanks so much for sharing this link.
Our family watched both “The Story of Stuff” and the water buffalo movies together last night, and my kids posted a few thoughts (more short summaries) on our family learning blog, here and here, tonight. I found “The Story of Stuff” to be a great conversation starter, as you said, and it provides a lot of thought for us all. I especially think the part about how many people now define themselves as “consumers” was very troubling. The message to “consume, consume” is so powerful in the media all around us. I also found the message that the goal of advertising is to make us unhappy / dissatisfied (in many cases) to ring true. I’ve said for many months that the goal of the many home improvement shows that are so popular on TV now is to make everyone dissatisfied with their current home, current kitchen, current yard, etc.
I was very moved by the water buffalo movie. We had just spent $40 to go out to eat for supper last night, and it was really challenging to see how little so many rural families in China have, compared to us. We have been discussing getting a new high definition television lately, and that sort of a purchase seems so frivolous compared to other ways that our money could be used to help others truly in need.
I do like capitalism, and I agree with those who observe it is the best system in the world for producing wealth. I don’t think unbridled capitalism is good, however, and I think we need checks and limits on capitalistic incentives and dynamics in many cases. We certainly need to cultivate more, as a broader society, philanthropic attitudes and behaviors. This makes me want to start my own business, not only to provide for my own family, but also to have greater disposable income which could be used to help others.
I really appreciate you sharing these videos and links, Dean. They have given everyone in our family a lot to think about and consider.
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