Monday, March 1, 2010

To Leidy

Dwight, Kenny and I got some great news yesterday- one of our sponsored children, Leidy, will be graduating this summer!  I'm just as thrilled hearing this news as I am hearing of Ken's accomplishments at pre-school.  We've been amazingly proud of all three of our graduated children, cried when one child died from dysentery, and been sadly shaken when a field office that served our child closed.  They're not at all related to us, we haven't even met them, just letters exchanged and not enough of those to boot- but we love them and are proud to have them in our lives, however little that may be.

Now, before you start, I do understand the myth of direct giving.  Unlike Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt", I realize that our checks do not go to Leidy and her family.  There is no bank account into which our deposits go that is just for our sponsored children and their families.  Our money simply goes into a pot, and from that pot there is work done to help children, families, and communities throughout the service area of Children International and Plan USA. 

Honestly, I realize all this, and yet I still believe in the myth of direct giving.  It has nothing to do with the administrative reality of direct giving, but everything to do with the relationship that it creates.  I know our sponsored children, I care for them, they are part of my life.  I hear about their families, I see their writing improve, I send them pictures of our little life when I remember.  Our family feels connected to them, and their societies by extension.  We have extended our family to India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uruguay thanks to our sponsored children.  It's solidified our idea of our family as that of the global family. 

That's the beauty of humans, in my humble estimation.  We have the capacity for logic, and we have the capacity to utterly ignore logic when necessary.  Sometimes we ignore more logic than we need to, but we sometimes get it right, too.  The arts would not exist but for our ability to ignore logic, and what is compassion if not the art of loving?  It's this ability to put aside logic that makes my faith in humanity continue.  As an ecologist, I have a serious dislike (read- deep seated hatred) of invasive species, and humans are the most invasive species yet to evolve. 

This leaves me in quite a quandary.  I believe in diversity, but humans really don't contribute to biological diversity, and in fact destroy much of it.  Life on this planet would be better for so many organisms if humans were to disappear, but out disappearance would decrease biodiversity by a small degree, but cultural diversity by a vast magnitude.  So I fear, as much as I disagree typically with control, it is control or mitigation that must occur in the case of Homo sapiens instead of eradication.  We can not get rid of ourselves or all the beauty that we can create will be gone with us, but for the sake of all other life, it is our prerogative to lessen our impact as much as possible.

Now back to your regularly scheduled mental wanderings.

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