Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Giving vs Giving
There are an amazing number of people in the world with big, open, caring hearts and I am blessed to know many of them as they are supporters or donors. I am stunned sometimes by the kindness, thoughtfulness, care and generosity I experience. We have sponsors who have even taken on four children which is a big ongoing financial committment, a most generous and kind one.
I have discovered there are many ways of giving. It's an interesting subject and I am trying to understand it.
I have been given a small donation which I was told was to help support me while working on the charity. That is unbelievably kind and they don't even get a picture of a cute child or reports as do sponsors. For two years in a row the charity received two large donations that I was told were unconditional. That was very useful as it enabled us to put the unsponsored and 'unattractive' children into school.
Some of the kind people who help only want to sponsor a pretty child and others only a young child. While others don't even want to know where their money goes - they just want to help. A few ask us to use the money to put a child into school who has been hard to find a sponsor for.
So on reflection I can get almost anyone to sponsor a pretty young child, but the 'unattractive' or males are hard to get sponsored. I used to think it was just in the west we had the interest and attraction to the attractive. I thought it was the media who promoted this. I am not wrong, but it is in Asian too and not just due to the media. I am told I am ugly on days I wear unfashionable clothes. On days I wear fashionable or slightly sexy clothes I am told I look beautiful.
How much of it is the media and marketing that makes so much of looks that it even filters through to the type of child we want to sponsor? Are we more superficial than we like to think. Even when I was a young child I can remember a boy with a harelip in my class and a very small unattractive boy who were both not popular. I was an unattractive child too and was not popular, but the company of the beautiful girls in my class was sought after by both the females and males even at 8! I can remember that nearly fifty years later.
I remember when I was about 17 I sponsored a child in Africa. I can't remember where in that huge continent they came from or if it was a boy or a girl, I just remember signing up to sponsor and a bio of a child arriving one day. I remember I only sponsored the child for a few years and then I moved continents shortly before giving birth to my firstborn and I passed on the sponsorship of the child and a cat to my mother.But did I do that as I had not chosen the child and perhaps they weren't good looking? Why do I not remember where in Africa they were from and if they were a boy or girl while I recall many details about the 'unattractive' in my class nearly 10 years prior to that.
I suppose I should give a definition of unattractive or attractive..... attractive and endearing looks are similar... they just have something about them... it might be the shiny hair, the big eyes, white-blonde hair, jet-black hair, lovely skin, fine features ... yes it's vague. So what makes a person attractive and how do we decide who is and who isn't ?
As I am finding it hard to get sponsors for the 'unattractive' looking children I am wondering if I should just allocate children and not show any pictures until they are sponsored. Would the sponsor of an unattractive looking child stop once they saw the picture or after two or three years like I did? Would they ask for a replacement? Do we only feel endearment with attractiveness? Do we bond with our friends babies when they are unattractive? Do we like strange looking cats with unattractive markings and bent tails? Someone even suggested I don't take on any children unless they were attractive so I could easily get sponsors. We have criteria for sponsorships, but how they look is not one of the criteria.
We help girls predominently but we do help a few boys too, boys whose parents have died or come from a dire situation, from a marginalized community or are from a severly impoverished family. But as we help girls mainly and that is what we encourage it then becomes hard to get sponsors for the boys. The nicest looking boys always get sponsors first. We even have one boy who has remained on our books for three years unsponsored. He has been classified as ugly by quite a few people now.
I think this classifying of how attractive someone is, is all very deep in our subconscious. I have rescued many cats here in Vietnam and have found homes for all of them except the last one. She is cute, not beautiful. Did I make less effort to find her a home due to her being cute? I wanted a watchdog. I chose a dog that is cute, not unattractive. I sponsor some of the children CEF has on their books, but two of the four children are cute. Why didn't I choose all the unattractive ones? I wouldn't even be surprised if it is so deep it is in our DNA as even people I consider quite evolved, people who live consciously and caringly; they still are choosing attractive over unattractive children to sponsor or help me find sponsors for them.
If anyone feels inclined to sponsor I do have some new and long term children who have been classified 'unattractive' and need a sponsor. These 'unattractive' children would love an education and a future with more opportunities just as much as the attractive children we sponsor. And if you are less evolved like me, we also have some attractive children in need of sponsors.