Donor fatigue… I’m not sure if it’s a real condition but I’m sure many people have suffered from it at one time or another.
It’s that feeling you get when you stop at a red traffic light and you see a “DVD salesman” approaching your car. It’s that awkward moment when you drive off without tipping the car guard after he thanks you. It’s what you get when you’re sitting at a restaurant and that lady selling roses makes her way to your table.
It seems that everyday we are asked to give in so many different ways. Most of us are decent people so we do our best but we’re only human. One can only do so much, right?
That certainly is one side of the coin; a side I understand well and have given much thought to. None the less, I thought I would share some of my personal sentiment with you with regards to giving because I’m a rebel like that. If anything, see it as more of an encouragement of sorts than a request to change your opinion should it differ from mine.
You see when I get to that red traffic light, I am a slave to the plea bargain put before me. I simply reach for my coin slot, open the window and hand over the moolah. This happens virtually every time I have enough time to do so. And although there is a chance this person might go spend the goods on booze or drugs instead of food and other necessities, I don’t care.
Before you heap praise OR scorn on me, you should know that it has less to do with being a good person and more to do with my obsessive compulsive disorder. I wouldn’t say I’m a whack job but the voices are strong in this one.
WE ARE WEIRD!
For me, I think of all the times I’ve spent money on a good night out. Sometimes I get on a roll and I think I have more money than God has sheep, ordering shooters by the bucket load (some can cost as much as R40) yet I can’t give R5 to the guy on the side of the street? From here on, my mind becomes a war zone in a matter of milliseconds! I could blog about this war zone for days on end.
But don’t think I give out of guilt. Perspective and empathy are the weapons my mind uses to produce conviction. It’s part and parcel of being Mark Sham the over-thinker.
The difference between man and the rest of creation is that if we want, we CAN look at the bigger picture. We are able to act out of kindness and compassion for no real reason at all even. We don’t always have to act on pure instinct which often times will tell us to roll up the window and pretend there is zero existence outside our car.
In my opinion, it is not our divine right to live a good life. We may work hard but the good things we have are a blessing and shouldn’t be taken for granted. We certainly shouldn’t feel guilty for what we have but we should remember what it’s like not to have and how quickly it can be taken away from us. That’s perspective.
I also believe that sometimes we should be the bigger person and have compassion for those who have less than us regardless of whether they deserve to be in that situation or not. That’s empathy.
I’m not saying you’re wrong if you don’t give every time. For a LONG time, I’ve thought about why people don’t do more in general and I’ve come to realize it’s not because they’re all bad people, they just don’t always practice perspective and empathy; a certain cure for donor fatigue.
Another reason people don’t do more is because they don’t know where to start. They have the right intentions but lack a springboard from which to jump from.
Last year, I found a cause that really pulled on my heart’s strings called Santa Shoebox and I want to use the Mark’s Microphone platform to encourage you to get involved. You could argue that the beggar on the side of the road deserves his lot but you can’t argue that underprivileged children are the ones affected most by bad luck and other people’s bad choices.
Kidz2Kidz’s Santa Shoebox Project is an inspiring community initiative that co-ordinates the donation, collection and distribution of personalized Christmas gifts to underprivileged children; while at the same time helping parents teach their own children about the joys of giving.
Participating is a profoundly valuable and personal experience as the donor knows the name, age and gender of the child that he/she chooses to donate to and the name of the organization that cares for the child.
Last year, my child’s name was Johannes and he was nine years old. I may not have been able to put a roof over his head but come Christmas, he experienced one of the greatest joys on earth; a joy all children should experience; a joy which shaped my childhood for the better and will hopefully shape his in the same way.
KEEP IN TOUCH
If this blog post has offered you perspective and empathy for even a brief moment then I encourage you visit the Santa Shoebox website for more information about how to “pledge a box” to an underprivileged child. You can also visit their Facebook page or Twitter account to keep in touch.