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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Which battle do I fight?

I was just on compassion's website looking at all the children not sponsored. There are so many of them! My heart always breaks becaue I look at each child and I see how special they are and how much love they could use in their life. I'd love to sponsor them all but logically I know it would be impossible for me to sponsor every single child that was in poverty.

So, I started thinking about the future. I finish law school in a year and a half. I always have said I want to be a prosecutor because they put people in jail and speak for the victims when the victims can't. To me that is a noble profession where I can do good in this world. The problem with that profession is that thanks to the state of the economy the pay is not there. The starting pay isn't terrible and it's enough to live on but when I factor in taxes, paying back student loans, mortgage, possible kids, retirement, etc. it leaves little left to give. My back-up plan if I can't find a job as a prosecutor is to be a trust and estates lawyer. I don't know why but I liked the class a lot. I just looked up their pay and the average pay is about double what a prosecutor makes. The trust and estate lawyer makes close to 100,000 a year!! I thought with 100,000 a year that I could easily sponsor 30 kids!! That would be about 14,000 a year in sponsorship but with 100,000 a year that would be do able. 

My boyfriend wants me to become a trust and estate lawyer because of the money. If it was up to him I'd make loads of money and would give little if any to charity. It's not that he has a bad heart but he believes as long as we have debt that means we don't have enough to give away. I of course, don't agree. If I made 100,000 a year and he continued to make his income there is no way he could tell me no to sponsoring so many kids! The thing is I don't know which option to go. 

Do I speak for victims of crimes who can not speak or have too little of a voice in the justice system (I want to work sensitive crimes) or do I work with those getting their affairs in order but help those silenced by poverty. Both would make me happy and both would be honorable but how do you choose which battle you should fight in? How do you choose which charity or group to help when you know you can't help them all? 

I thought I knew what I wanted and now I'm conflicted because both battles need people to fight for them. I know no one can tell me what the right option is but this whole thought process just made me start thinking how does everyone choose which charity to give to when they know they can't give to all of them. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why Give?

Recently I was asked by my significant other why I give my money to charities? He was quick to point out that I currently do not have an income and live on student loans. He made sure to remind me just how much debt I will be in when I graduated. For him it is simple, if you are in debt don't donate. While I respect his opinion and to some extent agree, I feel he is wrong. If I was in debt because I just couldn't make ends meet then maybe giving to charity would not be an option. However, I'm sitting comfortably in my own apartment, I have nice furniture, I own more clothes than I ever wear, I drive a nice car, I never worry about where my next meal is coming from, and I have more random gadgets then I know what to do with. So yes, technically I'm in debt but I'm not in need of anything. I have more than a lot of people and, when I finish school, I will also be working in a field that makes a decent wage. So I give. I give to those who ned help the most and who are doing what they can to make ends meet. God has called us to be grateful for what we have and to give of ourselves to other. God did not tell us to give only at Christmas time, when it's convenient, or after we have bought everything we want and might have a bit left. We are supposed to give to help each other out.

Currently, I volunteer my time at local domestic violence shelters, I give to numerous charities and I sponsor 3 children with Compassion.com. I don't know who is getting more out of me giving: me or them. I do know that I eagerly wait for letters from the children to come to me and I always remember to pray for them. These children are always on my thoughts. When I'm having a bad day, I remember what these kids must be going through. I grumble when my alarm goes off at 6am and I never want to leave my blankets when it's cold. Yet, these are luxuries that I have. These children know of hard-work and poverty when all they should be doing is playing games and dreaming about all the possibilities of their future. I love sponsoring with compassion because I think it allows the kids to be kids again but it also teaches them valuable skills. Compassion is also one of the few organizations which is also God focused. To me, that is important.

So, maybe I'm not completely financially secure and maybe my money would be "better" spent paying back my loans. I just don't think that's true. God has given me more than I could ever need and I feel that I should share my good fortune with those who have not been as lucky as me. So my answer to why give is why not.