Whether I choose to be or not, I am desensitized from things that happen in the world. I can say it truly hurts and saddens me to read stories of human trafficking, wars due to the color of one’s skin, starvation and sickness due to poverty, or any other number of things. Yet even without all this sadness and pain I still can only help on the smallest of scales. Sure giving voice to the problem is one way to start, yet a bigger problem exists in that everyone else is becoming desensitized too. No longer do people watch the starving kids in the world commercial and want to help, instead they typically just change the channel. We’ve become so used to a broken world that we’ve stopped trying to put it back together.
While we are social beings, we are also selfish. Where we hope others are willing to help us accomplish our dreams, are we actually willing to help others accomplish theirs? There is a story about a young boy who is given the choice between helping a rich old man for a set reward (about $500) or helping 5 poor families with no guaranteed reward. The task for helping the old man consists of carrying a message from his house through a dangerous forest to another rich man’s house. The task for the families is simply gathering fire wood so that they can eat. Of course most people are like the boy and choose to do something with a reward. However, like the boy in the story most will get lost in the forest and eaten by a wolf, all while carrying a message that says, “Beware of taking the forest path, there is a dangerous wolf on the loose.”
So we must ask ourselves, why must we help for reward when we are given life by helping those for free?