Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eyes Wide Shut

you'd be surprised by the range of skills teachers are asked to teach to their students. for example, yesterday, while walking down the hall with my class after lunch, i had to explain to a child that when you walk, you've got to walk with your eyes open.

but then, i got to thinking (i know, dangerous). the other day, liz posted about creating non-profits that instill a sense of community in its "consumers" in hopes of not simply recruiting them but also retaining them. while i agree that non-profits must transform donors, volunteers, members, and similar interested parties into "champions of the cause" for sustained success, i also wonder how effectively non-profits can penetrate deeply embedded principles of consumerism (as well as other life-structuring ideologies)...

repeatedly, we bemoan the seemingly high ticket prices of events which are being held to benefit populations that are disenfranchised, marginalized and frequently forgotten by the sane, healthy and (more often than not) unintentionally oblivious rest of the world. but then we don't question dropping easily $50 for dinner or an even heftier sum for a night of fleeting inebriated revelry (or maybe we actually did question but then answered with a resounding opening of the wallet).

we even go so far as to offer our money in a concerted effort to save a small business seized by the government in response to unpaid back taxes because we "care about having a city that is filled with more than global chains" and "[support] an enriched urban life" (check out the front page of the cambridge chronicle for more info about that doozy.).

i'm certainly not saying people don't have the right to spend their money in whichever manner they wish, and i'm definitely not saying i'm not guilty of unbalanced spending either (heck, my whole life is a little helter-skelter).

but i do wonder... have we truly matured beyond my six-year-old student? are we walking with our eyes open? 'cause if we were, i'm sure we'd be spending our time, money, and lives much more differently when we saw what, or more importantly who, was around us. we may even become those long-term, committed "champions of a cause" (and who doesn't want to be a champion?!).

1 comment:

John R said...

great post. when we donate, where does our money/time/effort go? how do we know that our money/time/effort is being used effectively?