Poverty Priorities

Feb 22, 2008 | Posted by Scott Hughes, author of Achieve Your Dreams | Post a Comment

I often stress the importance of education and raising children in the fight against poverty. Education empowers people, and people empowered with education will have the skills to take care of themselves, to take care of their families, and to help uplift society as a whole.

We do need to find large-scale ways to provide education to the masses. But more importantly we have to start prioritizing these issues in our personal lives.

We can only end poverty and build a more socially responsible world if most people choose to do it. We can do it once we choose to do it.

When as individuals we make it a priority in our personal lives, then we can hopefully spark a cultural shift, in which other people follow our lead and join us.

But we have to do it ourselves first.

Instead of buying iPods and other expensive toys, we need to fund our own education or the education of our children. Instead of wasting time watching TV, we need to help teach children or even self-educate ourselves. Even those of us who do not have our own children can donate money to scholarship funds or private schools, or donate time into mentoring or other volunteering. Instead of playing video games or partying, we can volunteer. The money spent on perfume alone could provide food and housing for everyone in the world who lacks it.

We cannot end poverty simply by voting for a single politician or feeling slightly bad when we see a picture of a starving child. We have to prioritize our lives. Maybe strong commercialism has done it; maybe a general feeling of hopelessness has done it; maybe something else did it; but, for whatever reason, almost all of us have routinely spent our money and time on short-sighted and impulsive indulgences instead of investing it in building a better world for all. Our stupid priorities have allowed our world to go to hell.

We have to make wiser priorities as individuals to have wiser priorities as a society. We need to prioritize education, personal development, and raising all children well. We need to forget about impulsive wastes of time and money such as fancy cars, over-priced clothes, drugs, television, and so on and so forth.

We all seem to make stupid, wasteful decisions–myself included. We have to starting trying a lot harder to make wiser and more responsible decisions.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes which seems relevant:

“The love of material ease has been, in the mass of men and permanently speaking, always greater than the love of liberty. Nine hundred and ninety nine women out of a thousand are more interested in the cut of a dress than in the independence of their sex; nine hundred and ninety nine men out of a thousand are more interested in drinking a glass of beer than in questioning the tax that is laid on it; how many children are not willing to trade the liberty to play for the promise of a new cap or a new dress? That it is which begets the complicated mechanism of society; that it is which, by multiplying the concerns of government, multiplies the strength of government and the corresponding weakness of the people; this it is which begets indifference to public concern, thus making the corruption of government easy.”
~ Voltairine de Cleyre

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About Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!

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Children suffering from Poverty