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Expressing Need While Maintaining Dignity

human dignity For the past few weeks, I have been watching Twitter to see where the phrase “sponsor a child [3]” pops up.

Many tweets express a desire to sponsor a child. One person tweeted that she wanted a job — not so that she could buy anything for herself, but so she could sponsor another child.

Some tweeted about sponsoring a child through Compassion, while others chose different organizations.

I felt this tweet from @Katyyyy343 was particularly striking.

So…decided that I want to sponsor a child instead of getting bday presents even though my bday is 5 months away still.

In contrast, I saw another tweet that talked about sponsoring a child after graduation because the commercial she saw on TV hurt her heart. Regrettably, at least I think it’s regrettable, I saw many similar tweets.

During employee orientation, I had the opportunity to take our building tour. In our Global Ministry Center, pictures of children are everywhere — in the foyer, in hallways, in cubicles, pretty much everywhere you look.

As the tour progressed, the leader spoke about how we strongly believe in upholding the dignity of the children [4] and families we serve. We will not depict poverty by using pictures of children that have large bellies due to malnutrition, or pictures of toddlers naked with flies on their face.

If a mom sees the picture we have taken of her child, we want her to feel proud — not ashamed.

Seeing a child in such dire circumstances — uncared for — hurts my heart. I’m sure it affects many people so deeply that they take action; they pick up the phone or go online to sponsor a child. But at what cost?

So where’s the line? How should we express the urgent needs of the children in our programs while maintaining their dignity?