Dependence

It has been brought to my attention lately while binge watching documentaries on Netflix that our country is great a keeping people dependent upon oodles of different things from sugar in food, to prescription drugs, to charity and more. It is a system that truly gives out fish but is reluctant to teach anyone to fish for fear of losing their dependence. It is disturbing to me that for the majority of my life I have given to the poor in the form of charity only to find that the foreign aid we provide out of the kindness of our hearts is really working against developing countries and much of the time inhibiting their development. I don’t want to support charity that puts the people I am trying to help out of business nor do I want to ignore the greater issue that is not being addressed here at home and abroad, dependence. It is my understanding that our government supports people with the assistance of welfare and this is a kindness on the surface but in the long run it encourages dependence when it is never ending aid rather than mere assistance while people are being educated and working to find jobs and housing for themselves. I am aware that not everyone looks at the welfare system as a beneficiary, but many do and their children learn from them that this is the way to view this resource. It shocked me to find out that foreign aid to developing countries does not stop for months or years after a natural disaster. Therefore, if people in that community wanted to make a living selling goods and getting back on their feet they can not because they can not compete with free. In this manner we make these communities dependent on aid, these communities that want to develop and grow. I don’t believe that anyone starts out in this world thinking I want to live in poverty and never have aspirations or dreams for myself and my family. It also concerned me to find out that many people in developing countries will place their children in orphanages on purpose and visit them weekly knowing they could be adopted by someone from another country. They do this because parents want the best for their children and if the only way they know their children will receive food, shelter, clothing and education is by placing them up for adoption in an orphanage then that is what they do. I feel like I have been in the dark on these issues for years. Even in the mental health system their is this undertone that keeps people dependent on the system, that is why Mary Ellen Copeland invented the WRAP program or wellness recovery action plan. As a mental health patient herself,she felt she was not being given the right tools or education in or out of the hospital to reach sustainable functional recovery. Marsha M. Linehan, who invented DBT or dialectical behavior therapy, was diagnosed with schizophrenia herself, and experiencing what doesn’t work propelled her to create modalities that do. I am HOPEFUL that in the future more people will start to recognize the brokenness of a system based in dependency and work to develop new ways to help people in a more sustainable way. I think we need to start thinking about teaching independence and collaboration rather than dependence because that is a much more helpful donation to our brothers and sisters then a dirty bandaid. It’s time for a hand up rather than just a hand out.