“Kids in America are such brats, the kids in the orphanage I stayed with were so much fuller and more grateful.” says Sheadon Ringor, a missionary, former youth pastor, and friend. He is currently a missionary in Malawi, Africa. He was our middle school youth pastor at our church for about 3 years. He had also left college at Biola and went down to live in the slums of Tijuana, Mexico as a missionary. He lived there for about 4 years. When he moved back to Kauai, he was hired as a middle school youth pastor, and worked until his student loans were paid off. He then went to Kenya for two weeks to decide if he wanted to move there permanently. He also went to India with our church, and worked in the slums there for about 3 days before he succumbed to the toxic air and booked a flight back to Kauai. His goal was to move to Africa, and become a missionary. He has now been in Africa since December 30.
Why did I include this into my belief essay? Because he experienced children from four corners of the world, and said that America’s youth are by far some of the most ungrateful, spoiled children, who have everything, but still find something they want or need to complain about. America is a very wealthy country, and strong. In contrast, however, India, Mexico, and most regions of Africa, are very poor and strangled by poverty. But the kids are undeniably happier and more grateful than the ones in America. They appreciate everything, for how could they not? Dinner isn’t a guarantee, neither is fresh water. There is nothing they can do for their predicament, so why waste energy complaining, when you could be rejoicing for what you have?
So they do, and for this they are happy.
Living in the top wealth percentile of the world tends to make you naive to the rest of the world, and how small your problems are. There are people who have money, and there are people who are rich. Richness does not necessarily mean wealth, but richness of soul, a happy heart, a good atmosphere around you. You can have all the money in the world and also be the loneliest. You can be the poorest person in the world, and also the happiest. “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul”. It’s ironic, and a paradox of sorts. When I went to Swaziland, Africa, I met all sorts of children. Their ages ranged from two to sixteen. They had this uncorrupted joy, that despite their predicament, they still were happy and appreciative. The boundary we have drawn between the wealthier countries of the world, and the poorest needs to be erased. I believe there needs to be a paradigm shift, getting out of the cycle of thinking that we are better than everyone else, that the poorer countries should be grateful for us kneeling down to help them up, when in reality we are all humans, who need to express the same compassion, not pity, onto the less fortunate, as we do onto a friend who needs help. The statues that we build of our self and others needs to stop, we are all equal, all want to live, to find happiness, and that can only be done when we stop thinking we are better than the person next to us.