A Global Family

Perhaps I’m naive. I will even concede that my perspective may be limited. But I believe, all things being equal, we are a Global Family. We are from one heart. We are from one mind. If you want to be technical and scientific, we come from one very small gene pool. Under our skin, we are all sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins and parents.

And, like every family, some members have a better life than others. And true, sometimes it is just the luck of the draw and other times it is a result of very bad choices. And sometimes those messed up family members are difficult to talk to because they can’t get outside their own struggles; their preoccupation with the hardships of life make it difficult for them to find creative solutions and a successful path beyond their own circumstance.

But let’s be honest, there are times when some family members who are living the easy life make it impossible for the others to succeed. Some brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and parents need to have a black sheep in the family; it makes them feel better about themselves, about their station in life, when the others struggle. It raises their own self-worth when they are better than, higher than, superior to that pathetic member of the family. If nothing else, it gives them something to talk about during family gatherings.

Unfortunately, that is nothing more than dysfunction. Treating family members that way is wrong. Lifting yourself to a higher level on the backs of those who struggle is pathological.

I have a friend who has done everything to help a sister and her family find a way out of the drug-induced cycle of poverty in which they find themselves. They’ve offered shelter. They’ve provided love and support. They’ve sacrificed to help raise children. And it’s all ended in a repeated scenario of foolish decisions and a self-destructive life. They talk about them, not with disgust but with painful hearts filled with love. They share their sister’s story, not as a way to gossip but as a cautionary tale, with a tear in their eye and a burden on their heart. They’ve offered all the help the can and cannot offer more. It is time for the sister to grow up and make the right choices, but they still care.

Our global family has always had the black sheep, the down and out. And we clearly struggle with pathological behavior toward one another. We always have, and perhaps we always will. But those who happened to be born into a life of luxury have an obligation to stop admiring their position and start helping others who were born into less fortunate circumstances.

I’ll be honest, I have let down my global family. I’ve held tight to my privilege and position rather than dropping my station and reaching out a hand to others, my brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and parents, who are in desperate need.

And it’s time for that behavior to change.

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