Throughout my life, I had always heard of the bad conditions in which many third- world families live in and of their destitute conditions but it was always in the abstract, something far away and usually not a matter of worry for me. I knew a lot of the facts but it all stayed in the abstract, it was just a thought or simple knowledge. But, once I traveled to a small town in rural Belize, the conditions and lives of these people became a reality for me. As I held the small children and played soccer in an abandoned field, I gained a relationship with these people and truly understood their conditions. I saw a joy on their faces that I could never explain in words when we enjoyed an ice cream cone together. I saw their sadness as they mourned the loss of a loved one. I knew them as people instead of facts in my head. These things could never be classified as knowledge, but I knew them more than I could ever know anything taught to me in a classroom or through a book. It was at this point in which I really cared for these people.
A dark cloud of impersonality many times characterizes our modern world. People many times claim it is a cold world, and no one really cares about anyone else. I would probably agree with these statements but I cannot accept that this lack of caring is a conscious choice by people in our society. I believe this coldness is an unexpected byproduct of our culture’s increase in technology and lack of contact between people. In this age of technology, it has become easy to limit our contact with other people, we can now have almost anything sent to us, we can go to work and we can even communicate with each other without any human contact. People simply don’t have many deep relationships with others any more. When people do not develop relationships with other people, they become ignorant to their concerns and generally what is going on in their life. Without knowing what other people are going through, one can simply focus on oneself and let that be the only concern.
I believe a simple yet difficult step can be made to change the direction in which our society is going. All we have to do is get to know other people. If simply we get to know the people that we come into contact with every day, we no longer are only thinking about what we are doing, but also those around us. Then, if we get to know those in rough situations, it is no longer statistics about poverty or abuse running across our television, but it is people that we can put a name or a face to which will strike us deep within ourselves and make us care.
I believe the coldness of our society can be destroyed with one meaningful relationship at a time.
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