While I will continue to be thankful for the ability to give to my children, I believe simply being thankful is not only not enough. It’s not the full story. It fails to see the way that our gifts are often not things that are ‘given by God,’ but rather are the result of a broken and unequal system. For me, that means needing to acknowledge that I benefit from a global economic system in a way that many do not, and to ask God what it means to be faithful with those resources that I have. As I think about what that means for my own life, I keep coming back to three things:
- To make a conscious choice not to exploit others, either indirectly or directly. This requires me to more actively ask questions and investigate how I am able to achieve the lifestyle (and the “blessings” I have). For some, this entails questions about ethical and sustainable consumerism.
- To be committed to helping families thrive, and to help parents be able to support their own children. I recognize that most parents want the best for the children, and being a good parent is largely (although not solely) about having certain resources.
- To remember why I became a sociologist. One of my central research interests deals with the way relationships are structured by changes in the international political economy. While I often investigate macro-level concerns, it is because of the pupusa vendor in El Salvador trying to feed her children that I became a sociologist.