Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 1:
Every child is at risk.
There are dangers and diseases that stem from poverty, and there are dangers and diseases that stem from prosperity.
Throughout our travels to some of the darkest recesses of poverty on the planet, we’ve witnessed firsthand the dangers and diseases that stem from poverty. And as a result of raising children in the United States, we’ve also witnessed firsthand the dangers and diseases that stem from prosperity.
We’ve seen children eat dirt to fill their rumbling stomachs, and we’ve seen children struggling with obesity from too many trips to the nearest fast-food chain restaurant. We’ve paddled a canoe through sewage-polluted waters to reach the home of a child in Ecuador, and we’ve driven our SUVs to cavernous “mansions” to visit children lost in a sea of suburban materialism in the US, living in homes filled with lots of stuff, but very little love. We’ve walked into rooms where two adults and five children share a single bed, crowded in a small space, and we’ve been in rooms where a single bed holds a child searching for purpose.
We’ve surveyed the emotional damage that results from broken families, and have found that it doesn’t matter whether you live in poverty or prosperity. The results are the same. We’ve seen firsthand the pain of alcohol abuse by fathers and mothers. We’ve watched as families are shattered when marriages end in divorce. We’ve witnessed families ravaged by greed. We’ve seen the despair that grows in the hearts of children when they face seemingly hopeless situations. It doesn’t matter whether your family is poor or prosperous—every child is at risk.
Fourteen-year-old Tabitha is at risk growing up in the prosperity of the United States. Six-year-old Kizel is at risk growing up in the poverty of Bolivia. On any given night, Tabitha goes to bed worrying about bullying, popularity, test scores, and what she is going to wear tomorrow. Every day, she is exposed to the dangers and diseases of prosperity. On any given night, Kizel goes to bed worrying about the boys across the street, how she will make it in this world, who she can trust, and what she will wear tomorrow. Every day, she is exposed to the dangers and diseases of poverty. If you read closely, you’ll notice that both girls suffer similar risks.
We see poverty and prosperity as similar problems. Though the circumstances of a child in poverty are different from those of a child in prosperity, they are both equally at risk. One child has too little. One child has too much. One child needs more. One child thinks she deserves more. One child is in danger of forgetting about God because she doesn’t have enough. One child is in danger of forgetting about God because she has more than enough.
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