Saturday, June 19, 2010

Give Dad a Gift Which Promotes Social Justice

The wonderful writer Nicholas Kristof has done for Father's Day what he did for Mother's Day. In this piece, he tells us some of the stats of what we'll spend on Father's Day cards and gifts, and then he suggests some amazing social justice organizations which could make better use of that money.

I am lucky, I suppose. My family is happy, whether I give gifts, flowers, or donations in their name. For Christmas, my immediate family agreed that we will give donations instead of gifts; each year we choose the organization and all contribute. For birthdays and other holidays, I use my best judgement. I usually give a book, if I give a gift at all, and often it's a book that I pick up at a poetry reading, so in some ways, that, too, is a kind of charitable gift.

I like to think that my husband and I live lightly, but we used to do a better job of that, mainly because we couldn't afford to live any differently. In graduate school, we ate meat rarely, and likewise for our beer and wine drinking. We lived near campus, so we could walk if the weather cooperated (and there wasn't parking much closer to campus, so what would be the point of driving?).

Now I look around my house and marvel at how much stuff we have. Who will ever read these books again? I have a month's worth of clothes in my closet--more if you count all the clothes which don't fit right now. We have equipment and instruments for all kinds of pursuits, pursuits which we rarely pursue.

I suspect that many of our parents are similarly situated. They don't need another gift to know how much we love them. But many charitable/social justice organizations are running on tight budgets. Our dollars could do some good there.

So, let's all give our dads social justice for this Father's Day. Maybe we could help those kids who aren't lucky enough to have a father.

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