Why My Family Is Going Hungry
Every mother wants her children to be healthy so why would you choose to feed your family on a daily budget of R10 per person? Julie Williams shares why they’ve decided to take on the LUTL challenge.
Next week, our family, together with thousands of others in our city, will embark on a three-day challenge to Live Under The Line (LUTL). This means that for three days we will attempt to identify with those living below the poverty line in our country by living on a daily budget of R10 per person per day.
In reality, this exercise is a lot like Bear Grylls attempting to summit Everest and getting dropped off via helicopter 10 metres from the top, then claiming all the glory before getting flown off again to safety.
I’m well aware that for the more than 13 million people in our country for whom living below the poverty line is a daily reality, their R10 has to stretch impossibly further than food (transport, housing, water, electricity, education, clothing, medicine). But still, attempting to convince my boys that life is still worth living without Honey Cheerios in the morning feels like an equally impossible challenge.
So why bother? Why sign up for the impending storm of tears when my little ones discover that juice is not a birthright and that chicken does not grow on (cheap) trees?
Precisely because these are tears that need to be shed. In fact, they are well overdue. It’s an unquestioned principle, that as parents of reasonable means, we do all we can to ensure our kids are protected, well-fed, nurtured and provided for in every way. But I’m beginning to realize that in my attempt to protect my kids from all pain, I run the very real risk of numbing them to others’ pain. Of starving them of empathy as they fill up on their daily snacks.
Beneath all compassion and kindness, is an ability to consider others as you do yourself – to imagine what it must feel like to walk in others’ shoes. How can we learn this except by trying on those shoes from time to time? However uncomfortable they may feel.
These three days won’t end world poverty, but I pray that in our household, they will end a kind of poverty of the soul. That as we go back to living our lives of relative comfort, we will better understand what we have been given, and the immense responsibility that comes with it.
Author’s note: We have a 9-month-old in the house who has flatly refused to embark on the LUTL challenge. She has claimed amnesty by virtue of having to already live under a pile of brothers.
– Julie Williams is a part-time freelance copywriter, mother of three and pastor’s wife. She serves on the Common Ground Church leadership team together with her husband, Terran.
P.S. Considering doing the LUTL challenge with your family? Download The LUTL Family Guide for helpful tips and advice. We also recommend reading, “Learning to Live on Less”, for one mom’s feedback on how the challenge impacted her family.