Political Promises and True Charity 

 June 22, 2013

By  Oak Norton

Banana split

In your class at school, two people are running for class president.

Each candidate gets to address the class and announce their ideas for what they would do as class president.

Candidate 1 says, “If you elect me, I will have ice cream delivered to you every day.”

Candidate 2 says, “If you elect me, I will work hard but you can buy your own ice cream.”

Discuss: What questions should you ask the candidate who is promising you ice cream for free?

We have to look beyond the promises politicians make and ask questions that help us understand their actions. Nothing is free. It costs someone to provide it. Some good questions to ask the first candidate (and other politicians who promise free things to people) are:

  • How are you going to pay for that?
  • Who benefits from this and what do you want in return?
  • Who is asking for this change to happen?

Let’s say Candidate 2 wins and there is no free ice cream, but an ice cream truck stops by the school every day right after school and some children with extra money are able to purchase ice cream on their way home, and some can’t afford to. Sometimes we refer to these types of groups as the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

Discuss: What could be an action the children who can afford ice cream might take?

When we help other people who are less fortunate, this is called charity. When you give, you feel good, and when the other person receives, they should feel gratitude toward you. When people do not help the poor through personal efforts, the poor often turn to people like Candidate 1 who make promises which can only be fulfilled by taking from the “haves” with taxes, and giving to the “have-nots.” This is not charity. The giver is not blessed, and the recipient is not grateful.

Action Item: Is there someone you know that you can bless by providing something that person or family might need? If you can’t think of a specific family, perhaps you might consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. It could prove to be a blessing in your lives.

(Featured image by

Oak Norton

Father of 5 children, husband to 1 amazingly patient woman, entrepreneur, and education advocate.

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