153261087I had never heard the phrase “first-world problems” until just a few months ago. Maybe you’re ahead of me and you’re familiar with the phrase and maybe today is the first time you’ve heard it.

Regardless, the concept of first-world problems is one you and I need to understand. 

And so do our children. 

First world problems are issues experienced from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation. They are issues that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at. These frustrations and complaints are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries.

And yes, no matter what your income level is, you and I and our kids are both privileged and wealthy when compared to how families live in other parts of the world.

Many of the issues we deal with and our kids deal with are first world problems.

First world problems include:

1) Not getting a close parking spot.
2) Sharing a car with an older sibling.
3) Having to get up to get the TV remote.
4) Waiting for online purchases to be delivered.
5) Listening to actual CD’s when I drive because my I don’t have an AUX cord.
6) Having the internet go down.
7) Waiting too long for the pizza to be delivered.
8) Finding out your favorite shirt isn’t clean.
9) Waiting several minutes for the hot water to make it to the shower.

Take that same list and put it in third world perspective and it looks something like this:

581769_414546358666254_1463030607_n1) Having only your own feet for a transportation option–sometimes with no shoes. (Some of the children we met in the Masaii Tribe in Tanzania had to walk up to 3 miles a day to school.)

2) Most third world families will never own a vehicle…let alone have one for their teenage children to share.

1157514_414535145334042_151702990_n3) Many third world country homes don’t even have electricity, so television isn’t even an option.

4) Purchasing requires money. In third-world countries, purchasing opportunities are limited and bartering is very common.

5) CD’s, and Aux Cord, and listening to music in a car? Can’t do that without a car, can you?

6) The internet isn’t accessible if you don’t have electricity.

1009871_414536632000560_1045764018_n7) Sometimes there is simply not enough food available for three meals a day (this is why providing a meal at Compassion Programs is so important).  Theresia shared with us that sometimes her mother and grandmother could only provide two meals a day when she was growing up.

8) Clothing is worn day after day and when washed, it’s often by hand, in dirty river or stream water.


9) Bathing water is usually hand carried, and clean drinking water is often not even available (in one of the Africa villages we visited, the church overseeing the Compassion program was able to use some of their sponsor money to dig a well and provide clean drinking water for their village!)


Is it time to reframe your challenges and your kids’ challenges into a first-world/third world perspective? Would that adjust the lens for us to not only increase our contentment but also our compassion for those who have less?

Would you be willing to take your first-world provision and share it with a third-world family?

Two children were sponsored yesterday!  Only 48 left to go!

My 50th Birthday Wish



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