As death tolls in Indonesia surpass 280,000, it's hard not to feel horror at such devastation. Here in the United States, thousands of miles away, many of us want to help. Yet, even imagining so much death is difficult. The nearest parallel we have is our shared national sorrow of September 11th.
Seeing the faces of the newly homeless is tragic. A little girl clutching her soiled clothes and crying out for a mother who isn't there. The man who lost his business and home.
But what can we do? The average American feels overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the destruction. Most of us have bills that leave us living paycheck to paycheck. Not to mention saving for the future, be that college tuition or a new car. In general, our contributions are the proverbial "drop in the bucket." We want to do so much more to help... but the money just isn't there.
So, what about the above-average American? And not above-average in intelligence or education, but those with extreme wealth. Take Michael Dell. At 39, he's a self-made billionaire who continues to rock the tech industry with Dell Computers. His net worth exceeds $13 billion dollars. In an age when most Americans are proud to claim any positive net worth, this guy has it in spades.
|Don't have a heart of gold? Then think of the great publicity. The evening news and newspapers will hail you as a "wonderful example of humanity."|
Dell certainly isn't the only billionaire out there. Ever been to Sam's Club, or Wal-Mart? Jim Walton, the youngest son of the legendary Sam Walton, is worth over $20 billion.
As stunning as those bottom-lines are, let's not forget Bill Gates. After his bills are paid, he has over $46 billion in the piggybank. That's a lot of billions.
We've all dreamed about having more money then we can spend. What would it be like to have no financial worries? Even kids wonder how many video-games they could buy with a thousand dollars - or a million. But a billion? The number is so huge and abstract it almost doesn't mean anything.
The power of a billion dollars is beyond most of us. One part of the fantasy of having more money than you could spend might be using it to help others. Have you ever wondered what a billion dollars could do for tsunami victims or cancer and AIDS research?
So, billionaires, here's a challenge: you want to prove to the world you aren't selfishly hoarding those billions while others are suffering horribly? Donate just one billion each. Be the first to show your heart and your humanity. Do something wholesome and generous with your success.
Need more motivation? Turn on the news, or do a Google search and take two minutes to look at a few pictures. You see that orphaned child with nowhere to live or go to school? How about that family that lost everything in one swoop? There are thousands more like them. Just think of what your donation could mean.
Don't have a heart of gold? Then think of the great publicity. The evening news and newspapers will hail you as a "wonderful example of humanity." Besides, it's often said money doesn't make you happy. Maybe using some of that money to heal the world will bring you a great joy.
You could be on Oprah, waving to thousands of screaming fans who idolize you as one of the most saintly people alive. And yes, you'll be smiling large because you made an impact on the world.