Lessons From My 20s: People Aren't Statistics & Their Lives Aren't Data

I am 16 days into my Lesson's From My 20s series. Whew! Are you tired yet? Today's lesson is : People Aren't Statistics & Their Lives Aren't Data.

My dad in Indonesia with an emergency relief team after the Tsunami in 2004

I was 23 when the Tsunami struck in 2004. The news was flooded with images of destruction and grieving people. Too many to take in. I remember seeing so many faces and looking at one homeless family after another. Another child who lost their parents. Another parent who lost a child. They start to simply feel like numbers. Somewhere along the way they became a news cycle and not a life.
We are an information culture. Percentages & statistics invade ever aspect of our lives. Toothpaste commercials even tell us what percentage of dentists recommend their product. Facts. Figures. Numbers everywhere. Numbers that eventually become numbing.
The people the numbers represent begin to become irrelevant.
* Every day 1,000 babies are born with the HIV virus.
* 300,000 children right now are forced to fight as child soldiers in armed conflicts
* 43% of marriages will end in divorce or separation in the first 15 years
* In the United States 9% of people are unemployed
* Approx. 250,000 babies are born each day...
Life becomes a fact. People become a demographic. It is hard to see people as people. Lives as stories. I have learned that I have to fight to see the one among the masses. I have to stop, look someone in the eyes and ask what they have seen. The 300,000 child soldiers are 300,000 individual kids with hearts that long for hope. The 43% of couples who divorce are individual people who fell in love and something went off track resulting in heartbreak. Every person has a story. Each story matters.