Do you have 1st world issues or 3rd world issues? #TiWiWf

On February 24, 2012 by Aimee

On Sunday, at church, at the awesome, Hope Community Church, Pastor Mike Lee spent his 20 or 30 minutes (I don’t count — I’m too enthralled) talking about whether our problems (those of us in the US and particular those that live in the metropolis that is the Raleigh-Durham area) are ‘1st world’ or ‘3rd world’. We even watched this amazing video (the video I’m referring to starts around the 6:30min mark) which is so apt.

When is enough not enough? Do we have it all? Do we need more?

My kids always need more. They think they need more. They want more. More. More. More. More.


Have we become this amazingly materialistic society that is seeking to “one-up” the Jones’s instead of just keeping up with them? Or have we learned?

My kids don’t think they’re spoiled … and in some respects, they aren’t. In others, they are terrible, terrible, terrible.

It’s not just our kids though.

We went to lunch after this particular sermon and as we were sitting at the table in Five Guys in Cary, one of our favorite burger joints, I pulled out a tomato and made a face at my husband.


It still had the center — the hard part that’s white and crunchy — not the way a tomato should be.

As I pulled out that tomato and made that face, my husband said:

“1st world problem or 3rd world problem?”

He stopped me cold.

That tomato slice, on my hot burger, next to my yummy fries with my iced tea and the basket of peanuts sitting next to me …

I am spoiled.

My problems aren’t problems.

My problems are ridiculous.

The world is FULL of kids who don’t even have rice for dinner. They don’t have dinner. They didn’t have lunch or breakfast. Nothing.

And I’m sitting there complaining about my tomato not being sliced well.

And that it’s cold when I run from the warm building to the car.

With the heated seats that we call ‘hot butt’.

Talk about being put in one’s place.


I’ll never get this feeling across to my kids. If they don’t have clean clothes, they complain. Well … sometimes. I have one who’ll wear the same pants 10x repeatedly without washing if I’d let her. 😉 They complain when it’s hot and when it’s cold (though I have to admit I do, too) but then they get their blankets and wrap up. They will never feel the cold of not having that stuff.

We are BEYOND PRIVILEGED to live in the US. BEYOND it. I was born into a world that thinks not having the latest XBOX or Wii is a travesty. I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about it, but we have a new motto when someone complains in our house and I have to admit it took about 15 explanations before my kids understood what it meant to be able to answer properly.

Now … if we complain about anything, the questions that arises is:

“Is it a 1st world issue or a 3rd world one?”

And if it’s 1st world … it is discounted unless it’s something that affects being fed, being clothed, being housed or their education.

My goal?

Get my kids to unspoil themselves by understanding how MUCH they have in comparison to 95% of the world.

We’ll see if it works.

So … Do you have 1st world issues or 3rd world issues?

Share in the comments!

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