Several of you asked about this in a recent Q&A, so I thought it deserved its own post.
While Mr. FG and I encourage our children to delight in giving presents to family and friends, we also encourage them to think about giving to people who don’t have as many physical blessings as we do.
Our kids live pretty happy-go-lucky lives, and their day-to-day schedules don’t naturally make them privvy to the suffering experienced by so many people around the globe. So, it’s our job as parents to make them aware of the fact that not everyone has the same blessings they do…two parents, food to eat, water to drink, warm clothes, a warm house, and plenty of toys, among other things.
Because if they know, their hearts will likely be stirred to give.
For example, several years ago, Lisey read an article about people so deprived of food, they have to eat cookies made of mud and vegetable shortening. After reading that, she came to me and said, “Mommy, if I ever visited there, I would bring my bank to buy food for them.”.
The Advent Conspiracy videos are a good resource for kids who are old enough to read (and for adults too!).
(email subscribers, you’ll have to click over to my blog to see this video)
And we help our kids look through the Heifer mailings and Living Water mailings so that they can see people in need.
Simply being aware of people in need isn’t enough..it needs to be followed by action (though sadly enough, just thinking about people in need does sometimes make us feel like we’ve accomplished something.
To help our kids translate awareness into action, we try to model giving. Mr. FG is a natural born giver (much more than me), and for the last few years, he’s been asking for a donation to Living Water instead of a gift, or he’s donated his cash gifts to Living Water. This has not gone unnoticed by our children, and without us even suggesting it, they’ve started to ask for a donation to Living Water or to Heifer when it’s Christmas or when their birthdays roll around.
On Sonia’s last birthday, as one of her gifts we gave her money so that she could pick something out from the Heifer catalog. She chose to send a flock of chickens, and almost a year later, she still is delighted when she thinks about how her chickens are helping a family survive. And I’m delighted to see how that her heart is so thrilled to give.
We also have participated in programs that help us get presents to children in need. We’ve participated in the Angel Tree program, which gave us the opportunity to deliver presents to a child whose parent is incarcerated. And we’ve filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. This is an especially fun project for children because they get to pick out all sorts of toys and candy to stuff in the shoebox.
One of Mr. FG’s pastor friends runs a ministry that feeds the homeless, and we’ve helped him buy thermal bags for the people he ministers to. They cost $2 each, which is a great price point for getting kids involved.
Oh, and remember my Ebates/Haiti idea? I didn’t get enough referrals to get the $500, but I did get enough to receive the check below.
So, I’m going to send that off to Living Water. And since we had some extra money leftover this month, I’m going to double the donation and also send a donation to Heifer. Thank you to all of you that participated!
Do you have any other good ideas about helping children learn to give generously?
Today’s 365 post: The fishies are working again!