So am I preaching against having things. Nope. Just saying that we need to be thankful for what we have. The other thing I'd like to mention is that those who are blessed abundantly are also more responsible. Meaning, if you've got plenty, you need to be giving. I think this also gives us thankful hearts.
So how do we teach this to our children. Well the obvious answer would be to live it!!! But seeing as how I'm the furthest thing from perfect you are ever going to meet, I need to work on myself as I teach my children. I've come up with a few "tools" to help me in my endeavor.
First, we have Compassion children. Never heard of it? Look it up on the internet. It's under Compassion International. It's an organization in which you choose a child of sex, age and country of your choice and then you help support them. You can write letters and you receive letters and you give Birthday and Christmas gifts. I have found this helpful for teaching my children how blessed they truly are. Compassion also has other things you can do if you don't want to commit to a long time support. Right now my children are riding my tail feathers because I told them how there are children living in poverty who are being bitten by mosquitoes and getting malaria and either getting really sick or dying. We can help them by buying mosquito nets for their beds so that they can sleep and not be bitten and there by reduce the risk of infection. Well they want to buy mosquito nets now and Momma isn't coming up with a plan fast enough on how to raise money for that. I want them to do it so that they can connect the work with the money and then the giving.
Also I invested in this nifty little thing called a Moolah bank. It's like a piggy bank with some brains behind it.
There are four compartments. SAVE, SPEND, DONATE, INVEST. So here's how we're using it. My children get paid $1 a day if they do their chores and are helpful without whinning, complaining or otherwise being disrespectful. For example my children every morning have to get dressed, make their beds and brush their teeth. Then I expect help setting the table and making meals (age appropriate obviously). They are responsible for putting their own laundry away if I have done laundry that day and they are responsible for their own bedrooms. Whatever housework I am doing that day they help at whatever level they are capable of. At the end of the day they have to put their dirty clothes in the hamper, have a bath and brush their teeth. At bedtime they receive their $1 in quarters. One quarter goes into each compartment. We do this five days a week. The other two days they do it because they are part of the family and families work together for the good of the family. I have found this to be very effective in several areas. They are learning the value of a work ethic. They are learning that work leads to money and money leads to purchasing power. They are learning to give. And they are learning to save for the future. The SAVE and SPEND compartments are for their discretion. If there is an item they want they know how much they need to save and then they have to put it away until they've made enough and can make their purchase. Such proud faces when they take their money and pay for their toy all on their own. And I've noticed they appreciate those toys and take care of them a little better than the others. The DONATE compartment is their choice as well. They choose how and where to give. The INVEST compartment Momma has a lot of control over. They will NOT touch it. It is for their future. When the Compartment gets full we will put it in a savings account of some sort. This is for their futures. Higher education, starting a business, retirement, investment properties, etc. Obviously, I'm thinking looooong term at twenty-five cents a day.
Another thing we're doing right now is Samaritans Purse. Our 4H group is doing it. You fill up a "Shoebox" with things for a child who wouldn't receive a Christmas gift. Children not receiving Christmas gifts is something that really hits the mark with my children. As soon as they hear that there are children that won't be getting Christmas gifts because their parents are trying hard just to feed them and can't afford gifts, they inform me rather vehemently, "Momma, we need to help them!" They start offering to go through their toy boxes and give away some of their toys because in their words, "We have to much." It always brings tears to my eyes because I think they're getting it. They have much to be thankful for and because they are so blessed they need to share.
Here are our "Shoeboxes". I purchased plastic tubs and lids because I figured the family could use them later to keep things water and bug free. Then we filled them with toys, pencils, notebooks, chapstick, etc. I don't know for sure what a complete list of good things to send would be but I figured most any child would enjoy a jump rope, a snuggly teddy bear or some crayons. I also tried to choose bright colorful things. Maybe in hopes to bring some color and cheer to them. You can choose the sex and age of the child your box goes to. So my children are sending theirs to children their age and sex.
There are so many different things we could do to teach our children to be thankful and to give. These are just a few that I'm trying. I'm sure some of you have much better ideas, I'd love to use them if you're willing to share. Perhaps we can raise the next generation up in such a manner to turn our nation around and instead of being a ME society we might once again be what the founders of the country originally started.
One last story that always brings tears to my eyes. Quite some time back I was reading about how children in Haiti were so hungry that they had resorted to making cookies out of dirt and eating them. My heart just sunk. As mother I do my utmost to feed my children healthy food and I put myself in the place of that mother who couldn't even get enough food for her children to eat. The very idea of my children being hungry and me not being able to give them food made me feel ill. My heart ached for those mothers. It must kill them to see their children suffer. I knew I had to do something. So I started seeking answers. First I wanted to make sure it was true and not some propaganda. Unfortunately, it was true. Then I had to find a reliable way to get the money into the right hands that would actually put food in the children's mouths. So many places are to busy paying CEOs that the children you think you are helping aren't getting anything. I found a reliable place. As I was doing all this my son asked me about what I was reading. I explained to him about how some children were so hungry that they were making dirt cookies and eating them. He was aghast. "Momma, we need to feed them!" I agreed but how, they were so far away. "So we'll get in the truck and we'll take food to them." Good thinking but it's to far to drive and there is ocean in the way. He thought for a while and then he hit on it! "Momma, we'll go to the airport and we'll get in an airplane and we'll take them food." Well my heart just swelled to the point that tears flooded my eyes. HE CARES and he won't be stopped, he was going to help those children and hang the road blocks. I let him know that I had found a way to send money and that someone would buy the food there for the children. This would do but I was to be quick about it!!!
Just struggling to raise the next generation In The Middle Of NoWhere