I view teaching kids compassion for others as an essential part of my role as a parent. I want my kids to grow up to be compassionate, empathic, generous people just as much, if not more, as I want them to be book smart. The kids give daily to their tzedakah boxes, make charity part of their weekly allowance and we read books to teach about empathy, but nothing takes the place of conversation and action.
I had originally scheduled a gift guide post today but was having a difficult time pressing "publish" after the conversation I had about Super Typhoon Haiyan with my kids at the breakfast table.
I asked Kiddo (8 years old) if he knew what a super typhoon was and what kind of effect it would have on an island. The conversation progressed from there and eventually I asked, "If we can't go to the Philippines, what can we do to help the people who are hurt?"
He went to his give jar and said he had seven dollars he could send to the doctors helping the kids. At this point I felt a bit embarrassed because I had to tell him he really had $30 since I had borrowed money from it when I had no cash in my wallet. (hides) He decided to donate all of it, "because so many people got hurt."
At this point my heart was swelling. Not just because it has been so very, very heavy for the people in the Philippines but because so often I forget to look beyond the day to day frustrations of parenting (especially that fact that my kids seem to be spending most of their time bickering with one another) that I don't realize yes, yes, my children are also learning compassion and how to be good human beings.
Before he left for school we looked online at the Charity Navigator website for organization suggestions. He chose Oxfam America and we pledged his money, plus additional funds from my husband and me. After that my husband took the boys to school.
I suppose this post may seem trivial to some. What is my son's donation but a drop -- a quarter of a drop, really -- in the proverbial bucket? There is so much need in the world, and here I am, blogging about gift guides. The juxtaposition is ridiculous.
Have you talked to your kids about Haiyan and The Philippines? What was their response?
*Image courtesy of NASA via Wikipedia