As a mom it is so important to show our kids the world and help them develop empathy. For only $1 a day you can support a child with Compassion International. Give your kids the world and change the life of a child. Julie has been compensated by Compassion International for sharing this information with you, but all opinions and experiences are her own.
Just like that.
A snap of the fingers of Father Time and it turns out I’ve been parenting now for almost 28 years.
How is that even possible? Because I’m pretty sure I just graduated from high school and I’m very sure I haven’t figured out the full complement of all things adulting.
But here we are.
And so, as I edge ever closer to calendar designations that take me into the sage season of life, I understandably get questions.
Questions from people about to become parents. Inquiries from people who aren’t sure they ever want to be parents. Folks who are in the depths of parenting and for whom it seems a never-ending crazy carnival house of endless loops and distorting mirrors.
I find myself considering and fielding one area in particular these days. We want to give our kids everything, right? Every opportunity, every advantage. Every victory, every ‘it’ item at Christmas, everything that will help them fit in and make them stand out and buffer any sense of inadequacy or rejection. We attempt to do this through material possessions and by taking a fine tooth comb to whatever playing field they’re wanting to enter, be it educational or societal or athletic or spiritual.
We’re not wrong for wanting everything for them. Balanced well, it can be one of the great joys of parenting, this intense focus on the acceleration of another person’s purpose and launch. But there’s another side to it all, and it’s the one I find myself having numerous parenting conversations about these days.
It’s a real thing. It’s not a passing phase. Somehow, over the last few decades of parenting, we’ve made kids the center of everything. Every vacation. Every holiday. Every conversation. And while all we’ve wanted to do is help our kids feel special and loved and prioritized, we’ve managed to isolate them from the realities of most kids in the world.
We’ve allowed them to feel that the blessings and privileges they’ve had being raised in a democratic country with first world economics is somehow the norm. Their birthright.
When it’s not.
Over one billion children in the world today live at the worst levels of poverty. Think about that number for a minute. Over one billion. It’s hard for me to get my mind around. In the center of a moment I’m complaining about the cost of dance costumes and college tuition, there are children without breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Kids who are going to sleep tonight with painful medical issues for which there is no relief. Babies playing in structures cobbled together from shards of cast-off metal siding and cardboard.
If I don’t make my kids aware of the realities of most of the world, then how can I be shocked when they show up as entitled teenagers with no sense of budget and gratitude? Why should I be surprised when they feel like having to earn money for a new video game system feels like climbing Everest? How can I be astonished if I’ve made them unaware?
Yes. Made them unaware.
It’s a thing.
Made them unaware by overprotecting, over-resourcing, overlooking. Overlooking the opportunities that can pull us back into balance in our perspectives of blessings and the responsibility to share generously.
If I want to give my kids the world, then I have to be honest about that world. Its beauties. And its realities.
So I gave my kids yet one more thing. Pushed my budget just a bit more to provide one more thing that would give them the world. In a truer aspect than that idiom we throw around.
We began sponsoring a little boy in Uganda through Compassion International. He’s got the same birthday month as one of my kiddos and he was born in 2011, making him the ‘baby’ of our family experience. He sends us pictures he’s drawn. Through Compassion, he’s able to send us letters, letting us know about his family and how school is going, and what his favorite things are. His picture hangs on our fridge, alongside the certificates and schedules and artwork of my kids. We’ve sent a family picture to him. We’ve written to him. We’re connecting hearts across on ocean and we’re intentionally intersecting our lives.
When we began sponsoring, I patted myself on the back for giving up a few special coffee drinks a month to make a difference. I congratulated myself on being a humanitarian human.
I had it all backwards.
It’s what he’s giving us. It’s how he’s made me a better mom to my kids. Because he’s shown us, reminded us, opened up the world. The joy that can be had in the poorest of places. The abundance of life that can thrive with the smallest gift. That way that generosity can miraculously multiply, from the resourcing of one little boy’s life that ultimately expands to creating a stronger community.
Moms and dads, as we wrestle this thing called entitlement, I want to challenge you to give your kids one more thing. The one thing that combats a preening, naive sense of privilege and prepares the next generation to live freer from materialism and self-absorption. Give your kids the gift of sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Engage them in the process. Talk about what small thing you could give up at just around a dollar a day that could make a huge difference in the life of someone else. Have them write to your Compassion child. Put that photo on your fridge. Pray as a family for that child.
It’s one of the greatest things you can do for a child in need.
Whether that need is for food, education, and hope.
Or if that need for a bigger understanding of the practice of kindness and altruism and the global condition.
Every child benefits when a Compassion kid finds a sponsor.
Begin your journey today by sponsoring a child! There are currently 3 children in the same village in Uganda as the boy I sponsor. Would you join me as we work toward getting his entire village sponsored? Today is the day to make it happen!