Something that is very important to me is being humble and being charitable. I want to raise my son to give within his means, think of others, understand the importance of giving and to be grateful for everything he has and opportunities we get to experience.
About a month ago we (my son also brought along his two BFFs) did The Compassion Experience. We visited a mock up African village and listened to a true story in hopes of learning about their way of life and coming away with a greater gratitude for how blessed we are. Finding a reason to be thankful for every day things and an appreciation for the fact that everyone in the world does not live as we do here.
After a good discussion following the event, I challenged the boys to a ‘Shoebox Challenge’ (I chose Samaritan’s Purse). The goal was to put together ‘gifts’ to send to overseas for Christmas. Gifts differ in what kids here typically ask for, where in this case things like a toothbrush or a toy ball are a luxury. Through the experience they learned this through listening, observing and discussing after the fact.
For a month they have been pondering and eager to think of things that they could send. They were given/accumulated a $100 to spend and decided to create a shoebox for both a boy and girl. Originally the goal was one shoebox, but they were eager and contributed individually as well as family members donations, so they decided on two. Tonight they worked together to make selections based on their experience of what they felt was important. I only intervened to remind them to look at their best pricepoints when choosing a product such as a toothbrush or to get them thinking by asking if they thought things such as a small hand snow shovel or video game would be good selections. Turns out both are not 😉
Coming in at $92 (plus we add $10 each box to ship), they did a fantastic job working together. They had fun and I think they learned a little more compassion, empathy, gratitude, and understood that we already have a lot and enough. They also saw that the money doesn’t really get them a lot but would be so much to someone who has little to none. They already think we should do this next year. I’m so proud of them for today and everything they’ve learned and continued to talk about since our African village experience. It was definitely 30 minutes (the experience) that has made them more aware and was everything I could have dreamed they would come away with. It touched them deep down. To add on and share this 90 minute shopping experience with his friends is even better. I think they all will be that much more motivated to give together and will think of others more often being on the same page, even those around us locally.
While we are doing our best to raise compassionate and caring children, we can all be reminded that we all have something to be grateful for, even if it’s soap.