Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Teaching to give

For the last four years we have insisted that people not bring presents for our offspring's birthday party. Instead we ask that folks bring non-perishable food items that we can donate to the local women's shelter. It is a highly secure location and I worked hard to earn their trust because the women that make it there do so under terrible circumstances. Most of them end up living in the home for quite a while with their children.

This year being the fifth birthday we really insisted on no presents. I figured he was old enough to have some things explained to him. But only two people took that seriously. Some folks at least did not bring presents, but brought greeting cards (which were such a hit) and gift cards, which could also be donated. So in addition to the food that friends brought, we bought some more and took it to the home yesterday along with the gift cards. I called ahead and requested that they acknowledge the little monkey for his efforts because it was being done in honour of his birthday. I know he still hasn't quite understood what we did because, when we had dropped the food off he said, "now do we have to go sell more food?" I tried explaining the difference between selling and donating and so did the counselor. I don't think he got it. Next time I should not take him after school when he is hungry and tired. He just wanted to leave.

My darling still thinks that if we have no food at home we can buy it. Someday soon he will understand how the world works, because the biggest problem in the so called first world is that poverty is invisible. Poverty as we have come to know it is what exists in the third world. The fact that there are five children my baby's age at the home breaks my heart. I had put away socks that some folks bought our guy because they were all much too small for him and when the counselor said they needed socks I was thrilled. I was not sure who to pass it on to because everyone we know can afford to provide for their children.

We are so big on giving, but I believe we need to rethink that. What are we giving and to whom? Are we giving people what they need? Because sometimes my friends just need a hug, a home cooked meal, a good laugh and or a good long cry. None of which we can put a price on. It is nice to have the things you want, but we need to watch our wants or they will consume the spirit. Argue that with me!

What if we put aside five dollars every time we did our grocery shopping? That would add up to a significant amount that we can put towards food banks. January and February are tough times at food banks and this is a good time to think about it and begin donating. You can find more information here. If you are not able to help at least talk about it because someone who can will hear you.

In case you are wondering if our baby gets birthday presents, of course he does. From mom and dad. He's been told mom and dad can get him what he 'needs' and every now and then we will indulge his wants ;).

No comments: