Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Parenting is Tough

We had one of those moments last night where Mr. ESPN and I felt like we were failing as parents.  I know my kids are young but you try to instill values and morals in them at a young age.  For the most part I think they get it but then last night I was snapped back to reality.  Chatty's school sent home a note.  It said the first grade teachers had decided to adopt three boys from our district for the holidays.  They were asking for donations from the families and encouraging us to have our kids donate their own money (or do chores to earn money to donate) so they could experience the meaning of the holiday.  I thought this was a great idea and thought Chatty would excited to contribute. 

We donate toys and clothes all the time and we discuss why we do it.  We also contribute to the offering at church and talk about who it helps.  Last Sunday we purchased items for some families our church "adopted" for Christmas.  As we picked out the stuff we explained to Chatty and Bia who it was for and why we were buying it.

So I went in Chatty's room and talked to her about the note the teachers sent home.  We emptied her piggy bank (girl has some serious cash) and talked about how if all of the first graders donated a little bit of their own money these three boys could have a wonderful Christmas.  Reluctantly she agreed to donate $6 (mind you she never has to spend her own money on anything ... maybe that is part of the problem).  So we put the money in the envelope to send to school.  When I went to tuck her in bed I noticed she was teary eyed.  I asked her what was wrong and she said "I don't want to give away my money" and starts crying.  I was shocked and mad and disappointed, but what could I say?  We talked about the meaning of Christmas - Jesus' birth - and what God teaches us - to be kind and helpful to others, etc.  She seems to get all of these concepts but then she says to me - "I don't get anything back from giving them my money."  WOW!  I tried to explain the feeling of helping others and doing what God teaches in the Bible is your reward, however that is a hard concept for a 6 year old.  After we talked more about it I told her if she didn't want to give her own money to help these boys she didn't have to, but that I would be disappointed because Mr. ESPN have tried to set a good example of helping others.  Yes I did give her a bit of a guilt trip but I wanted her to know it was her decision to make.

When I went in the kitchen I told Mr. ESPN about the discussion Chatty and I had.  He was frustrated and said we need to find a way for the girls to really see how blessed they are.  We would like them to see in person how many others in our community do not have much.  Unfortunately a lot of the programs I know about require you to be older than 6 to participate.  I am going to contact our church's Children's Ministry Director and see if she knows of any opportunities (a group of us were discussing this very thing a few weeks ago at church). 

Let me know if you know of any organizations that might work for us.


Allyson and Dave said...

I think this is something she will learn with time. Maybe she can have 2 piggy banks. One for her money and one for the kids who don't have anything. Then from the start she knows which money she keeps. On a positive note at least she is a saver. So many people nowadays spend every penny as soon as they get it.

Dee Stephens said...

WOW! She is only 6-years old so consider that.
Don't feel like a failure as a parent because at least you all are concerned with teaching them what's right.
I'll do some research though and see what I can come up with. There has to be something.
Get this.. my best friend says her 8-year old is always using her own money to buy her cousins and grandparents gifts. I couldn't believe it..she has done this for years on her own.
I think it's rare.Maybe I'm wrong?

starnes family said...

This is a hard concept. My favorite thing to do each year with kids is Samaritan's Purse......Operation Christmas Child. Look into that for next year. It's over now.

We try every year, regardless of age, to work on charitable giving. It's difficult. You're doing a great job!

Brooke said...

I don't have kids (obviously), but I could see how giving could be a difficult concept to grasp at her age. She has no idea what it takes to feed, clothe, and house oneself. I'm sure she doesn't mean to be un-generous. I think finding a service-type project for her would be a great idea so she can see how blessed her family really is. It might also be a good idea to start with an allowance, and she'll have to use allowance money for certain things so she can see a bit of how much you and Mr. ESPN provide for her. All hope is not lost, she has a good heart.

Sara said...

You guys are wonderful parents to even begin teaching this giving spirit at such a young age. Kudos to y'all!!
Chatty will get it. Just give her some time. And like you said - try to get her involved in an organization so she can see first hand who she's helping.

The Lenzers said...

It has hard, Connor doesn't get it either. But I do think they are a bit too young. I think everything you are doing is right. Maybe you can have her start giving some of her money in the offering at church, even just a quarter.

Sassafrass Jane said...

You're such a good momma, C. Don't sweat it, kids are tough on this concept. Even Sophia, at 9, doesn't completely understand. And hell, I feel that way sometimes, too. "I'm not getting anything out of this!" But it takes time, and maturity, and she'll get there. Hang in there- and know you're doing a fabulous job! She'll thank you someday :)

The Soladay Family said...

Ditto what everyone said. The fact that you're teaching your children the importance of charity says a whole to begin with. Children always come around to what they were taught.