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.