The title of this blog I realize is a cliche. People always have catchy titles and phrases for the different days of the week to draw attention to their posts. This title is sincere.
Our son is 5. He is an only child. He is smart, creative, resourceful, independent, strong-willed, giving & selfish at the same time, and athletic. His birthday was in November with Christmas just weeks after. He is accustomed to receiving a lot of gifts (not from us) from aunts, uncles, cousins, etc who adore him primarily because everyone else’s children are grown, gone, and don’t care! I do not like to use the term “spoiled” to describe children, but our son is somewhere in that category of privileged.
Being a social worker and educator and haven been raised the way I was (all social justice-y and action-oriented), I have tried to explain to him the plight of vulnerable people with less than enough resources. This usually happens when we are sitting at a particular red light where there is usually a man with a sign asking for money. My son always asks about that man (or whomever is standing out there). I usually over-explain. My husband rolls his eyes. My sons sighs. I am disappointed. He has gone with us to serve food to the hungry, donate toys to the needy, is very aware of racial injustice, asks what the news anchor is talking about, etc., etc., etc.
“Maybe he is too young to get it” I often think, always searching for an appropriate book (that I should probably write) or opportunity to show/explain appropriate & effective giving. Then today in the mail this arrived
YAY! What a way for us to start 2016 explaining to our son about those who need something he has – the ability to run and play sports without hindrance – he gets that!. He LOVES sports and anything vaguely athletic. He was 3 years old reciting the names of countries, recognizing their flags because of the Men’s World Cup Soccer tournament in 2014! I have a chance to help our son truly understand giving. I think he’ll get it.
How do you explain need, poverty, vulnerability, disability, etc to your children? How do you get your children to participate in giving?