The Quest of a Parent: a Charitable Child
I'm on a quest. Actually, my husband and I are on a journey, an adventurous expedition, in search of something grand. That journey began when our two boys, now 7 and 1 1/2, were born. It progressed by leaps and bounds today. With a gift of less than a dollar.
I want my boys to have charity. I want them to have a heartfelt desire to help others. I want them to reap the benefits of such service. Today, we donated some food and money to a local nonprofit organization. I had wanted to take my 7-year-old with me to volunteer at a soup kitchen, so that he could see the reality of hunger and appreciate the 3 squares he gets each day. But the one near us required all volunteers to be at least 12 years of age. So I chose a charity closer to home - the Family Support Center - whose mission is the prevention of child abuse. This is a cause I feel strongly about supporting. I felt it would be good to expose him to the reality that other kids aren't treated as well as he is. I had bought and set aside a few extra groceries after my most recent shopping trip. I told him where we were going and who we were going to help, and told him he could contribute as well, but it wasn't required. Then I gathered up my wallet, the groceries, and the boys, and off we went.
As we approached the door of the Center, I noticed with pride my son rubbing a quarter, a dime, and a nickel in his nervous little hand. It took all of 10 minutes to drop our donations off, to much appreciation. I saw with humor him skipping down the sidewalk as we left, imagining aloud that some poor child was literally going to get his 40 cents and feel rich.
As parents of two young boys, we want them to:
- be aware that not everyone is as as blessed as they are
- know that giving opportunities are easy to find
- feel that sense of pure happiness that can only come from seeing a smile on the face of someone you've helped. I have been on both the giving and receiving end of that smile. There aren't words to describe the gratitude I felt when me and my family received our whole Christmas from some anonymous donors one year. Neither are there words for the happiness I felt when, some years down the road, I helped give an entire Christmas to another family.
So, that is our quest: to make it possible for our sons to feel happiness from giving. Is it ambitious? Maybe. Will it be a journey, as opposed to a quick overnighter? Most definitely. But we'll get there - 40 cents at a time.