"Mom, Johnny's going to Legoland this weekend! We've only been to Disneyland. When can we go to Legoland?"
Ahhhh! (that's a scream of frustration) Do you ever find yourself desperately wanting to give your children a dose of perspective on how privileged their lives are? Do you ever feel at a loss for how to help them see how good they have it? I certainly do. Today I'm sharing two ideas to help turn your kids' gaze off of themselves and onto others, into the world.
First, sponsor a child. I know many people who have done this for years; my family just started and I'm really excited about it. We're still waiting to receive our packet with a photo of Juan Carlos, the 9-year-old boy at the Garden of Love & Hope Orphanage in Honduras who we are now supporting. It costs $35 a month to provide for his basic needs. The biggest privilege of all is that we know a woman who works at the orphanage, and plans are underway for my husband and oldest child (age 9) to visit the orphanage next year. Good thing my son and Juan Carlos speak the same language: soccer! We gathered up our lightly-used soccer jerseys from previous seasons and have sent them to Juan Carlos and his buddies at the orphanage.
Second, start a neighborhood house-sitting business. At the beginning of the summer, an idea hit me. I looked at the calendar and counted 6 long weeks until our summer trip to the east coast to visit family; I looked at my children, who are always asking about ways to make money; I looked around my neighborhood and saw lots of homes; and then it hit me: let's start a house-sitting and pet care business! I gathered my children, pitched the idea, and soon we were off and running. We put together a flyer (pictured below), they dressed in "uniform" (the one identical outfit they have), and we set off around the block, knocking on the door of every house on both sides of the street. Early evening was the perfect time to do this—someone opened the door at nearly every home. Mind you, this was incredibly out of my comfort zone and caught many of our neighbors off-guard, but it was so rewarding! Neighbors were warmed by the old-fashioned idea of neighborhood kids taking care of their property when they are out of town, and we have received quite a bit of business with repeat clients.
And now for the intersection of these two ideas: 25% of the earnings from the house-sitting business go towards sponsoring Juan Carlos. Through these two experiences, my children are learning about work ethic, responsibility, giving, kindness, and gratitude. My hope is that these lessons truly penetrate their souls and shape the men they are becoming.
Some organizations where you can sponsor a child: