Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gaining a Global Perspective

It would be an understatement to say I have been impressed by how my friend Kristi has fostered in her children a global perspective. Right now her two oldest girls (they are 10 and 8 right now, I believe) are raising chickens and using the money they get from selling eggs to support missionaries in India. And they are growing organic vegetables and using the money they get from the sales of those to support missionaries in Asia. Just think of that... these girls are WORKING THEIR TAILS OFF and with the money they are raking in they are NOT dreaming of the next super-dee-duper thing they want to buy. They are enthusiastic about giving it away.

Our entire family is so extremely far away from that perspective. And I don't see it getting any better on its own. As an example, Jackson just recently made the connection between the little coins he gets and purchasing Hot Wheels (and it was my doing...I took him to the store and showed him how the whole free market works). He is now obsessed with earning enough (a whole dollar!) to buy the next one. And I know the drill. As soon as that one is purchased, the thrill of it is gone and he wants another one. Why? Because material things will never satisfy, of course.

I have always felt a bit discouraged at the thought of getting to the place where Kristi has gotten because I cannot imagine how I could get my kids to think that way. No, wait a second. Yes, I CAN imagine a way. I just don't know if it will work.

As a method of encouragement for other moms in my shoes, I am going to chronicle my journey towards giving my children a love-burden for the lost world. As with so many things, this is not a sprint but a marathon. You can't do anything in a rocket-ship fashion and expect the propulsion to last. So I am starting by collecting ideas of ways kids can help. I am on the hunt for hands-on, experiential, show the kids a bigger perspective opportunities. I want them to fall in love with the idea of helping. It seems like this is at least a two-pronged first step:
  • first expose them to needs through conversation, books, maybe an Internet video or two.
  • second, get them to see that these people are helped by other people doing something.
I don't want them to be forced or manipulated into giving up their cold, hard-earned cash. That seems like it will cause resentment and in the long run will not accomplish a love for the world...maybe at best it would accomplish a guilt in their heart. God gives us the opportunity to experience guilt, and that is OK, but my suspicion is that it is PASSION and LOVE that will be a stronger motivator.

So, off I go. Like I said, I will update you on how the marathon is going, and hopefully provide enough information and encouragement for you to take similar steps for your kids, if and when you tackle this "giant."


Ginger said...

Great post Jenne! I too want my kids to know that we live in the 'disneyland' of the world, and I want them to have true giving hearts and an accurate world view. In the GS newsletter Joy and Dave Forney had an article addressing this issue of raising mission-minded kids. You should check it out. One thing they mentioned, and that my parents did was reading missionary biographies. I had totally forgotten about that, but intend to do that with my kiddos too. You're so right too, it's a marathon and not a sprint!!! Love you and praying for you.

Pate Family said...

We have been talking about this at our house also! We are in the process of picking a child for each of the kids to sponsor through Compassion. Our thinking is that gives them a child to pray for and think about. We are planning on paying the fees, but having the kids earn money for the (I think) three times a year you can send extra money to them for special gifts. Our kids ALWAYS want to sell stuff so I'm going to let them do a lemonaid stand for this purpose, and Ainsley wants to make flyers (because advertising flyers are really important to her!) to tell people how they could sponsor a child also. The Compassion site is great because you can pick a child by age, gender, and country and see their picture right then. Anyway- I'll let you know how it is going. Give me more ideas please!

jon and erin said...

My parents had us take an angel tree child and it was our responsibility to get them a gift with OUR money. As a family we also put our money together and got all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal and gave it to a family that needed it. It might not be as big a deal to others but it was to us. At least it was a start right?

Megan said...

I tagged ya.