No, I am not crazy.
I am beyond excited to share this post with you all. To make a long story shorter, I stumbled onto a soul sister last week through a random facebook feed. As soon as I read up on Courtney Christenson, her book, website and pretty much anything I could find (yes, I stalked her online), I realized that we were pretty much living crazy parallel lives on opposite sides of the continent (hello… photographers, mothers of girls, adventurers, travel junkies, social justice advocates, homeschooled, and more folks… cool and somewhat creepy) and that we just had to connect. And after our 1.5 hour Skype “chat” today, it is confirmed. I do believe we have an insta-friendship.:)
Being a mother of three young girls myself, I have struggled with ways to bring up conversations about poverty, injustice, slavery etc. with my young ones. A Heart That Cares is a beautiful, simple resource that actually helps crack that door open and helps our young ones to start imagining a world beyond their own. The simple story is engaging and fun (it rhymes) and the artwork is fantastic. I downloaded the iBook version today and I cannot wait to sit down with the girls and read it tonight.
Because the central story of the book is about child sponsorship, I felt it was a perfect wrap up to this month’s Do A Little Good Campaign and my Compassion International blog posts. In celebration, I am giving away a signed copy of the book that Courtney graciously sent me.
1. Share this post to your Facebook page. Link back here so I can see it. (1 entry)
2. Comment on this post and tell me something new you learned about child sponsorship as a result of this month’s campaign. (1 entry)
I will choose the winner on Friday so get sharing and commenting! If you know of someone with small children, this is a PERFECT resource and giveaway to share with them!
I have asked Courtney to share with us some creative ways to broach the difficult subject of poverty with our very sheltered, but potentially compassionate children.
How and Why to Talk to Your Preschoolers About Poverty: by Courtney Christenson
Here’s the thing: Poverty is not a pleasant subject. Nor is it typically part of our everyday life in the US. Which is why it’s not a subject we usually discuss with our preschoolers.
As a result, most of our children think that their life is “normal”…That everyone in the world has a fridge stocked with food, shoes that fit, a jacket when it’s cold and clean water pouring out of a spout for them to drink. My kids think that having a Costco container of fishies on hand at all times is a basic human right!
Truth is, all of those things are terribly rare. And we are incredibly blessed. So how do we communicate those two concepts to our children?
Four practical ways to help you talk to your preschoolers about poverty:
1. Start the conversation
This is easier said that done because there are very few natural segways to poverty in preschool conversations. This is where a resource like “A Heart That Cares” comes in. It is a children’s book that was created as a tool to help parents teach their kids gratitude for their blessings and compassion for those in need while empowering them to make a difference. It’s the perfect way to start this conversation. (Amazon link for book: http://www.amazon.com/
2. Use examples that are meaningful to them
Preschoolers don’t need to know about starvation or disease, but if you give them an example of something they feel blessed to have (say, a favorite toy or food) and explain that not everyone has the opportunity to have something like that, it is usually enough to stir their little hearts to gratitude and compassion.
3. Humanize the problem
Instead of presenting the idea that “people” out “there” don’t have the things they need, personalize the problem for your kids. Give them a face and a name that they can get to know, love and minister to. Child sponsorship or a micro-loan program are two great ways to do that.
4. Have a specific way for them to help the situation
Kids have the same question we do when faced with a problem that stirs their heart: “What can we do about it?” So before you start the conversation, have a plan! For ideas and inspiration for how your kids can make a difference, check out Growing Global Kids (http://growingglobalkids.com/
Child sponsorship is a great way to accomplish all four steps in a single action. My kids have had a relationship with our sponsor child, Abraham, for 4 years now. Getting to know him and learning about his life has helped my kids understand the fact that not everyone has what they need…but that there is something tangible we can do about it. They have learned to recognize their blessings, to give those blessings away and to love someone whose life is different from theirs.
These are all SMALL things. But preschoolers are SMALL people. As they grow, so will their impact. But now is the time to plant the seed.
For more information about child sponsorship, or for recommended sponsorship organizations, please visit GrowingGlobalKids.com.