Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Charity Talk

One of our goals as parents is to instill the value of generosity in our three children. This is such a tough thing to do in our materialistic and consumer-oriented culture! Thanks to the DVR, they don't see a whole lot of commercials so we don't often get the "Can I have that?" or "Will you buy me that?" questions. And we already do the basics: take the time to talk about what the church does with our monthly tithe money, have the kids write thank-you notes for gifts, etc. But this year, we're taking it even further.

We took the time to talk to Sydney about the earthquake in Haiti and even let her watch the news just so she could see the extent of the devastation. I could tell that the pictures of the hurt and orphaned children really affected her because she asked about them several days later. I wanted her to physically be able to do something to help the orphans so I bought the supplies for each of our kids to put together an UMCOR Health Kit and that seemed to ease her mind a bit.

We've also started her on Dave Ramsey's plan for kids. Every week, she gets a $3 allowance for doing her chores. One dollar goes in her piggy bank for savings. Another one goes in her wallet for spending money. The third dollar goes in a glass jar marked "Charity." At the end of the year, all of the money in the jar will go to a charity of Sydney's choosing.

Thankfully, I think some of what we're doing is sinking in. The other day, she found a dime on the ground and asked me where she should put it; I told her she could put it in any of her three "money zones." She put it in the charity jar because "it's nicer to give to needy people than to buy something for ourselves."

Our next big family project is choosing a monthly charitable donation. I can't decide whether we should support a soldier, "adopt" a child through Save the Children or buy someone a cow through Heifer International. Anyone donate to one of these organizations? Positives? Negatives? Any other suggestions?


  1. We have a portion of Jayme's paycheck go to the United Way. The use it to support various local organizations from Girl Scouts to women's shelters. Every year they do a big campaign and Jayme has been the liasion several times. If I were going to pick another charity for us (which I hope to be able to do someday) I would look for something local again. I like the Heifer International thing but there are so many sick, abused, hungry and neglected people right here where we live, it's kind of hard for me to forget about them. I think what you are doing is great though. Our kids don't get allowances, but we do go through their toys and clothes and donate them regularly. They don't throw such a big fit about a toy they haven't played with in months going to a child who wouldn't have many toys otherwise.

  2. I lke to choose a charity that can account for thier money up front and that most if not all of their contributions received go to the actual cause and not to administration officials. I agree with Fran though, in that there should be several local charities you could research and chose from there.

  3. My husband and I "adopted" a child through Compassion International, and my Mom and sister through Save a Child. We all get letters and drawings etc. from the child and opportunities to write to them. This might be cool for the family because they actually get to do more than just give money...they get to share in their lives too.