The two most popular strategies for connecting Western Christian families with global causes are adoption and shoe boxes. It’s probably safe to say that millions are participating in these efforts pioneered by very large and well known agencies. For the most part, these are adult initiated and adult driven enterprises.
A young mom told me that she and her two girls had added a little girl in Mexico City to their roster of ’adopted’ children, the first two being a pair in India. I asked, “Have your girls bought into this?” She gave me a knowing look and explained that they have.
If we in affluent cultures today move very little around in our financial management to send off a monthly check, or shop annually to fill a large shoebox, that is still an admirable, caring gesture. It demonstrates concern for a needy person or community outside our own closely regulated circle of influence. If, however, we get creative and find ways to engage our own children in these humanitarian ventures – global or local – we do even better.
Here’s my advice to those who have yet to make a commitment of this kind:
- Make it a prayer-based decision.
- Help your kids to understand the why and how of the process.
- Challenge them to contribute personally to the all-family effort.
- Create a strategy unique to your family that helps them to give beyond money.
- With adoption, especially, bring closure, from time to time. Celebrate!
And by all means, fan the generosity flame in your kids’ hearts, however it shows itself. My teenage granddaughter has a good friend who celebrates her birthday each year with a party for her friends. Nothing unusual about this, but the neat aspect is she has, for years, asked her guests to bring a stuffed toy for a hospitalized child rather than a gift for herself. As far as I know, it began as her own idea and continues to bring her joy and satisfaction, year by year.
Next time, I’ll briefly elaborate on the bullet points above. In the meantime, feel free to share some of the good works you have incorporated into your family life along these lines. Your advice is valuable.
Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matt. 5:15, 16.