Wednesday, November 26, 2008

mail call

M: Why did they send us that picture of that little boy?  

Me: Well baby, they sent it to us because they want us to give them some money.  The people who wrote that letter run the orphanage where that little boy lives.  

M: Why do they need our money?  

Me: Because it's expensive to do good things for other people but without them that little boy wouldn't have a home.

M: Do we give them money?

Me: We do.  Not as much as I wish we could, but we do. 

M: But not MY money.  

Me: No honey.  Yours is in your piggy bank.  But you can give them some of your money if you want to.

M: But it's MY money.

Me: I know baby.  But the reason we have money is to take care of ourselves and to help others. It's up to you, but I bet if you give some of your money you'll find that you end up with more money later.  That's how life works.  You never know what's around the corner but you can't let that keep you from doing the right thing now.

M: I want to give them some of my money.  She proceeds to open her bank and pour it out.  She walks over and hands me some coins.  Let's send them this.  

Me: Well honey, that's .36.  That's a good start, but if we are going to send them some money it should be enough to buy something they can use.  Your piggy bank has a lot more money in there than that, so why don't you think about it a little more.  In Africa food costs about $1 a day. Maybe we can give them at least a dollar and whatever you decide to give them I will give them too.

She goes off and comes back with a bucketful of coins.  

M: How much is this?  We sit and count.  

Me: That comes to $5.34.  

M: Will that buy them food? I nod. Ok, let's send this.  She hands me the bucket of change. Well, it's kind of hard to give away my money.

Me: I know, honey.  But if we have less other people can have a little more.  This is how you help others and let them know we are all in this together.  We all do what we can.

M: But what about that little boy? I read her the story, people we know run this orphanage so we know it's on the level.  His mommy and daddy died and he's living in a home now with other people who love him.  

M: But not his mommy and daddy?  

Me: No baby.  She sits on the ground and looks forlorn.

M: But that's really sad.  

Me: I know, love.  This is why it's so good you want to help.

M: Maybe when he gets my money he'll know I love him too.

I hope so, baby.  I hope so.  

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KLS said...

What a sweet post!
Someone on a message board had an idea that I am going to try with my daughter. You give a child 3 piggy banks - one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. Then on their birthday or other special occasion, you can give them money to contribute to each of the three banks... What I don't like is that it will mean more stuff in the house, but I do like the lessons you can teach with this idea...

Her Grace said...

It's such a hard lesson they have to learn, isn't it?

We recently started giving my older daughter $5 allowance a week. She has three places she can put it -- in a "save" can, a "give" can, or in her little purse for spending. She consistently puts most of it in the "give" can. It makes me both proud and humbled.

Amy said...

What a kid!

Magpie said...

You are doing a beautiful thing, teaching your child so well.

G said...


pay it forward

and now

M gets an extra

lump of sugar

in her tea

Mad said...

No matter how hard I try, I cannot get my kid to understand this concept. We're currently working on getting a box of her old toys put together to take to the Sally Ann in advance of Christmas.

She doesn't have any money yet, so we have to start somewhere.

Gwen said...

Too sweet.

We got that same letter, but I have to admit my own children were not so generous in their reaction (although they did immediately hang the picture on the fridge).

meno said...


That is so sweet.

kristen said...

i love when you share these conversations with your girl.

crazymumma said...

Its not what we do its what they see us do that seems to matter.

We dropped off a movie tonight at a video/icecream store. After getting younger an icecream and picking up a date square for elder after she had finished her activity.

There was this dude sitting in the corner nursing a coffee. He is a regular on our main street, I asked the cashier if he had already paid and he had. So when we left I went over and asked him if he wanted some cash for a coffee later on.

he accepted. and as we were leaving, younger asked why I was giving him money. And I told her because we were very very lucky people and we were privileged to be able to help someone not so lucky.

and thats what we do. we take care of one and other in this world.

she said. oooh yeeeaaahhh. all long and drawn out.

It starts to seep in. They get it.

and thru them this world will hopefully be a little bit kinder.

Love that girl of yours.

hele said...

Maybe she can send the little boy a letter?

Kelley said...

Oh sweet baby girl.

I could just smother her in kisses, that is so lovely.

Tabba said...

we got the picture from Open Arms yesterday.
Gracie was so engrossed with the picture and the bookmarks...her wheels are turning & I'm waiting...

wonderful post!

painted maypole said...

if only everyone had parents like you... and children like M...

I'm crying here...

Expatriate Chef said...


I am trying to teach these things too. Have been eyeing a piggy bank that is marked "Save, Spend, Donate, Invest." Invest might be a new concept, but the donate and save would be good lessons.

Best to you.

Christine said...

your sweet baby gets it, yes she does.

mad--it is a very hard concept to get for little children, my girl (7) is extremely generous and good at charity giving. my son (4) not so good, but i know he will get it as it is a big part of our family value system.

(open arms? we got that mailing, too..)

Ally said...

Sweet girl. "It's hard to give away my money." She speaks the truth, but made such a good choice here. I love how you talked her through this, being honest and giving her the information she needed without pressuring her.

bgirl said...