There was one really awesome thing my dad passed onto us growing up. Well, more than one, but I wanted to talk about one today:)
When we were growing up, we always knew that what we had was enough and we were well aware that there were many people in the world who didn’t have enough. He wanted to pass on to us a vision of what the world was really like. By the time I was a teenager, my dad had made it in the business world, but honestly, I remember hearing about helping others long before we really had what most people would consider enough to start giving away. When my dad was still asking the church to pray for specific cars to sell, he and our pastor were drawing plans for an orphanage in the Philippines on the church walls in permanent marker. When I was 12, I was in the Philippines meeting street children, visiting people in cardboard houses, and just generally learning that a lot of the world didn’t have it the same way we did. In my teen years we traveled a lot and I was very blessed to have that first hand view of the world. We did some of the touristy things, like travel Europe for two weeks and go to resorts, but my parents also sent me to Africa for a month when I was 16. All this to say that I grew up with a deep conviction that I am required to look at the world around me and try to make a difference. Even if just a small one. Not just because I’m Canadian, not just when I have extra money, but mostly because I’m a Christian and pure religion is taking care of orphans and widows.
I’m trying really hard to have my children grow up the same way. My husband and I are planning to take them to the Philippines and show them them the orphanage where we met and worked. We want them to travel, we talk about the state of other children in the world and the need for Christ and practical manifestations of His love.
The way I grew up didn’t just rub off on me and I’m getting some help in this department from my brother! A few years ago he decided that he wanted to help his nieces and nephew start to develop a love for others and the realization that they can help the world. So he started giving them some of the coolest Christmas presents ever. Each year now he gives them a World Vision gift card. He maintains his awesome uncle status by also asking what their wish list is and still giving them another gift:) But we get these gift cards. The kids now look forward to them and we plan a day when we can take our time to redeem them. We look through the catalogue and talk about how the gifts are useful, how they make a difference to the families who receive them. We talk about the usefulness of pigs and chickens and moringa trees. We look at clean water, mosquito nets and warm blankets. And this day opens up discussions on poverty, missionaries, world views, and so many important issues. Its just one day a year, but its become a tradition that the kids love and that I’m thankful for. I think in this age of iPods being considered a necessity, its even more important that we take the time to teach our children that the rest of the world doesn’t all live like us. That there are people out there who need Christ and that we need to share the Gospel through our words and tracts and Bibles and missionaries but also through orphanages and rice and warm clothes.