Several years ago, my wonderful aunt came up with a gift idea for my children’s birthdays. We had been discussing consumerism and how our house was becoming overwhelmed with toys that were rarely played with. She wanted to do something special for the kids and suggested that we allow them to choose a charity each year and she would make a donation in their honor.
It has been 3 years now, and I have to report that we’ve been so pleased with how the kids have taken to the idea. It’s become a birthday tradition, something we begin to discuss as each birthday draws near. My sons are pretty young, 3 and 6, so we help them make their choices. We talk about different areas that charities can focus on and choose a basic theme. Then I find charities online that may be of interest and tell them about the work each does so they can make their choice.
My youngest son turned one the year we started, so we chose a charity that helped children. Now he is very interested in birds, so that has been the theme he’s chosen since. My oldest was interested in helping giraffes the first year. Last year he decided he wanted to help people who needed medicine and to help kids have vitamins like his, so we chose Doctors Without Borders. This year, he wanted to help kids who needed food to eat.
I suggested Ethiopian Orphan Relief and he really liked the idea of helping children who were waiting for families. I love that he is learning to think of others and getting the chance to feel more connected to the world beyond our yard. I’m glad that he wanted to make his donation to such a worthy organization and I’m grateful that he is playing a small part in helping children who are in need.
(Friend to Amy, Joel & Tesfa)