I remember when I was young, whenever a natural disaster happened in the world, my parents would put a mug on the shelf and say, "Whatever you kids want to put in that mug to donate, we will match that amount." That gave us such a sense of power. Whatever we put in was going to be doubled! Knowing that our actions had an impact on those in need felt like having a real super power. We were small but could still make a difference in the world.
Now that we have kids I want to give them that same feeling, that feeling of knowing you have the power to help others. I want them to have the desire to help others, not just because it is the right thing to do but because they feel the need and want to do it deep down.
Last spring our girls participated in a Trike-a-Thon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I have to take a moment to share this quote from their website, "Thanks to donors, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything. Care, housing, transportation, meals—the list of services we provide to our families is unequalled." Wow! What an amazing thing to provide free care to families!
We sponsored our kids but because we were dealing with money (versus items) it was very abstract for them. They don't understand the worth of money or the power of it... not yet anyway. We'll continue to do the Trike-a-Thon each year and each year it will be more meaningful to them.
Because I was still wanting to come up with something that my young kids could really own and understand right now, I came up with the "Giving Bee."
We receive the Heifer International catalog in the mail. Heifer International is an organization that allows individuals to purchase animals (among other things) for families in developing countries so that they can financially benefit from owning these animals. Instead of giving people food, they give them something to make money as well as provide food for their own family.
Here is an example from their website:
"FLOCK OF CHICKS CHANGES LIVES
Your gift of a flock of chickens gift donation helps provide a family in need with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks, along with the training that will empower them to turn your donation into a lifetime of opportunity. Each flock of chicks:
- Provides eggs and protein for nourishment
- Boosts income through sales of extra eggs and offspring
- Ensures security for generations through Passing on the Gift
A gift that keeps on giving.
I think this is a very neat concept and as I was flipping through I saw that honeybees are something that can be purchased.
I read the section on honeybees:
"HONEYBEES SWEETEN A FAMILY'S FINANCIAL FUTURE
A Heifer honeybee gift donation includes a bee package, hive, box and training in beekeeping techniques. When you buy bees for a family in need, your gift:
- Boosts income through sales of honey, wax and pollen
- Stimulates growth of the family’s crops through pollination
There are so many benefits to having more honeybees in the world. Also, since many honeybees are tragically dying I thought it would be a perfect thing to purchase. It benefits the family, benefits the world and will add to the shrinking honeybee population.
Honeybees for a family are 30 dollars in the Heifer International catalog.
To make the Giving Bee poster: I made a very symbolic picture of a hive (Winnie the Pooh style). I then traced and cut out 30 circles. The girls drew the lines and colored the yellow on the circles to represent the bees (and the 30 dollars it takes to purchase the bees). The circles have rolls of tape on the back so they stick to the poster. Note: I did not laminate the poster. It would be a smart idea to do as ours is ripping a little when we move the bees from the edge of the poster to the hive. Also, it can be used each year if laminated.
We hung this "Giving Bee" poster on the fridge.
I told our kids who the bees will be for and I explained that they will get to put a bee on the hive for every "random" good deed they do. As Romper Room called it, be a "good do-bee." If I see someone helping out without being asked etc. they will earn a bee for the hive.
Once they have earned all 30 bees, my husband and I will give the 30 dollars towards buying the bees for a family in need. It is a win win situation. A family (and our planet) get honeybees and our kids are given the power to help others in a way that has a big impact.
Today is #GivingTuesday!
What are some of the ways that you teach your kids about giving?