The World Vision Gift catalog had been sitting on my desk for weeks.
Last night while I tried to convince my 4 year old Julia to eat more than two bites of her dinner, I decided to turn it into a teaching moment. I told her to wait a moment and I went and retrieved the World Vision Gift catalog from my desk.
With excitement in my voice, I sat her on my lap and said, “Do you want to see something really important?”
“Do you see this little girl? What is she holding?”
“A goat.” Julia softly answered.
“Yes, a goat. Just like Nonno has on his farm in Italy. This little girl lives in an area where they don’t have enough food. So a family like ours sent her a goat so that she would have milk to drink.”
Julia stared at the little girl and didn’t say a word.
“It’s hard to understand… our world is a good place and God is good, but not everyone has the same things. Some people don’t have enough food and other people have lots of food. So we need to share. It’s like when you’re playing with two toys and Sophia doesn’t have one, you need to give one to her. You need to share. It’s just like that. We all need to share so that everyone has enough food.
That’s why it is so important that we don’t waste our food. If we’re careful to not waste our food, that means we have more money to share with others who don’t have enough.
Does that make sense?”
She nodded quietly. And stared a little sadly at her food. I felt badly because I knew that she wasn’t hungry because I’d let her drink a juicebox before dinner and it had ruined her appetite. I reminded her that we needed to not drink juiceboxes before dinner.
I opened the gift catalog and explained…
“So this catalog shows us different gifts that we can send to other little girls and boys who don’t have enough food and money for all the things they need. We can look through and you can pick what gift you’d like to send.”
We looked at the pictures of goats and chickens and bunnies and I was certain that Julia would latch on to one of those gift ideas. But as we turned the pages, there was a picture of a boy playing soccer and I said we could send them soccer balls.
Julia looked at the picture of the boy and saw he had no shoes. She looked at me and send, “We could send him SHOES!!!”
I hugged her tight and said that’s a great idea. On the opposite page was the option of sending Warm Clothes and footwear to impoverished children and families in Georgia, Romania, Armenia, Mongolia and other countries.
I showed Julia that it said we could send shoes. And we could send enough for 50 children. She looked at me in shock when I told her that was twice as many children that were in her preschool class.
(And actually because of donations from North American companies, a gift of $70 is multiplied 5X. So instead of our gift providing warm clothing and footwear for 50 children it helps 250 children!!!)
I then took 2 year old Sophia on my lap and showed her the animals in the catalog and asked her which gift she wanted to send. As you might imagine, she didn’t quite understand the idea, but said yes to the goat — which was my personal choice.
Julia looked at me and said, “But only one little girl will get a goat?”
Our harsh and unfair world is still so far beyond her understanding and I felt a sadness weighing on me.
I tried to explain…
“Well Honey, we’re going to send one goat and then lots of other families are going to send goats too. So then lots of little boys and girls will have goats.
And I’m going to write about it on our blog and let even more families know that they can send goats and shoes and all sorts of other gifts too.”
For a 4 year old that answer solved the problem. She ran off to play.
Note: I was browsing the Canadian World Vision Gift Catalogue. We sponsor a child through the Canadian World Vision and I have told Julia about our sponsored child before, but I felt that this time I explained, perhaps because she was a little older, she really connected to the idea of sending Christmas gifts to the other children.
By the way, we were not paid by World Vision to write this post.