Recently, I read my daughter a book about a little girl named Tiva and a black rhinoceros named Lola who lived on a conservancy in Kenya. Lola’s mother was blind and the rhinoceros kept wandering away, which was dangerous so Tiva’s father a ranger on the conservancy brought Lola closer to them. A wonderful relationship resulted between Tiva and Lola. Anya was fascinated with the story and began asking questions about Black Rhinos, which lead me to explain what a conservancy is and why the black rhinos were in danger of becoming extinct. She came up with the idea of adopting a rhinoceros. When I looked on the website the going adoption rate was a whopping $2000.00! I explained that we didn’t have the money, she began crying and explaining to me all the reasons she wanted to adopt the rhino. So I did some research and found a rhino she could adopt one for $35.00 or $75.00 for two. I was going to just write a check and give her the adoption certificate and a 5×7 glossy. Then it occurred to me that this could be a great teachable moment. Why not let her raise the money?
I think it’s important that we teach our children about the value of earning money. Too often parents just hand things over to their children without them learning the value of earning a dollar. Teaching our kids to find creative ways on how to be self sufficient, earn money, and give to charity are lifelong lessons. The last thing I want is for Anya to think that she is entitled. When kids grow up with everything being handed to them they become self absorbed and never really learn to respect hard work and rarely dedicate themselves to anything. As parents we always try to make our kids happy and that sometimes means giving them what they want. But, how much more meaningful and inspiring is it for your children to do it for themselves!
Over cookies and milk Anya and I discussed ways that she could raise money to adopt her rhino. She decided on making cupcakes and banana muffins (some with chocolate chips). I realized that she was excited to take on this project. Currently, we are looking for a space, which will probably be at her school or at one of our favorite coffee shop. What I learned through this experience is that no child is too small to make a difference. Nurturing our children’s interest is a gift to them, along with giving them a sense of the need for charity. Take the time with your children to research charities, organizations, or shelters whether locally or internationally. This is a great way for them to learn about causes and to develop a humanitarian heart. What better way for them to honor God than by working on a cause that helps others.
In the next couple weeks we will be busy selling baked goods to raise money for her rhino. Not only she is excited about her upcoming project, but she is talking about trying to do something for kids in need during Christmas. Be proactive in getting your kids involved and helping them find ways to make a difference, which will also be reflected in their hearts.
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