A couple of nights ago we had rice for dinner. That's it, just rice. Not even very much of it. And a glass of water. No, I'm not lacking in kitchen creativity, I'm trying to teach my kids something. Here in North America we are some of the most blessed people in the world. The problem is, we often don't think about it. We take it for granted. My kids get 3 meals a day plus snacks. Numerous children in the world cannot make the same claim.
I don't know about you but I get so tired of hearing complaints from my kids:
"I don't like this"
"Do I have to eat this?"
"I don't have enough toys"
"I want this"
"There isn't enough playtime at school"
Some of these are accompanied by eye rolling and lots of "ughs".
So what do we do about it? I know the line of "starving people in Africa would love this" when I was a kid made me think, "well, ship it to them then!" I want to take a slightly different angle with my kids. I want to make it real to my kids. Yes, there are starving children in the world. Yes, there are children who don't have the opportunity to go to school. Yes, there are children who don't have clean clothes, or toys, or a mommy and a daddy...
I believe if we teach kids about it early enough, maybe they will want to do something about it.
So we had rice. A simple meal that many survive on once a day. After dinner we read a story based on real boys and events in the Sudan, called: Brothers in Hope. This is a wonderfully written story that tells it like it is. My kids were riveted. There were questions along the way. There was a little bit of shock as to how these boys survived and what they lived on. And I think, an impact into my boys' hearts. That night at bedtime my 3 year old added a prayer for the boys of Africa that they would be healed. My 6 year old prayed that the rich people would share their food with the poor. He also told me that he wanted to use some of his allowance to help.
This isn't the first time we've talked to our kids about living conditions around the world. We often talk about the "Big Picture". The big picture is food in our tummies, clothes on our back, a school to learn, a home to live in, clean water to drink, a doctor and medicine when we are sick, and a mommy and daddy to love and take care of them.
Little by little, this is a message we want our kids to know. They are extremely blessed people and it is our responsibility to pass our blessings on to others. How do you teach your kids global awareness?