Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kids and Poverty. . a journey of conversations

Our BlogBuzz question for this week is about explaining poverty to our children. Since we started talking about adoption, we have been pretty open and honest with our kiddos. Obviously, Brayden being almost 4 is the most conversational about it. . .here are a few conversations that I keep meaning to blog b/c they have touched my heart immensly. This boy is GETTING IT!

Explaining adoption (before Davis was home):
Brayden: "where are Davis' mom and dad?"
Me: "well, right now he is living at an orphange so he doesn't have a mom and dad taking care of him. (me, seeing opportunity) Brayden, he doesn't have a brother either. How about we, be his mom and dad? Will you be his brother?"
Brayden: "Yeah, that sounds good. I'll be his brother! And. . Gracie can be his sister!"

After watching a video (which I'll post here eventually) on kids in Liberia drinking dirty water:
Brayden: "Mom, what are they drinking"
Me: "that is the water they have to drink"
B: "But it's dirty"
M: "I know sweetie. but, that's all they have. They don't have chocolate milk there, or even clean water. That's why we are raising money for clean water for them. Dirty water is bad"
B: "But. . that's so sad."
we talked a bit of how he complains at a restaurant if served water, b/c he wants chocolate milk instead. Shouldn't he be happy for just clean water? These kids sure would. . .
a few days later. . we are at Wendy's with my friend Sunday and her son, Jakob
Me: Here's your drink Brayden. I got you clean water to drink. Now I can take the dollar and we can put it away for the clean water for the kids."
B: "Jakob, did you know about dirty water? There are kids in Africa, where Davis is from that only have dirty water to drink."
Jakob: "Won't drinking dirty water make you sick?"
B: "yes, that's why I'm drinking clean water today" (continued conversation between the 2 of them explaining the problem. . but, I can't remember it word for word!)
B: "Mom (looking up at me very seriously) dirty water makes my heart SO SAD."
Me: "I know baby, me too. That's why I'm so proud of you for being thankful for your clean water and putting away our money for the kids"
B: "Mom, let's do this EVERY time. . .Let's always get water instead of chocolate milk and coke until ALL kids have clean water."
**note: I now let him choose when we go out. . sometimes he chooses the water, sometimes the milk. . I want it to be from his heart as a gift. . I did pretty much just cry during this conversation though!

When going through his toys:
B: "Let's get rid of some of these. Mama, there are a lot of kids who don't have toys. Can we give these to them?"
Me: "Of course, Brayden. . you pick things out."
B: "let's give my favorite doggie and this cool 'puter to Abbie's new brother and sister b/c I think when they come live with her, they won't have any toys. (Abbie's parents are adopting through the foster care system).

When preparing for LemonAID for Liberia:
Me: "Why are we doing this stand, Brayden?"
B: "for the kids in Africa. They don't have any moms and dads to help them and they live where there aren't windows and doors. . there are these mean bugs and they bite them and the kids get sick. . that's why they need nets. Let's celebrate Lemonade and cookies to help them!"

It has been so precious to watch Brayden learn and grow in this area. We try to make most of our conversations about gratefulness and willingness to serve. "Brayden, you know that not all kids get chicken nuggets like you do. . let's show Jesus how grateful we are for them". He has such a tender heart towards others and can't WAIT to go to Africa. . ok, that's b/c he really wants to go on a safari, but now he's made us promise. The deal is, we don't want to shelter our kids from the world and the pain there. We also don't want to overwhelm them. That's why it's so nice that we can find great organizations to support so we can talk to the kids about really DOING something about it.

PS: if you want to check out we'd love for you to join us as we raise much needed dollars for moquito nets!


Sawyer's Mom said...

I have just recently started talking with Jman about this. I told him about the lemon aid stand and asked if he would like to do that too so we could help keep the bugs from biting kids.

Got VBS this week and Ft. Lauderdale the following week for DH's training for school. I think we will try it that following week.

Nikki said...

That is so sweet.

Anonymous said... sweet, what a legacy you are doubt he will change the world for Jesus! Love you - Renae

Angel said...

OH THAT IS JUST PRECIOUS AND WONDERFUL! I just love what pours out of their hearts when we allow them to grow. Angel

Missy said...

Don't you find that kids are so much more responsive than adults. We have such a big responsibility to guard their little hearts and keep them from becoming tainted and filled with the things of the world. It is so wonderful to see them caring about the things that God cares about.

The other night Sarah turned down a slushy from Sonic after we went to the swimming pool and then asked for the money for her well project. I have to tell you, that was very hard for me. You know I hardly ever take my kids to get a sugar filled slushy, but they had been working so hard lately helping us move that I wanted to treat them. So, as thrilled as I am that she "gets it", I just wanted to give her a treat and that was very hard for me.

You're doing a great job raising caring and compassionate children.

Love you,

Jan said...

Have I told you lately that you are a great mom?

elizabeth engelhardt creations said...

We are starting to talk about adoption and extreme poverty. So far, my 4 yr old isn't quite getting (so I think, she might be fooling me), but she for sure wants me to go get her some brothers and sisters from both China and Africa!! The sooner the better for her!! Thanks for sharing your great family with me!!

annNEE said...

thanks so much for sharing this!!! you are awesome.