My children looked through the World Vision catalog last year and chose to pool their piggy banks to buy something for people less fortunate. They had saved for an entire year for just the occassion. Together they had $115. That's a lot for a young bunch.
I asked them a simple question.
"What do you think is the best gift in the catalog?"
They thought for a while. Then my 5 year old daughter answered.
"I think a home for an orphan family would be best. Imagine what it would be like not to have a mom or a dad. (pause) And what if it rains?"
I agreed, that would be a wonderful gift. The problem was that they had saved $115 but that gift costs $5,100. We were $5,000 short.
In my mind I debated what I should do. I could easily steer them toward a gift that was closer to their price range. I'm sure they would have been excited to give a couple goats. Instead, I asked how they thought they could earn $5,000.
This is when my oldest daughter's take charge personality kicked into high gear. She got out a clipboard and they began brainstorming. There were two full pages of ideas. Mostly very bad ideas but there were some great ones as well.
Part way through the second page my second daughter said,
"Stop! Put pray on the list. We should pray now."
About then my heart began to explode and I decided we were going to see this through. So we prayed.
Then we told friends and family that we were selling little handmade felt ornaments for $10 each. Within a day we had more orders than we knew what to do with. My memory is a bit fuzzy but I think it was around $1,500 worth of ornaments. So we cut and sewed and then it began to feel a bit like child labor. It wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't easy or exciting. It took up too much time and I started hating those cute little ornaments. The girls really hated them. But we kept going.
By Christmas we were about halfway to our goal. I was never so excited to put the ornament making supplies away.
But they didn't stay away for too long. We got lucky and my grandmother came for a visit in January. She was a total rock star and cut out hundreds and hundreds of red hearts for our Valentine's Day project we were about to start.
This time we chose something easier. Sort of. Do you know how slowly children sew?
We added some more money when the girls decided to quit gymnastics for 2 months to put that money toward the orphan home.
And finally, we added procedes from pattern sales and some more donations from friends and family to complete our goal.
So they did it. They earned $5,100 in 12 months to buy a home for orphans to live in so they won't have to live on the street or get rained on through inadequate housing.
But my kids aren't spectacular. They aren't unusually nice or kind. They are average kids who had a big idea that didn't get shut down or shrunk. It was difficult and at times I wished we hadn't started. But I'm glad it wasn't easy. I'm glad they felt like they had to sacrifice something.
So, with our deepest gratitude: