Teaching Children Culture

I remember being a young girl of maybe 12 and I was asked to write my first book report on a biography.  I don't recall why, but I chose Mother Teresa.  Much of the book was way over my head.  But I do remember being very moved by one line, " Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing."  I think that has been paraphrased into the quote above, about ripples of change.

In our current busy season of life it is difficult to help, as a family, others that are in need.  I intend to teach my children, along side them, to help others.  I want to show them to physically and presently help.  Anything that comes to mind though, requires the child to be age 14 to help, so the "physically present" aspect will have to wait for a future season of life.

We could argue ourselves silly whether or not "by donation" companies truly help or do not help.  Whether our money could be best used here or there.  Or we could act.
"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her.
It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed."
- Mother Teresa
We choose to donate to World Vision.  Mostly likely, in the future, we will prefer to use our money to go on mission trips with our children, or to donate our time to community shelters.  But in our current state, we teach them to give in this way.

We talk often of our sponsored children.  We tape their photos to our wall map and put a little heart sticker on the country the children live in (both live in Peru).  We chose to sponsor children the same age as our own children, so our kids could best relate.

World Vision, with money donations, helps communities.  I think that's pretty special.  The whole "teach a man to fish" mentality.

In the past, we let this whole process of "helping" be on the back burner, so to speak, in our lives.  We didn't get our own children involved with connecting in any way.  It was just an occasional mention.  A "oh hey, by the way, this random photo on our fridge is a child in Peru that doesn't have as much as you."

This year I intend for my children to be more involved.  So far they've colored pictures and wrote letters.  We don't often get something back, but that is okay.  The point is not to get something back.  The point is to enrich another person's life without expecting something in return.  Our intent is to make another child, that we can not physically see or play with, smile.

Most recently we've sent one sponsored child an origami snowman.

We also sent a paper printed photo of the kids with an actual snowman, so there was a paper available for the translator to write on.  I taped our own note on top of the photo so it opens like a book, or flap.

I grew up pretty close-minded to the world.  Or maybe it more so ignorant.  We lived in an all white small town community and learned mostly just about America in school.  I am looking forward to changing that for my children. 
How do you teach your children to think of others before themselves?

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