Monday, August 22, 2011

Training Hearts for Charity

In July, we began doing a charity for each week.  I really wanted to do a week of charity involving the terrible drought in Africa.  However, I did not want to just write a check and say, "This is what we did this week."  We are really trying to keep a hands-on approach to our charity work this year.  Then it hit me ....  My husband agreed with my crazy scheme and so we put our plan into motion.  This is what greeted our children this morning.

The card in the picture reads ~
 Dear Children,

        There is a terrible drought devastating a few countries in Africa.  There is very little water and even less food.  People are dying by the thousands.  Our Charity this week will be giving money to an organization called Doctors Without Borders.  They are a group of doctors who are feeding and hydrating the starving. 
       For the next 24 hours we will be only consuming 2 gallons of water.  This water will be for cooking and drinking only.  There will be no baths, showers, sprinkler play, teeth brushing, laundry or any other water luxuries.  There will be no juice, tea, coffee, or coconut milk.  The toilet will not work.  The water to the house has been shut off.
      The point of this lesson is to increase our understanding (in a very small way) of  what others are going through.  It is also to help us realize how much water we truly need to survive so that we may learn better how to be good stewards of water.

                                                          You are blessed --
                                                                 Love, Mom and Dad

To say that I had a shocked and unhappy crew after reading this letter would be a bit of an understatement.  One child in particular was very vocal about this particular lesson.  However, with a few images of the drought victims and the understanding that they actually would live through this experience, everyone got on board.  The biggest issue was the bathroom.  They were OK with not flushing urine.  However, bowel movements being left to sit all day really stressed out my two sensory disordered kids BIG TIME.

Lessons learned ~
  • 2 gallons of water will sustain 5.5 people (Dad being at home only half the time, being at work most of the daytime), as well as two dogs all day.
  • I must have tried to turn on the faucet 10 times to wash my hands.  I really missed washing my hands!
  • The water from the portable A/C unit can be used to wash hands (especially after crazy Mom let the kids do a painting project).
  • The poo will not jump back out of the toilet and get you. LOL! LOL!
  • A lot of food requires water to cook!
  • A little bit of sacrifice builds stronger character and empathy for others.
  • Life with Mom is never boring!
  • I was right -- the kids do feel blessed all tucked into their beds tonight with the knowledge that water will flush that toilet tomorrow.
I'd love to have others of you share what ways you have guided your children's hearts toward charity.



  1. Dawn,

    You are amazing! Once again you have inspired me.
    I think we shall do this project after we take the house off the market.

  2. What a HUGE lesson was learned here. I am sure it is was a big eye opener. We support this group for a few years now. I appreciate ALL they do.

    Keep up the good work mama!

    Blessings and ((HUGS))

  3. WOW!! What a full-on learning experience that must have been - for EVERYONE!!

    I just spent the better part of this week vegged out in front of the computer nursing my first trimester nausea and exhaustion (baby #3 due in April) and to say I am inspired doesn't quite touch it!

    I cannot wait to learn more from your blog and I hope we can get to know each other a little bit.

    I am homeschooling my boys but it isn't "official" as far as the government is concerned until next year when my older son turns 6!

    I am definitely planning on doing the Charlotte Mason approach and I think my son will thrive on that as well as unit studies. Your blog has given me many wonderful ideas!

    Thank you SO much for posting what you do!!

  4. Wow! I'm amazed that you did this. I don't think I could give up the hand washing! I would have a hard time with that. Guess wipes could do? Great lesson for all of you! Way to go!!!

  5. What a great lesson to teach our kids. Our water comes from a well and when the power goes out so does the access to water. We normally go over to my parents to take showers, etc. Maybe next time it happens we will stick it out to teach everyone here a lesson.

  6. Girlfriend, you are something special. I would have been with the kids--no bathroom? We lost water for one day here, and I thought I would lose my mind. This is an in-the-moment, very real sense of what others go through, and a timely reminder of how very blessed we are, even in the small things. I'm too "chicken" for it, but I applaud you--as always.

  7. A very precious lesson to teach indeed. Thank you for sharing :)

    Welcome to the Five in a Row blogroll, too!

  8. You never cease to amaze me! What an awesome idea. Although my sensory kids would freak about the unflushed toilets, I have to admit that I'd be right there with them. I'm not entirely convinced that unflushed poo *wouldn't* jump out and get me! :) I also wonder exactly how many times I wash my hands each day. I know it's a lot!

  9. What an inspiring idea! I know I would feel so dirty if I tried to keep this up for a week. I took a trip to Uganda, East Africa this past November to meet a child I sponsor through Compassion International, and they always wash their hands before eating... every time, I was amazed at how little water they used, and I constantly felt like there was still soap on my hands. It's really hard to imagine not having ANY clean water, and no soap, like so many around the world. Thanks for posting!