“Throw a pebble in the water and make a wave. A simple act of kindness can stir the widest ocean.” Demi Lovato, Make a Wave
A year ago, I wrote a check to support the care of an orphan child. For only $35, an orphan receives meals, housing, education, and healthcare. As I sealed the envelope, my daughter asked me why we were only helping the orphan for one month. I was stunned in silence – I didn’t have an answer for her.
My young daughter, at 5 years-old, has the heart of a giver, unchained by budgets and Christmas shopping lists. I regret that it took me another year to discover how to give money to an orphaned child on a more regular basis.
What is my hesitation? I struggle to realize the power we have in a small act of kindness. I focus more on liberating myself. I get lost in all the great causes. But, what if I can find a way to sustain my giving?
I have discovered how to take small steps to liberate a child in need – Discover, Include, Invite, Enjoy, and Know.
Step One – Discover a charity that ignites your passion:
For my daughter, it is orphan children. She cannot bear the thought that some children don’t have parents to care for them. For my husband, it is families who lost a loved one while serving their country or community. And for me, it is children and women who are forced into labor or sexual exploitation.
After watching the movie Taken, I was outraged that young women were coerced, drugged, and defrauded to sell their bodies for others’ pleasure. I know the movie isn’t based on a true story, yet I knew there had to be some truth hidden in the movie’s message. I investigated the truth, and found some startling facts about modern day slavery.
My passion was ignited. And, I briefly considered changing my career to become an international, law enforcing, slave busting, crime fighter. Instead, I decided to find a way to make a ripple in this problem.
Step 2 – Include the cause in your monthly budget:
Once you have discovered your passion, the next step is to find an organization that competently addresses the problem you want to help. For me, the organization is Love 146, who’s mission is to abolish sex slavery through prevention and aftercare.
I can help a child liberate themselves from human trafficking with one small step. My donation is automatically withdrawn from my checking account each month. What did I give up? Going out to dinner one less time? I don’t know, as I don’t miss whatever I gave up.
Step 3 – Invite your kids to get involved:
As my family is growing, so are the passions that ignite us. How do we find a way to help more than one child in our family? I don’t want to be in silence anymore. I want to include my daughter in the giving process. If I simply write another check, she misses out on making her ripple.
I am borrowing this idea from another ripple maker, Catherine Newman. I read about her collection jar in Family Fun Magazine this month. Catherine shares how her family puts money in a jar for their charity whenever they go with out. At my house, we are just getting started, giving up an extra movie, bag of popcorn, and portions of allowances. I’m excited to watch the giving process grow, as we are all more mindful of what we could give up so someone could have more choices.
Step 4 – Enjoy your life guilt-free:
While we are making these small choices each day, be sure to care for yourself and your family’s needs too. Still do what is important to you and your family.
Even though I am more aware of our giving challenge, I want to give out of joy and passion, not guilt. As a result, I am more grateful for the small things and realize I don’t need all the big things.
Step 5 – Know that you are making a difference:
Remember, it doesn’t matter how big or small your donation of time or treasure, it all matters. In our family, we are working on making room for all of our passions, instead of choosing one charity.
And, when I think about how our family can now give two children (other than our own) more choices in their life, I am amazed once again by the liberating power of choices. When two, passion honoring people come together with two great organizations (Love 146 and Samaritan’s Purse), our small choices can create big changes.
I no longer hesitate in silence. I am excited to watch our giving grow, as I have many more ripple making steps to take.
“Your tears are my prayers.” – Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love
What passion ignites you to make ripples? Share links to organizations that liberate others from ocean-sized problems.
Photo Credit: AussieGall